It is all too easy to ignore fitness goals for another day, week, or month. Don’t! With the holiday season approaching, it is especially important to stay on track and maintain a regular workout schedule. What better way to do it then to sign up for a yoga class? It doesn’t matter if you’ve done it before or this is your first time. Yoga is a great way to focus on your mental and physical health. Not only are there countless benefits but there are also several yoga types to choose from. That means you can find a practice that suits your preferences, goals, and fitness level. Here is everything you need to know about the different yoga types and health advantages linked to the practice.
Getting Started: What Is Yoga?
Yoga is more popular than ever thanks to the many mental and physical health benefits associated with the practice, but just what is yoga? While the average workout involves lots of squats, weights, and cardio, yoga is less about squats and more about connecting the mind and body. This is done through breathing techniques, moments of meditation, and taking time to give thanks. The purpose is to breakaway from the stresses and strains of daily life and connect with your inner self. Combining these techniques with challenging yoga poses helps build muscle and increase endurance – all while achieving a more positive mental attitude.
There is a common misconception that yoga is primarily for women in their early thirties. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone can practice yoga! Men, women, and children of all ages are beginning to include yoga in their day-to-day lives. Since this practice can be modified to suit different fitness levels (from beginner to intermediate), it is an accessible way to get fit. Simple changes like modifying poses, doing shorter routines, and focusing on stretching, make yoga a possibility for people at many different levels of fitness.
Health Benefits of Yoga
Not only is yoga suitable for most, there are also several health benefits to consider. Some of the most common include:
- Stress Reduction. Statistics show that 48% of people in the United States feel their stress levels have increased over the last five years. Have yours? Then a yoga class is the best place to start. It has been found to decrease stress levels and strengthen the connection between the body and mind. The deep breathing, controlled movements, and peaceful environment are effective at tackling stress and anxiety. Yoga can shift your focus from that assignment at work or an endless to-do list, to the present moment. That leaves you feeling calm and relaxed. (Another way to reduce stress is to watch this Reiki ASMR Healing Session for Stress Anxiety Relief Peace Restful Sleep video!)
- Improved Lifestyle Choices. With the year starting to wind down, many of us are thinking about health. The holiday season is typically full of heavy meals, chocolates, and sugary cocktails, which are not exactly good for the body. Adding yoga to your life is a wonderful way to put your health first. Why? People who regularly attend yoga classes have been found to make better, more health-conscious choices in regards to both food and physical activity.
- Social Interaction. Another benefit is the social aspect. Attending a yoga class allows you to meet new people in a safe environment. Everyone there has a similar interest, which automatically makes it easier to smile, strike up a conversation post-sweat session, and bond with others. A yoga class can also improve existing relationships. Going to a yoga class with a friend gives you a reason to spend time together.
- Mental and Emotional Health. Yoga is all about movement, strength, and mind. On the surface it might seem like a fun way to workout and challenge yourself. In reality, it is so much more. This practice allows you to get to yourself better. To look inward, to push your body, and to explore your true self. Breath work and meditation can aid in this mental and emotional transformation. After a few classes you will likely notice that you feel more at peace – and have a better understanding of your needs.
Yoga Types to Consider
There are many different types of yoga. If you’re still getting into the practice or don’t quite know where to start, that is totally okay. To make your choice a little bit easier, consider each type and find the practice that best suits you. Common yoga types include:
One of the newer forms of yoga is anusara yoga. Yogi John Friend originally developed this in 1997. It focuses on using the physical elements of yoga to help students improve on the inside. For instance, it teaches people about opening up their hearts and letting goodness shine through. This particular type of yoga is a challenge for both the body and mind, so be aware.
Though there are many yoga types, this particular strand is without question, one of the most popular. If you’re looking for a Bikram yoga class, you won’t have any trouble finding one! What can you expect? A typical class takes you through a number of yoga poses – 26, to be exact – making this class a fantastic workout for the entire body. Each class is held in a heated room which enhances your workout and makes you sweat…a lot.
Speaking of sweating, hot yoga is another class that will make you do just that. It is similar to Bikram yoga, however, the poses and sequences are not exactly the same. Since the creator of Bikram yoga requires that studios teach the poses and sequences in a particular order, hot yoga is essentially a variation. By the end of a class, you’ll be fitter and definitely ready for a shower. There are many hot yoga benefits, including detoxification, improved ability to focus, increased flexibility, and an intense post-workout high.
Not all forms of yoga are meant to be physically demanding. That is where restorative yoga comes in. Are you feeling stressed? Overwhelmed at work? Tired? Grouchy? Then this yoga class is ideal. It is a great way to relax and connect to your body and mind. It uses things like blocks and blankets so that you can stretch without putting too much pressure on your body. Just one class can help you breathe a little easier and feel more rejuvenated. Try heading to a restorative yoga class on a Friday or Saturday night. After a long week, there is no better way to unwind.
Still searching for a stream of yoga that suits your needs and personality? Well, Vinyasa may be a great fit. This is all about fluid movements. Each pose moves fluidly into the next one for the entirety of the class. That makes it pretty intense, but you certainly won’t be bored. In the background, you’ll often hear music. Plus, no classes are exactly the same, which means you can really mix things up. It is perfect if you are feeling bored with your current fitness routine.
When it comes to yoga, you have options. Different teachings and routines make it easy to find a class you truly enjoy. If you’re not sure what yoga types are right for you, get out there and try one for yourself. Before long you will find your new favourite place to be!