Yoga arrives with so many benefits for the body and mind both. Firstly, yoga is excellent for increasing flexibility, core strength and posture. As we age, we are more susceptible to injuries and this is because our strength and posture can start to decline. With a regular yoga practice, you’ll keep your body strong and resilient, meaning you’ll be less prone to an injury, a bad back, aching joints- the lot! Yoga is also a fantastic practice for the mind because it helps one to feel calm, relaxed and free of tension. Yoga classes usually involve meditation so you’ll come to learn about this along the way.
Meditation often involves various breathing techniques which can be beneficial for those who suffer from stress or anxiety. Many people see yoga as a slow and relaxing exercise, and this is true of many styles, including Hatha, Yin and Restorative Yoga. These gentle styles often focus on deep stretches and slow flows to feel peaceful. Those who are more focused on burning calories with yoga should try out these five more dynamic styles.
1 . Ashtanga
Ashtanga yoga was developed by T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K.Pattabhi, around the 20th century. The practice was created in Mysore, India. Ashtanga is a high energy flowing style which follows a series of six sequences. Once you’ve learnt the Ashtanga sequences, you are free to progress through these at your own pace. The practice adheres to several key principles. One of which is the importance of breath, it is advised that each posture is held for around six to eight breaths. Drishti, is another key focus of the practice, which means that there are ‘gaze points’ to accompany each different posture. Those looking for a great workout should definitely get themselves to an Ashtanga yoga class. The style is however not suitable for beginners, so it’s best to take a few Hatha classes first to grasp the basics.
Jivamukti is a hybrid style created by musician Sharon Gannon and artist David Life. The name combines two Sanskrit words, and the meaning refers to achieving liberation during one’s lifetime. There are several critical elements to this style of yoga, including meditation and music. Jivamukti is vigorous and high energy, so you’ll be sure to get those endorphins pumping. The style borrows the primary postures from Hatha yoga, yet takes the pace up a notch.
Bikram yoga is always practised in a heated or humid studio; you may have come across it by the name of ‘hot yoga’. It’s particularly beneficial for those seeking relief from muscle pain. The classes follow a sequence of twenty-six different poses, along with two breathing exercises. During a Bikram class, you’ll flow through Eagle Pose, Tree Pose, Cobra and much more. The heat will help to supercharge your workout and leave you feeling energised.
- Power Yoga
Power Yoga is an athletic style of yoga, developed in the 80s by two American yoga teachers. Power yoga does not have a strict set of poses so each class will be different depending on the teacher. The similarity between all power yoga classes is that you’ll move from one pose to the other quickly, providing you with a high impact fitness session. The aim is to build endurance and core strength over time. The style is perhaps a little similar to Vinyasa, only practised at a faster pace.
You should be able to find most of these classes at your local studio or gym. To see improvement in your practice, it’s advisable to attend a class at least twice a week. If you find it hard to make the time, you could consider getting your yoga fix by trying a yoga app. With an app, you can squeeze in practice here and there from the comfort of your own home. The Daily Yoga App is an excellent resource for both beginners and long-time practitioners. Here you’ll find over 500 asanas and guided yoga or meditation sessions. Meditation can be challenging to approach at the beginning, which is why a guided meditation can be helpful to get you off on the right track. The app also features a community where you can chat to yogis from all over the world for plenty of advice and tips.
With one of these classes and an app for those busy weeks, you’ll soon have your dynamic yoga practice perfected. Dynamic classes like this will help to improve your fitness levels over time.