Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercises, and originates from South Asia. The ancient discipline more benefits than just becoming more flexible or improving your physical strength. Though yoga has continually evolved over the years, and been modified to suit western audiences, the practice allows people to understand how to implement yoga to improve all areas of our health – from mental wellness, to internal and physical.
Since last year when many countries went into lockdown, many of us turned to home workouts and yoga was one that was tried by many for the first time. If you haven’t thought to try it before, it's never a bad time to start. There are quite a few different types of yoga, and depending on what you hope to achieve from the practice, these 5 might help you decide which discipline of yoga is best for you…
Hatha Yoga dates back to the 15th century and unlike practices such as Suryanamaskar (sun salutation), is practiced at a slower pace and focuses on meditation, relaxation and stretching. Those who choose to take up Hatha yoga become familiar with the main relaxation techniques and postures and is perfect for anyone struggling with stress, anxiety or simply wanting to just slow down a little…
Bikram yoga is often referred to as “hot yoga,” as it is practiced in a room heated to around 40 degrees. There are 26 poses and often a class is around 90 minutes long. This particular type of yoga is best for those who wish to lose weight as you can lose up to 600 calories in one class alone! Though beginners may be able to take it easy to begin with, its quite the intense workout and is great for developing strength, flexibility and muscle tone with a cardio element. Bikram yoga also helps the body to relax, improve breathing and to develop a better mental focus.
Vinyasa yoga is highly popular on certain yoga apps and amongst fitness influencers. Also referred to as Ashtanga yoga, you can choose to practice it in a hot and humid environment, similar to Bikram. Vinyasa trains the body to improve strength and build lean muscle mass. One of the greatest advantages of Vinyasa as the primary method to build muscle mass is that all muscle groups receive the same attention, creating a careful balance thanks to a flowing and continuous movement.
Kundalini yoga, otherwise known as “yoga of awareness,” is one that holds a lot of spiritual tension. It is known to use movement, breath, sound and meditation to relax and restore the body and mind. The practice is said to also improve strength, flexibility, and endurance. Kundalini Yoga strengthens the nervous system, balances glands, purifies the blood, and works deeply on your subconscious – which also gives you greater awareness and ability to choose how to respond to your thoughts and your feelings.
Anusara yoga is much newer form of yoga and was founded by a man called John Friend in 1997. This particular practice focuses on the spiritual self, the mind, and soul. Divided into three categories: attitude, action, and alignment, Anusara is a Sanskrit word that translates to "flowing with grace" and is based on the principle that all beings have intrinsic goodness present in them. This practice increases strength, muscle tone, and provides relaxation for body and mind.