Our busy lives have left us craving for stimulus. It is an uncomfortable idea to sit and have a moment. At the same time, the constant stimulation makes us tired. Our anxious thoughts distract us from our work and lead to low productivity. The age-old practice of yoga is surprisingly a modern solution to these problems. A complete beginner may get overwhelmed with all the choices available. Choosing a yoga style depends on the goals you have set your physical and mental health. We have listed the five most popular yoga styles to help you make an informed decision as a beginner.
It is also called "Flow Yoga". The essence of Vinyasa yoga is the transition towards a final state. In Sanskrit "Vi" refers to variation, and "Nyasa" means "within parameters". Vinyasa yoga symbolizes the temporary state of things using a seamless flow of yoga movements. Transitioning from one posture to another, using breath lets you experience a smooth flow. Every Asana is a conscious expression of our thoughts and feelings. The rhythmic breathing technique used is Ujjayi Breath.
The unique health benefit of Vinyasa yoga is heat generation and cardiovascular benefits. It is a highly energized, vigorous, yet, relaxing form of yoga. In a typical Vinyasa session, you will learn to transition through several Asana families. It is opposed to other forms of yoga, wherein you hold on to a single pose for a long time and adopt a different posture without the transitional steps.
The core motive of Hatha Yoga is to unite ones being with the cosmos. It expands your comfort zone to a universal level and helps you experience life more wholeheartedly. It helps alleviate anxiety and depression to a limited scope. Combined with the proper treatments, the pain from Arthritis and Fibromyalgia also gets eased with Hatha Yoga.
Emotional balance and mindfulness established using Hatha Yoga contribute to overall higher quality of life. Most classes teaching this form of yoga start with breathing exercises called Pranayama. They advance from simple to complex yoga positions and conclude with meditation. Similar to Vinyasa, Hatha yoga involves adopting different yoga postures, however, it is not as vigorous.
Most of us are familiar with "yang" yoga. Yang benefits muscles. The concept of "Chi" or the vital element of any living being has drawn a lot of attention. Enhancing the flow of Chi through our body is Yin yoga. Yin yoga focuses on the connective tissues such as joints, ligaments and fascia. It helps you pay attention to the innermost physical sensations of your body. The point of Yin yoga is to learn to breathe despite the discomfort experienced due to holding the poses for a long time.
Yin yoga is slower than other styles. It is like acupuncture for your deep tissues. Unlike Vinyasa, the goal of yin yoga is not transitioning but letting the tissues stretch and adapt. The prolonged stretching increases flexibility, alleviates stress levels and enhances blood circulation. Each yin pose typically is sustained for two to five minutes. This form of yoga is beneficial for people recovering from injuries and stiffness. It is also useful as a starting point for anyone trying to get into yoga.
Stillness is a greatly underestimated health-enhancing practice. People prefer more active styles of yoga to combat the stiffness encountered in their daily lives. However, stillness is meditative. These meditative and therapeutic effects are the aim of Restorative yoga. According to clinical research (1), this type of yoga is beneficial for depressive and anxiety symptoms. It also helps combat the side effects of cancer treatments.
Your body is supported using props like bolsters, blocks and blankets. Addition of these elements removes unnecessary straining and helps you unwind. Addition of dim lights and serene music is usual in restorative yoga as it creates a proper ambience for deep relaxation. Opposing most fitness regimes which have us get into an adrenaline rush, restorative yoga encourages to immerse oneself in a calm, almost sleepy state. The purpose is to give our system a well-deserved break. This type of yoga is ideal for people working in highly stressful and stimulating jobs.
Power yoga is built upon the system of Ashtanga yoga. In Ashtanga, a set of different yoga postures is repeated in the same order. Power yoga diverts in the sense that the order of these yoga postures can differ in each sequence. It is more dynamic, vigorous and athletic. It is even useful for weight loss. Mostly, each session will focus on one part of the body and start with basic poses and advance to complex ones.
This style generates heat quickly and increases heart rate, giving your cardiovascular system an essential run. It diverts your attention from stress-inducing thoughts. Even though it is not relaxing, immersing oneself entirely in the activity of Power Yoga does compare to meditation to some extent. Power yoga helps stabilize the body and increase flexibility. It is beneficial for people wanting to get rid of weariness and unnecessary fatigue.
Yoga originated in very different circumstances compared to our own. Earlier, living without material possessions used to be a way of life for some folk to attain enlightenment. Most people deal with a certain level of anxiety and frustration. However, today, the practice of yoga is aimed at faster productivity to be a useful part of society. Yoga remains a vast and ever-developing field.
Ally Cooper, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian with a Master’s in Human Nutrition. Ally is also an advocate of real vs fake supplements. Ally has been featured and quoted in publications like Parade Magazine, The Healthy, Fitbit.com. ALly is passionate about fitness and when she is busy reviewing supplements, she listens to her favourite music and chill. 🙂