It’s more than sun salutations and stretching — yoga is an ancient practice that targets virtually every facet of your health. But if you’re not sure where to start, it can quickly become overwhelming. Here’s your ultimate guide to everything yoga.
Believe it or not, there’s more to yoga than sun salutations. There are many different types of yoga, from power classes that include dynamic movements to deep, slow stretches; structured and sequenced yoga; and freeform sessions that allow you to connect with your body and mind.
In short, there’s something for everyone, and each type has different benefits.
Our team of wellness specialists and yoga teachers at Ignite One love recommending yoga to virtually all of our patients. With yoga, you can address everything from stress and anxiety to arthritis and digestive issues.
It is the ultimate, all-natural remedy. But before diving in, it’s best to understand what you’re getting into. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular forms of yoga.
What is yoga?
Yoga is an ancient practice traced back to northern India thousands of years ago. Indian monks began sharing their knowledge of yoga with the West during the late 1890s, and it became a fixture of American fitness in the 1970s.
Since then, 36 million Americans have become yogis.
If you’re just now joining the yoga craze, there are several things to know before starting. In general, yoga involves moving through a series of physical poses while focusing on mindfulness and controlled breathing, but each type achieves that differently.
Hatha yoga is the physical branch of yoga. Hatha yoga aims to restore balance to your body, regulate your autonomic system, and relieve stress.
During a hatha yoga class, your instructor positions you in strengthening poses followed by relaxing poses that promote flexibility. Expect to hold the poses longer than you would in a regular yoga class (around 5-10 breaths each), and come ready to focus on your stability and breath.
Hatha is an option for beginners and anyone interested in improving their overall health, getting better sleep, reducing stress, and enhancing mindfulness.
Kundalini yoga connects body and mind through controlled breathing, yoga poses, and deep meditation. During your kundalini class, you engage in dynamic breathwork, energizing movements, and possibly chanting or singing to enhance mindfulness.
We recommend this type of yoga for folks looking for a spiritual practice that helps deepen the connection between body and mind and strengthen their intuition.
Prenatal yoga is one of the newest facets of yoga, and it involves baby bump-friendly movements. A typical prenatal yoga class walks you through basic breathwork and gentle poses to promote circulation and relieve frustrating pregnancy symptoms, including lower back pain, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath.
Most prenatal classes teach a breathing technique called the golden thread, which can be helpful during labor. We also bring in a variety of props to provide support and comfort during your class.
Hatha, Kundalini, and prenatal certainly aren’t the only types of yoga you can try, and we discuss your goals, needs, and fitness abilities before making a recommendation. Here’s a quick look at some of the other common types of yoga:
- Ashtanga yoga involves rapid movements linked to breathing
- Iyengar yoga focuses on correct alignment within each pose with the help of props
- Kripalu yoga encourages knowing, accepting, and learning from your body
- Yin yoga involves holding poses for long periods to target deep tissues
- Vinyasa yoga flows between a series of poses
You may also try hot, rocket, and power yoga, increasingly popular Westernized versions of traditional yoga flows.
Which is the best type of yoga?
There’s no best type of yoga — and that’s what we love most about it. The practice best for you today may not be best for you tomorrow. We encourage you to try as many styles as possible until you find the one that suits you.
If you’re starting, hatha or yin yoga are great options. You spend more time in each pose, which can help you understand proper form and movement before you move on to high-powered sessions.
Have more questions about yoga? We would love to discuss how you can get started and other ways to support your overall health and wellness. Head to our online booking tool or call our friendly staff at 973-734-5052 to schedule an appointment today at our Montclair, New Jersey office.