Did you know that there are around thirteen different types of yoga you can practise? What’s great about yoga is it's a great form of relaxation — a way to balance your body and mind while getting a good stretch and building a stronger, more flexible body.
Here's a list of general benefits when you practice yoga regularly:
- It can help you sleep better.
- Your posture will improve, because of your strengthened core.
- Stress relief is a big one — clearing your mind and focusing on your body and your breathing.
- It can help you lose weight as part of a regular exercise plan and healthy diet.
- It can help you define and tone your muscles.
- Suitable for any fitness level — just find a type of yoga that will suit you and what you want to achieve.
- It can give you variety in your workout regime.
- You can do it anywhere.
- It can help tighten your glutes, give you good arm definition and reduce your muffin top!
- Depending on the type of yoga it can be a good cardio workout.
Here are some of the different styles of yoga you may want to explore:
Ashtanga yoga is a series of challenging poses done in a sequence. You move through the poses very quickly, flowing from one pose to the next with each inhale and exhale.
This type of yoga is a good form of cardio exercise and is great for building strength without lifting weights. It's usually for people who have done yoga before and are familiar with the poses. So if you're just starting out, maybe try a different type of yoga first or find a beginner’s Ashtanga class to get familiar with the poses.
Bikram (Hot Yoga)
This type of yoga's been a craze for a while now. It's basically yoga poses in a hot room and the temperature is set to approx. 40 degrees C, so you sweat — A LOT! If you're doing the traditional 'Bikram' yoga you'll do a series of 26 basic yoga postures twice during the session.
The heat can take a bit of getting used to and you need to drink a lot of water before, during and after the session. Bikram yoga is good for weight loss and building strength and stamina. It really is a challenge!
This is more of a general type of yoga, mixing a few different types of yoga together in one class. It's more of a basic style of yoga and a good way to teach you the basics of yoga breathing exercises and postures.
This type of yoga is great for relaxing, de-stressing and calming down. So if you are feeling stressed and out of control, this type of yoga is certainly for you.
Power yoga is a more active and athletic style of yoga and is adapted from the traditional Ashtanga yoga. In power yoga, you don't stick to the sequence of poses and the teacher can vary the class as they see fit. It might also be called Flow or Vinyasa yoga.
Power yoga is great for firing every muscle in your body — great for boosting your metabolism really challenging your muscles and mind. Be up for a challenge!
This type of yoga is perfect for Mums-to-be. It's usually suitable for all stages of pregnancy, just ensure your teacher is pre and post nattily trained. Practising yoga while pregnant could speed up labour, reduce pregnancy aches and pains, reduce swelling and keeps your core nice and strong.
This type of yoga is one that uses both postures and breathing techniques and is great for incorporating all areas of the body, mind and spirit.
It comes from Hatha yoga but is faster-paced, and the postures (or poses) are linked together to follow a series of movements that go together with your breathing. For example, you inhale on upward movements and exhale on downward movements.
The good thing about Vinyasa is that you can get a cardio workout from the continual movement, but it's also great for building muscle strength, endurance and flexibility while reducing your stress levels and giving you a sense of calm.
This form of yoga is not as well known as the other types mentioned above. The above yoga types can be thought of as Yang yoga — more fast-paced — whereas Yin yoga is more meditative. There are fewer poses, but you hold them for much longer (five and even twenty minutes at a time). It is a deeper, slower yoga practice that is beneficial for balancing your body and your mind.
Yin works by loading the joints in a healthy way to allow the layers of connective tissue to be strengthened. It will free up the tight tissue from around your muscles and joints, which is great for increasing flexibility, keeping joints lubricated and supple and keeping you young!
Yin yoga has many psychological and emotional benefits as well, as when you hold the poses, it gives you time for reflection, peace and meditation, which is effective for calming and stilling the mind and keeping your body healthy and in balance.
So why not give yoga a try if you haven't already and see how you go!
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