Finding Your Yoga
Why practice Yoga? Quite simply it just makes you feel better.
Derived from the Sanskrit word meaning union, Yoga enables us to achieve a balance of mind, body, and spirit. Yoga allows us to get in touch with our true selves, calming the nerves and clearing the mental clutter.
Yoga is for everyone. Regardless of your age, weight, or flexibility, Yoga will meet you where you are and support you through regular practice. All you have to do is be receptive. The tricky part can be finding the “style” of yoga that’s right for you. There are more than 50 styles of yoga currently being practiced. It can be intimidating to show up to a yoga class for the first time. You don’t know the postures, don’t understand the names, or even why you are doing them. Remember that we have all been a beginner at something. The most important thing is to start. As yoga master Pattabhi Jois said “Practice and all is coming.” Begin your yoga journey by finding a style that is right for you:
Is a highly rigorous, nonstop series of postures. It generates heat in the body to burn off toxins, release tight muscles and joints, and focus the mind. Six formal "series" of postures, beginning with the Primary series and increase in difficulty as you master each level.
Classical Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga considers the body the vehicle for the soul. It uses physical postures, breathing techniques and meditation in order to bring the body in perfect health so that the more subtle spiritual elements of the mind can emerge freely. It combines stretching, strengthening, breathing, deep relaxation, and concentration. Postures are executed with slow and gentle movement that can often be held for several breaths.
Kripalu is both a yoga style and a retreat center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Kripalu Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga. It emphasizes compassionate self-acceptance with an emphasis on meditation, physical healing and spiritual transformation. It also focuses on looking inward and moving at your own pace. The practice includes asana, breathing, concentration and deep relaxation.
Kundalini yoga is a form of Hatha yoga, which utilizes specific postures, deep breathing, meditation and chanting to awaken a person's mental awareness and channel spiritual energy. It concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward through each of the seven chakras.
In 1995, Beryl Bender Birch created Power Yoga. Bender Birch's intention was to give a Western spin to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. It is one of the most athletic forms of yoga. Based on the sequence of postures in Ashtanga it builds strength as well as flexibility and balance.
Restorative yoga uses props to support the body as it relaxes into postures over the course of several minutes. You hold each pose long enough to encourage passive stretching. Many poses can be adapted to be restorative with the addition of props like blankets and bolsters. You can then experience the benefits without having to exert any effort.
Sivananda yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga based upon five principles, including asana, breathing and meditation. It is a slow-paced practice built around a series of 12 basic postures. Each class includes these same 12 postures.
Vinyasa Flow incorporates continuous movement from one posture to the next synchronizing the movement with the breath. You are moving with the breath from one posture to the next on an inhale or an exhale. It draws heavily upon the Ashtanga tradition, but does not adhere to the same structure or rules. It can be rigorous and challenging.
Yin Yoga is a practice developed by teacher Paul Grilley. It targets connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments in the legs, hips, spine and shoulders. Postures are practiced on the floor and are held in a relaxed way for 4 to 6 minutes. The goals of yin yoga are to lengthen and strengthen connective tissue and to promote skeletal health by stimulating the production of synovial fluid in the joints.