Rudimentary ideas of yoga keep many people from trying the ancient practice. Despite existing over 5000 years, the common misconception that only young, thin, white women did yoga sets a standard for everyone else, discouraging them to try it. In its beginnings, yoga was practiced by old, Indian men and people of all ages and body types can practice it. And yoga isn’t just for flexible people; there are different types of yoga that range in difficulty and energy paces.
If you’ve felt that you weren’t comfortable doing yoga in the past, know that it doesn’t automatically come with religious practices or a complete lifestyle change like becoming vegan. Once getting past the conventional understanding, learning about the many types of yoga and health benefits involved might just get you to try yoga this year.
Different Types of Yoga
The goal of yoga is of the body and mind where one physically challenges themselves without being overwhelmed and focuses on the body while the mind is calm and accepting. That said, there are different types of yoga with varying levels of difficulty, which are:
- Hatha yoga combines different styles and involves breathing exercises (pranayamas) and yoga postures or movements (asanas), and a resting period to finish (savasana) and is most associated with yoga.
- Bikram yoga is practicing 26 poses in a heated room. Also known as hot yoga, Bikram offers a more challenging experience.
- Power yoga build muscle with a faster and more intense practice.
- Ashtanga can be easily confused with Hatha as both involve a series of breathing exercises and movements, but ashtanga yoga is more rigorous and involves a specific set of movements.
- Vinyasa yoga has a fluid set of movements that transition smoothly between one another.
- Iyengar yoga involves props like blocks or chairs that are used to improve body alignment.
Benefits of Yoga
Practicing yoga regularly helps with:
- Weight loss
- Reducing stress
- Brain development
- Improving overall health
Yoga is a Simple, Easy-to-do Practice
All you need to practice yoga is:
- A yoga mat to avoid slipping during asanas
- Comfortable clothing
- A water bottle
- A yoga instructor
What you don’t need to practice yoga:
- Expensive work out gear
- The top yoga mat on the market
- A membership
- A specific weight
Rid yourself of any insecurities about not doing the poses correctly; yoga is all about focusing on the self. With just one focus, it’s easier to avoid scaring yourself from trying and you can be reassured that others aren’t spending their time judging anyone else.
Yoga’s flexibility, pun intended, makes it easy to personalize and find the right practice for you. There’s no rule that says that you have to do yoga at a studio at a specific time. It’s just as effective if you find a spot at home to lay your mat and a video or app to guide you.
And you can make it fun! There are even special yoga experiences with furry friends that include cats, dogs, and goats! Doing yoga with an animal partner can give you that extra positivity you need for the day.