The Art (Heart) of Yoga

- The Ultimate Yoga Guide -

A yoga practice can play a pivotal role in contemporary healthy living.

In fact, you probably aren’t living at all if Yoga isn’t in your daily routine.

Many who observe the practice of Yoga outside the box somehow think it takes a herculean effort to get into the heart of it.

Yoga isn’t as complicated as you think if you follow a well-defined path.

It takes mastering the ART of YOGA to get to the HEART of YOGA!

Here is a guide for you:

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

DON’T FALL FOR THE FLEXIBILITY TALK

You may see a lot on your Facebook timeline and Instagram feeds that promote Yoga as being all about flexibility, or maybe you even have a friend who told you Yoga is all about flexibility.

That is not true. In fact, flexibility can actually cause some serious injuries that could affect your performance.

Perhaps that’s why Sage Rountree, and author and authority in yoga, stated:

“Not only might some of the more outwardly glamorous poses be completely out of your reach for structural reasons-your skeleton might prevent them-your athletic pursuits are yielding sport-specific tightness in your body that help you perform well.”

Instead of focusing on being flexible, focus on striking a healthy balance between flexibility and strength.

FOUNDATION IS PIVOTAL

Wait a minute, are you the over-ambitious type?

It’s very natural to get oneself so worked up about becoming a professional in no time, but getting so worked up about Yoga is only a recipe for disaster.

Since this blog is for beginners, who are just starting out, we’re going to focus on the fundamental Yoga postures first.

Spend more hours in basics classes. It it’ll give you a solid foundation to build your Yoga strength.

TENACITY

It’s very easy to give up after the first class.

A lot of people actually give up after the first class and it’s not because Yoga is boring or too stressful.

It’s just because they are in the wrong place.

Apparently, all Yoga look similar on the surface, but they’re not all the same.

Each type of Yoga has its own vibe.

Often times, you don’t get to like every single type of Yoga or even the teacher taking it.

That happens a lot and it is okay. There are so many options to explore.

You need to find the one that works for you.

GET THE RIGHT MAT

So what exactly is the right mat?

There are many different styles of yoga mats.

Choose one that fits your practice, lifestyle, goals, likes, pet peeves and eco-ideals.

They come in a variety of sizes, lengths and materials with different textures and thickness.

When shopping, ask yourself these questions:

How to you want your yoga mat perform?

What type of material do you want?

Normally, a thicker mat used for seated poses.

A thinner mat is best for standing and balance poses.

4mm is a comfortable thickness.

Consider a non-slip mat.

Consider your body type. How tall are you?

Make sure your mat is long enough for you.

If you have more questions, you want to seek the recommendation of your Yoga instructor before getting a mat.

Finding the right mat is important, it makes Yoga enjoyable.

YOGA WARNING

Don’t let the array of options scare you off.

You have to find the one the yoga practice and vibe that resonates with you. When it’s your style, you’re more likely to stick with it.

 

HATHA Yoga

 

HATHA

Hatha Yoga is all about the basics.

It’s a gentler form of Yoga that requires you to hold each pose for a few breaths.

Basically, it teaches physical postures.

RECOMMENDATION

This type of Yoga is highly recommended for newbies, because of its gentle pace.

Hatha helps lay a good foundation if you are just starting out.

VINYASA

Many people love this type of Yoga because of its dance-like flow.

Vinyasa can make you get pretty sweaty because unlike Hatha, it’s actually dynamic and it links movement and breath together.

It’s a fast paced routine, you won’t have to linger long in each pose and the pace is quick.

It’s often accompanied with music, according to the teacher’s choice.

RECOMMENDATION

If you’re just starting out, it’s not advisable for you to take this class, at least for a start, except if you’re a voracious exerciser.

Mostly endurance athletes are drawn to Vinyasa because of its dynamic movement.

IYENGAR

Iyengar is actually a bit more like further mathematics with its complexity.

Props from yoga blocks and blanket to straps will be your companion, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective.

It’s not as fast as Vinyasa because each posture is held for a period of time.

Iyengar actually has levels.

It’s advised that even if you have been practicing other types of Yoga, it’s better to start with a level one class in order to familiarize yourself with the techniques.

RECOMMENDATION

Iyengar is good for people who like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form.

It’s good for people who are detail-oriented.

It’s great for those with injuries as well but it’s required that you consult your doctor first.

ASHTANGA

Ashtanga is for those who love a challenge.

It can be demanding on the body but with an orderly approach.

Ashtanga consists of six series of sequenced Yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat.

The poses are normally performed in the exact same other in each class.

RECOMMENDATION

Ashtanga is actually for the brutal perfectionists and people who can cope with the strict guidelines.

BIKRAM

Bikram is a vigorous practice; there is no better word for it.

It consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40% humidity, so be prepared to sweat.

Bikram is a 90 minute standard sequence everywhere, so anyone new to Bikram should take it easy and take a lot of water before starting and during

RECOMMENDATION

If you’re new to Yoga, you might actually like Bikram because of its predictable sequence.

HOT YOGA

Hot Yoga is similar to Bikram.

It’s also practiced in a heated room but teachers aren’t constrained by the 26 pose sequence.

RECOMMENDATION

Hot Yoga is for intense sweat lovers.

If you love to get drenched after a workout, Hot Yoga is good for you.

Warning: since the room is heated, it’s easy to stretch past what is possible for your body. This may lead to possible injury. Be cautious when stretching past your limits.

KUNDALINI

Kundalini is physically and mentally challenging.

It doesn’t follow the traditional Yoga pattern.

It involves performing repetitive physical exercises with intense breath work, while also chanting, singing and meditating.

Those who want to escape their internal hindrances, release the untapped energy residing within them and reach a higher level of self-awareness, find this soothing.

RECOMMENDATION

If you want to get something spiritual coupled with workout, try Kundalini.

 

YIN YOGA

 

YIN YOGA

Yin Yoga is just the opposite of Ashtanga.

It’s good for calming and balancing the body and mind.

Its poses are held for several minutes at a time.

Yin Yoga helps target ones deeper connective tissues, in a meditative way.

Props are being used so the body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles.

RECOMMENDATION

It’s definitely not meant for you if you are super flexible and if you have a connective tissue disorder.

It’s meant for you if you need to stretch and unwind.

RESTORATIVE

Restorative is pretty much slow paced.

It involves slow-moving practice with longer holds to give the body the chance to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, so the body can experience deeper relaxation.

Props including, blankets, bolsters and Yoga blocks are needed to fully support the body.

RECOMMENDATION

Restoration is good for everyone and specifically for you if you have difficulties slowing down, or have perhaps struggle with anxiety.

It helps calm your nerves and it’s also good for recovering athletes.

You can see that there is a menu of yoga to choose from.

To enjoy your practice, you need to find the type that resonates with you.

When you stick with it, it’ll become more of a lifestyle.

Good luck on your Yoga journey!

Namaste.

 

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