Yoga for Every Body yoga styles
Posted 06 September 2010 - 01:52 PM
Yoga, with roots that extend back thousands of years, offers many documented health benefits. It:
* Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol level and pulse rates
* Improves cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive function
* Boosts immunity
* Promotes better sleep
* Lessens chronic pain
* Increases energy and endurance
* Reduces risk of depression
* Improves memory and concentration
Did you know that there are different styles, I'm a beginner so my yoga style is Hatha.
This is an umbrella term that refers to any practice that teaches physical postures as a means to enlightenment. Nearly every yoga class taught in the U.S. is technically a hatha class.
When a class is billed as hatha, it generally is a simple, gentle overview of the fundamental poses – no jumping around or flowing from one pose to the next as in ashtanga or vinyasa.
Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:03 AM
Here are brief descriptions of the most common types of yoga:
Ananda: emphasis on meditation
This gentle yoga combines breath awareness, affirmations, and yoga postures to move from body awareness through energy awareness to, finally, silent, inner awareness. The use of affirmations while in the asanas is a distinct feature of ananda yoga. This yoga style was developed by an American named Donald J. Walters, known as Swami Kriyananda. He devoted 45 years of his life to studying the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.
Founded by John Friend in 1997, anusara yoga integrates the celebration of the heart, universal principles of alignment, and balanced energetic action in the performance of asana. Anusara (pronounced ah-new-SAR-ah) means “following your heart.” In this school of yoga, each student’s abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored.
Ashtanga: the Power of yoga
For those who want a serious workout, ashtanga yoga offers a fast-paced series of sequential poses beginning with sun salutations. Students move from one posture to another in a continual flow and link movements to breath. This physically demanding yoga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois to build strength, flexibility, and stamina. Power yoga, made popular by Beryl Bender Birch, is based on ashtanga.
Bikram: Turning up the heat
Bikram Choudhury, known as the yoga teacher to the stars, developed this hot yoga practice. Be prepared to sweat in this one. The bikram class turns up the room temperature to anywhere from 85 degrees to 100 degrees. In this hot and steamy environment, students perform, always in the same order, 26 poses designed to cleanse the body from the inside out. This is a vigorous workout.
Integral: the healing power of relaxation
This school of yoga is associated with two prominent figures: developer Swami Satchidananda, the man who taught the crowds at Woodstock to chant “om” for peace, and his student, Dr. Dean Ornish, who uses integral yoga as part of his treatment of heart patients. Integral yoga places almost as much emphasis on pranayama (control of breath) and meditation as it does on postures.
Iyengar: Symmetry and alignment
B.K.S. Iyengar developed this yoga style, which stresses understanding the body and how it works. Students focus on symmetry and alignment, using props — such as straps, blankets, wooden blocks, and chairs — to achieve postures. Each pose is held for a longer amount of time than in most other yoga styles. Teachers of this discipline must go through an intense, long, and rigorous training program.
Kripalu: the yoga of consciousness
Kripalu emphasizes proper breath, alignment, coordinating breath and movement, and “honoring the wisdom of the body.” Developed by Yogi Amrit Desai, kripalu takes the student through three stages beginning with the steady practice of postures (stage one), then holding the postures longer and developing concentration and inner awareness (stage two), and finally surrendering to the body’s own wisdom (stage three). Ultimately kripalu leads to the experience of meditation-in-motion — actually doing postures spontaneously and unconsciously.
Kundalini: Awakening energy
Once a guarded secret in India, kundalini yoga arrived in the West in 1969, when Sikh Yogi Bhajan challenged tradition and began to teach it publicly. This practice is designed to awaken kundalini energy, which is stored at the base of the spine and often depicted as a coiled snake. Kundalini mixes chanting, breathing practices, and yoga exercises. The emphasis is not on asana, but rather on chanting and breathing. Kundalini should always be taught by a teacher who practices and understands this powerful yoga.
Sivananda: encouraging a Healthy lifestyle
Sivananda yoga offers a gentle approach, which takes the student through the twelve sun salutation postures and incorporates chanting, meditation, and deep relaxation in each session. Teachers encourage students to embrace a healthy lifestyle that includes a vegetarian diet and positive thinking with meditation. This style of yoga was founded by Swami Vishnu-devananda, who published in 1960 one of the classics of yogic literature, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga.
Tantra: Sensual spirituality
Perhaps the most misunderstood yoga style, tantra is not about sexual indulgence. Rather, it is about discovering and stimulating sensual spirituality. This yoga works with the highly charged kundalini energy and, therefore, should always be guided and taught by a teacher. Tantra teaches practitioners how to use this energy for sexual pleasure, for bringing joy and wholeness to everyday life, and for aiding in spiritual evolution. Tantra yoga includes visualization, chanting, asana, and strong breathing practices.
Viniyoga: Gentle flow
This gentle form of flow yoga places great emphasis on the breath and coordinating breath with movement. Viniyoga’s flowing movement or vinyasa is similar to ashtanga’s dynamic series of poses, but is performed at a greatly reduced pace and stress level. Poses and flows are chosen to suit the student’s abilities. It teaches the yoga student how to apply the tools of yoga — asana, chanting, pranayama (control of breath), and meditation — in individual practice. Developed by T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Krishnamacharya (teacher to some of the great yoga instructors including Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois), viniyoga places less stress on joints and knees since postures are done with slightly bent knees. Viniyoga is considered excellent for beginners, and is increasingly being used in therapeutic environments.
Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:08 AM
Yoga for a beginner is an exciting time when you start to discover all of the wonderful benefits that yoga has to offer. When you first begin yoga, there are several things you can do to make your experience positive.
The following are ideas you might want to consider as you begin your yoga journey.
Types of Yoga
It is a good idea when you are doing yoga as a beginner, that you choose a style that matches your fitness level, personality, and health condition (see article below). Review what each type of yoga has to offer so you can choose a class that is best suited to you.
Yoga for a beginner is best practiced under the supervision of an experienced teacher. It is important to maintain proper body alignment. A good teacher will make corrections so you don’t injure yourself and can also offer modifications if you have any physical restrictions. A teacher can also help you go a little deeper into a pose so you get the most from your practice.
You can find beginner yoga classes at many studios and gyms. Often the first class is free, so you can try different classes to see which ones you like best.
An important point to realize about yoga for a beginner is that it is non-competitive. You are not trying to stretch farther than other people in the class or even keep up with them. You are paying attention to your body, and while you want to challenge it, you also want to listen to it. If, at any point during your practice, you begin to feel pain, either ease up a little, or come out of the pose. It is more important to honor your body than to try to do a pose perfectly.
The most important point in yoga for a beginner is to breathe correctly during the postures. In yoga you breathe in and out through your nose in order to allow yourself to breathe more deeply. Breathing helps you get relaxed and it also helps you move more deeply into the poses. If you feel an area of tension in your body, you can direct your breath to that spot to help it release. If, at any time during a pose, you find that you cannot breathe deeply, either ease up or come out of the pose. Breathing correctly is one of the most important goals in any yoga practice.
Yoga for a Beginner Kit
You might want to get a beginner yoga kit, which usually includes a sticky mat, a strap, and one or two yoga blocks. Some also include a yoga video so you can supplement your classes with practice at home.
Preparing for Class
Do not eat a heavy meal for several hours before your class. Yoga is best practiced on an empty stomach. Do drink water, both before and after your practice in order to keep your body well hydrated.
Yoga for a beginner is the first step on a journey of ever increasing self-awareness, a greater level of strength, endurance, and flexibility, and a deeper sense of peace. Have fun and enjoy everything along the way!
Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:08 AM
Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:52 AM