Posted in Yoga

Yoga – Which type is for you?

Wellness is a connection of paths: knowledge and action. – Joshua Welch

Photo by Eternal Happiness on Pexels.com

Yoga has been becoming more and more popular in the Western world today. The number of Yoga studios and classes continue to skyrocket and there are several different types of yoga to explore.

With plenty of choices from Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, and Vinyasa Yoga, it can definitely challenging to find the right fit for your needs.

Let’s go over the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can determine which category is right for you.

Hatha Yoga

In Sanskrit (an ancient classical language of India) Ha means sun and that means moon which reminds me of the balance of the Yin and Yang . This type of Yoga is relatively slow-paced, gentle, and is a good place to begin. If you’re a yoga newbie and have not yet learned any of the asanas (poses) then Hatha yoga is a great starting point. Like the basis of all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aspires to unite the mind, body, and spirit.

Ashtanga Yoga

This type of Yoga means eight limbs in Sanskrit and will be a full-body experience. It’s a fast-moving, intense style of Yoga based on a continuous set of asanas, synchronized with the breath. Ashtanga Yoga can be quite physically demanding as you are constantly being directed to transition from one asana intonext, so you may find that your stamina will improve as well as your flexibility and strength.

Power Yoga

Also known as Yoga Flow,  this is a western interpretation of Yoga that is based on the basics of Ashtanga Yoga. A Power Yoga class may not necessarily stick to the exact sequence of poses like Ashtanga Yoga does, but it does involve practicing a series of poses without stopping and starting. The transition from one pose to the next is intended to be smooth.

Iyengar Yoga

This type of Yoga is based on teachings by B.K.S Iyengar, who developed a style of yoga that is characterized in the practice of asana and pranayama with the innovative approach emphasizing precision and alignment, planned sequencing, timing and the use of blocks and straps to help align the body into different poses. Iyengar concentrates on the correct alignment and form of the body.

Unlike Ashtanga Yoga, there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time instead of moving constantly from one pose to the next.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa means breath-synchronized movement and is another fast-paced type of Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing. A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice, each pose is balanced with a counterpose.

Bikram Yoga

Also called Hot Yoga, it is practiced in a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius, with a humidity of around 40%. Generally, a sequence of 26 different poses is practiced during a Bikram Yoga class and the hot temperature helps to loosen muscles. Due to the high temperature most people sweat a lot during the class and this helps to cleanse the body of toxins.

If you are just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, I recommend trying a few different types of yoga to find out what you like best. I had been interested in yoga for many years and would occasionally take a class for a few months and try something new.  It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with anxiety that I truly appreciated the positive changes that it could have on my mind and body. 

While recovering from burnout, my doctor suggested that I try a local yoga class – what he really wanted was for me to get out of the house, surround myself with people and move my body. I signed up for a ten class trial and feel in love with hot yoga!  Here is why it works for me so well:

  1. The room at 40-degrees Celcius makes me feel like I’m on a beach vacation

2) Until the class starts I would lie on my yoga mat and focus on breathing – I imagine myself lying in the sun’s rays, breathing in the ocean air.

3) The stretches to begin the class, such as cat-cow and sun salutations, awaken my body and muscles to remind me of the strength that I possess to get through the day.

4) The heat in the room enables my body to achieve more than I think I am capable of.  I am reminded of how I need to trust in my abilities and push past my imagined limitations to truly achieve my goals.

5) By the end of the class, known as Savasana, I am exhausted – in a good way! The highlight for me is that my yoga teacher puts a cold face cloth that has been infused with eucalyptus oil on my forehead to cool down.  My brain is calm and I am reminded of a wonderful day at a spa. I am Zen and it only took 1 hour to achieve this bliss. 

Remember, there is no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga. I enjoy Bikram Yoga the most, but I also started to practice Power and Hatha Yoga classes for a bit of variety and build on the positive changes that I have experienced in my mind and physical body.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Yoga

Tips for Avoiding Yoga Injuries

Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are ― Jason Crandell

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Do you think that yoga is an injury free practice and that there is no way you to get really hurt moving so slowly? Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Without theI’m proper care and planning, yoga injuries can be quite common. In order to protect yourself, I put together a few pointers and keep you safe.

#1 Listen to Your Body

Depending on your personality, the yoga instructor, and your fellow yogis, it can be easy to get somewhat competitive. Pushing your body too far on any given day can quickly result in a painful injury. 

Understanding that some days will be better days than others and that your sleep, diet, and focus can all affect your performance in some way. Instead of thinking “I was able to do this pose last week,” or “Heidi is rocking this pose, I need to push myself more,” listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s a day to challenge yourself, fantastic! If it’s a day to hold back, then listen to what your body is telling you. 

#2 Choose a Knowledgeable Yogini

Yoga is an extraordinarily popular practice and there are classes in just about every community in the world. The immense growth of yoga studios means a tremendous increase in the number of instructors too. Be aware that not all instructors are not created equal – some are very skilled while others still learning. 

Amateur instructors can unintentionally cause injuries by pushing students too far or by positioning your body into a pose that you’re not ready for. Pay attention to your instructor’s attitude and practices. How do they handle beginners? Are they willing to talk to you before or after class to give you some one on one pointers or attention? Additionally, you should review their accreditation and talk to fellow yogis to get their opinions on the. Many yoga studios put Bios of their instructors on their websites and you can usually find some reviews in local facebook groups.

#3 Give Yourself Time to Learn

Everyone starts yoga at the same place, as a beginner. Allow yourself time to be a beginner and ease into the practice. It is your journey and it will be more valuable if you take the time to absorb what is happening around you and how it makes you feel. You need to know that it can take some time to find the right instructor, studio and yoga type that fits your needs and personality. Grant yourself time to learn and give your body time to adapt.

#4 Develop a Routine

 Also, give your body time to warm up before and cool down after class. As you ease into and out of each class, you’ll give your body time to adapt and do what you request of it. That also means going into postures slowly and coming out of them slowly, too. This routine will help you be in the moment and help you be conscious of the mind/body connection.

In order to get the most benefit out of your practice, it’s very important to be consistent in taking at least one yoga class once a week. The more time you give your body to practice the movements, become flexible and strong, the better your experience will be. Most importantly you’ll reduce your risk of injury. Yoga is wonderful for your body, mind, and spirit. Take it easy on yourself and prevent injuries so you can enjoy your practice all year round.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Meditation, Self Care, Yoga

5 Important Tips for Yoga Success

Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment

Matthieu Ricard

Yoga has been proven to relieve stress by using exercises, in the form of poses, to unify the mind, body, and spirit. If you are a newbie to yoga, expect a little bit of a learning curve to get used to the positions and their names.  It takes consistent practice to find your groove and be able to follow along with the other yogis comfortably – this is absolutely normal. Before you start, do a little homework to ensure that your yoga lifestyle begins with success!

1. Talk to your doctor

Explain what type of yoga poses you would like to practice. Show your doctor pictures of the poses for illustration. Your doctor may rule out specific poses if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of retinal detachment, or heart disease. Make sure you follow your doctors recommendations.

2. Search Yoga Studios

Find a yoga class that best fits your abilities. Talk to prospective teachers, and decide whether of not you can handle a program before you sign up. Its very important to take it one step at a time. Try a few beginner classes before you attempt more vigerous classes. Dont move ahead too quickly. Allow your body to adjust to your exercises.

3. Body Talk

Listen to your body and be aware of your physical abilities. You don’t want to hurt yourself. Make sure the instructor understands your level of experience and any limitations you may have. Dont allow anyone to push you ahead too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

4. Yoga Buddy

Find a friend to take the class with you. It’s nice to practice alongside someone you are comfortable with and it will help reduce injuries. It’s also a great way to keep up your enthusiasm and interest. You will make other connections with your fellow yogis and teacher but I find the bring a friend approach will help you stay accountable while you are setting up your routine.

5. Snacktime

Eat lightly before practice. Wait at least two hours after meals before yoga class or practice. An empty stomach is best, but don’t let yourself get too hungry to think. You won’t be able to focus on the poses or enjoy yourself during the relaxation or meditation portions.

If you need more guidance then consider private lessons to start. You can book one-on-one sessions with a teacher in your area and have the focused support to design the right poses and sequences for your yoga goals. You can always take group lessons or practice at home after you’ve had private lessons and learned the basics. There are so many books, programs on YouTube, and DVDs available to help you get started. Search for the best products on the Internet and be sure to read reviews. Talk to others for recommendations.

Now it’s time to grab your mat and a towel and get the most out of your yoga journey.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Meditation, Stress Reduction, Yoga

Can Yoga Help you Sleep?

“Sleep is the best meditation.“

Dalai Lama
Take action to create a sleep routine!

Many people believe that yoga is all about experiencing alignment of mind, body, and soul. The majority of yoga teachers would agree that apart from providing relaxation and serenity.  Yoga is about the limitless ability of a person to control and unite with their inner self. With this in mind, more and more people with high-stress levels, mental health challenges, and insomnia are turning to yoga in order to alleviate some if not all of their symptoms.  Most yogis believe that in one way or another, the ancient discipline makes it possible for the breath, the mind, and the senses to merge in creating balance.

The Yoga/Sleep Connection

More and more people are practicing yoga so that they can get better sleep. Other reasons why many people practice yoga is because they can explore the limitless possibilities of yoga types to find the right. They can also explore yoga into its depths as a meditative practice, as a spiritual discipline or use its philosophies as an exercise to be fit and healthy.

Yogis agree that the potential benefits of yoga may include the increase of strength and flexibility, creation of balance as well as the improvement of breathing and overall posture. On the spiritual aspect, yoga can serve as an exercise that can help you soothe your nerves, calm your mind while increasing your focal and concentration skills.

Before starting your yoga practice, please schedule an appointment with your Doctor. A check-up is important for you to discuss with your physician the advantages and disadvantages of yoga in your overall health and well being.

If you are aiming to get better sleep through your yoga practice, please make sure they listen to your needs, discuss your physical and emotional limitations, and guide you to the best type of yoga for you to practice. Ensure that you begin with the basic yoga poses then slowly advance to the more challenging positions. Now go get some gear: clothes, a colorful mat, foam blocks, and a yoga pillow so you can catch some much needed ZZZ’s!

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha