When is the last time you tried something different on your yoga mat? We all have our favorite styles of yoga and it’s easy to find your routine has morphed into a rut. This week, we’re here to offer some variety to help you avoid a practice plateau. There isn’t an identical path for any of us. We’re all unique. Why not branch out and experience something new?
Some people claim that their yoga is the “true” yoga and everything else is not yoga. Whose path is the right one?
Is there a right one? If the end result is that you uncover your best self, you shed the layers weighing you down and shine bright, isn’t that actually the “right” path for you? What really matters is how you feel during and after your yoga practice.
Whatever your beliefs, there’s a universal premise that yoga is a process of turning inward. Of getting quiet so you can truly be present. Of finding your brightest inner light or—gasp––even achieving Samadhi or enlightenment.
The ancient practice of yoga has been around for about 5,000 years. Philosophies and schools and styles of yoga have proliferated, especially in the last few decades in the West.
To keep it fresh, shift gears this week. If you usually gravitate to a sweaty, challenging flow, try a slow flow, yin, or a guided meditation.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the popular yoga styles:
Hatha Yoga: This physical form of Yoga is one of physical purification and strengthening and is the umbrella under which all physical practices reside. A Hatha Yoga class combines asanas and pranayama, usually at a slower pace than some other practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa. Georg Feuerstein contends that “the heart of Hatha Yoga is unquestionably Pranayama (Life Force) control.”
Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a style of yoga developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya based upon the eight-limbed yoga path. It is a dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath.
Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga is a flowing style of yoga derived from Ashtanga. Instead of a set sequence of postures, Vinyasa flow classes link breath to movement in countless creative ways, depending upon the teacher and the focus.
Iyengar Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar was one of Krishnamacharya’s other famous disciples and created Iyengar Yoga. This slow methodical style emphasizes precise physical alignment and the use of props like blocks and straps to assist during practice.
Yin Yoga: Yin Yoga emphasizes static postures held for time. The focus is on soothing your nervous system quiets and relaxing connective tissue. It is an excellent complement to more active practices.
Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini Yoga focuses on freeing the feminine energy (Shakti) at the base of the spine and activating energy centers (Chakras) throughout the body with different breathing, chanting, and physical movements.
Embrace what calls to you! Yoga doesn’t have to be serious or complicated. It’s truly a simple practice, but as Patanjali states in the Yoga Sutras, it isn’t easy. Yoga can be the practice of discovering your own inner state of joy. Consider branching out and try a different style of yoga today.
1. Noemi Nuñez - Iyengar Chair Yoga: Warrior Series
2. Ben Davis - HIIT & Flow
3. Caitlin Rose Kenney - Yin Yoga for Energy & Clarity
4. Shapadpreet - Kundalini Therapeutics: Concentration In Action
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