September is National Yoga Month! Yoga is a fantastic practice to improve one’s core strength, balance and flexibility, as well as hone mental benefits such as focus and relaxation.
Anyone, at any age, can practice yoga. There are yoga classes for pregnant moms, babies, kids, teens, adults, and seniors. Whoever you are – and whether or not you’ve practiced before – there is a yoga type for you.
Many gyms now offer yoga classes, and there are a wide variety of independent practicing centers. If you haven’t practiced yoga before, be sure to pick a beginners class, since correct movements and posturing are critical.
Choosing a yoga type can be overwhelming – there are a lot of options! Here are a few basic principles:
Hatha: These classes are great for beginners! They focus on breathing, and are gentle classes that don’t require uninterrupted flow from pose to pose, giving practitioners a chance to rest. They do tend to be slow-paced and very calm.
Vinyasa-flow: These classes move smoothly from one pose to the next, creating a more challenging workout, since the body doesn’t pause between poses. There are a variety of Vinyasa classes, but they all have this in common.
Ashtanga: This type of yoga is much faster and more intense. The movement from pose to pose is more rapid, ensuring a harder workout. This style also emphasizes daily practice. This is great for those who are dedicated practitioners, but be sure to take a beginners class first!
Bikram (Hot Yoga): This is a style of yoga practiced in a room that is between 95 and 100 degrees, hence its nickname of hot yoga. Expect to sweat a lot, which is thought to be cleansing but can take some adjustment.
There are so many more types of yoga. We encourage you to call a trusted gym or yoga studio and talk to them about what your needs are and what you want from yoga. Finding a good fit for your individual fitness and focus goals is essential.
While there are great online resources to support yoga practicing, it’s vital to take a few classes with an instructor first, to make sure that you are doing the poses correctly.