Yoga practice can be very different for different people. From movement to meditation to a philosophy of living, the concept of yoga can take many forms. People practice yoga for different reasons, whether to be physically fit, more emotionally balanced or to help sleep or wind down in the evenings.
The traditional meaning of yoga is to ‘yoke’, bring together the body, mind and spirit through movement, breath and meditation. The physical asanas remove tension from the body so we can be still enough to meditate. Deep, slow, conscious breathing can reduce anxiety and brings lots of oxygen to the brain to think clearly.
You will get the most benefit from yoga by finding a teacher you connect with that can guide you through the foundations of the physical postures, breath and meditation. There are also lots of online resources where you can try to experiment with styles and sequences that work for you, I’ve listed a few below. Here is an over view of the varying styles of yoga to consider.
- Hatha is the foundation of yoga and covers physical sun salutations, postures held for a moderate amount of time, breathing and relaxation. A great place to start.
- Ashtanga is a variation of Hatha that has broadened the postures with a complete 60 or 90 physical routine of sun salutations, asanas and relaxation.
- Vinyassa is an extension of astanga and is more athletic with constant movement coordinated with the breath.
- Yin is slower where seated postures are held for 2-10 minutes in order to release tension in the joints and connective tissue more deeply and rest the mind.
- Restorative yoga is more restful that holds yoga poses for a longer duration using props like yoga blocks, blankets, and bolsters. It is a practice of deep relaxation that emphasizes the meditative aspect of yoga.
- Iyengar yoga was developed by B.K.S Iyengar and emphasizes the detail and precision of the poses, often using props to help achieve the correct alignment.
- Bikram yoga, or often now referred to as hot yoga, is a series of 26 poses performed in a warm and humid room. The heat helps with flexibility and detoxification.
- Kundalini focusses on the more spiritual aspect of yoga where chanting, mantra and energetic core movements aim at releasing kundalini energy in your body said to be trapped, in the lower spine.
- Many new and fun styles, hip hop, aerial, have developed over the years with teachers enjoying keeping the practice fresh.
Alo moves: https://www.alomoves.com A wide range of yoga practices, mindfulness and fitness classes with various styles and for different abilities. You can sign up for a free trial.
Feel Better by Deliciously Ella: https://deliciouslyella.com Brings together Yoga, fitness, mindfulness as well as plant food recipes for all rounded wellness.
Yoga with Adriene: https://yogawithadriene.com Adriene makes yoga really accessible and has put together some very good beginner courses to get started. She also has lots of videos on her YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithadriene
Yoga International https://yogainternational.com has plenty of home practice videos but also dives deeper with courses and longer workshops. They also have a free trial.
Gaia yoga https://www.gaia.com/yoga has some beautiful and varied practices and teachers, again they offer a free trial.