Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Fun Fitness: YOGA.

So many people are discovering the beautiful effects of a regular yoga practice, that it's no surprise how mainstream it has become.  There are very little places in the city that don’t have a studio within accessible distance. It's a great activity for people of all backgrounds fitness wise, even when injured.

I absolutely love the atmosphere of a yoga studio, invigorating yet relaxing. It's a place where I can easily find balance and just be. It's both a challenge and a familiar way of moving, where your muscles remember all the different ways they can move, stretch and hold. It's definitely something you will be feeling the next day if you've never done it before! 

Navigating through all the different types can be a challenge, but really they just have different flavors. From difficult to very relaxing and deep, there is definitely an array of choices. These are the most popular types given in studios today.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga classes are open to all levels. Hatha yoga classes will strengthen stretch, tone and relax your entire body. Hatha yoga is the classical form of yoga postures and breathing that revitalizes the body physically and mentally. It is an uplifting practice that increases muscle tone, improves flexibility and concentration, detoxifies the vital organs and allows you to relax deeply.

Ashtanga Yoga:   

Ashtanga Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga focusing on deep strength and endurance using breath to link the postures fluidly together.  There is a high level of focus on precision within postures and intentionality of breathing.  The Basics class is designed for students just starting out with an Ashtanga practice.

Vinyasa Yoga

  Power Vinyasa yoga focuses on using breath to connect to the body, mind and practice. Using an energetic vinyasa flow as foundation, combined with specifically sequenced set of flowing yoga postures. It has the ability to build strength, increase endurance, release tension, and create more flexibility in the entire body. Suitable for students who have previous yoga experience, this class is taught in either a heated or regular temperature room to help facilitate the integration of sweat, strength and spirit. (This is my absolute favorite, although Flow Vinyasa is what I love the most)

Yin Yoga:  

Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues .Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.
Suitable for almost all levels of students, Yin Yoga is a perfect complement to the dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize internal heat, and the lengthening and contracting of our muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine

Bikram or Hot Yoga:  

Bikram Yoga is a demanding series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises suitable for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments and joints needed for the next posture. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a very hot room, so be prepared to sweat and to work hard. Why the heat? It warms your muscles, and allows for a deeper workout and cleanses the body by flushing out toxins.

 Gentle Yoga:  

Gentle yoga is a style of yoga that is far less strenuous than other forms of hatha yoga.. It is less intense, so it can be very useful for anyone who are not capable of fulfilling the demands of other practices, such as seniors, women who are pregnant, practitioners who are recovering from injury, practitioners who are in very poor physical condition or even those who are simply looking for a more relaxed workout. Gentle yoga also can be beneficial to those who are quite fit but who lack the overall flexibility to be able to do some of the more intense yoga poses.

 Yoga for Runners:   

Yoga for Runners will help you feel more agile and flexible, give you greater strength and stamina, and will encourage the right frame of mind needed to reach your full potential. Runners have different needs than the typical yogi. The combination of active and passive stretching will help to strengthen and stretch muscle groups that tend to be the tightest and most frequently strained by athletes. Improve your performance and avoid injuries! No yoga experience required. Suitable for runners of all abilities and experience.

There are also many other specialized yoga classes for different types of Athletes, Injuries, and different levels of those mentioned above. If you've never done yoga before I’d definitely say to try out Hatha yoga courses first, or even better to register for a series of courses designed for beginners to explore many different types over a few weeks. 

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