Mélina Lamarche

By Mélina Lamarche

April 13, 2016

Health

Simply YOGA

Article revised on 13 June 2017

The principle of yoga is simple: You perform a series of poses while practicing regular deep breathing. Yet, there are many different types of yoga. That’s not surprising if you consider that yoga has been around for centuries. Find out more with us!

In general, you can distinguish between the different types based on rhythm and the proposed sequence of poses. Some are for relaxation, while others have a more spiritual approach.

However, for most people, yoga is an effective way to stay fit. Actually, regardless of the type of yoga you practice, maintaining poses and carefully calculated transitions increases strength, flexibility and balance. All that’s left is for you to give it a try.

Which type of yoga do you think is for you?

• HATHA

This, the most popular style, is practiced at a slow rhythm and the poses are held for longer. It is generally accompanied by breathing exercises and a relaxation period. It is an ideal way to get a gentle introduction to the different postures and find your rhythm.

• ASHTANGA

The very dynamic taught sequences that gradually increase in difficulty. Ashtanga yoga practice requires the person to be in good physical condition. It mainly targets people who are already athletic and who are looking for intensity.

• POWER YOGA

Power yoga and Ashtanga yoga share the same roots, so this type is very dynamic and physically demanding. The difference is in the fact that the sequences may vary from session to session, rather than follow a predetermined order.

• BIKRAM or HOT YOGA

This sequence of 26 postures is repeated twice in a room heated to 40°C. The intense heat promotes flexibility but some people may find it uncomfortable.

• IYENGAR

Props (chairs, straps, blocks, pillows, etc.) are commonly used to make it easier for the person to attain poses and hold them for longer. This may facilitate matters for those with little flexibility.

• SIVANANDA

A session consists of a sequence of 12 classic postures, breathing exercises, meditation and mantra chanting. It uses a more spiritual approach.

• VINIYOGA

This approach can be customized based on the participant’s strengths and weaknesses. The yoga activities are chosen to suit the person’s abilities rather than vice versa.

• PRENATAL

This type is designed specifically to prepare pregnant women for the physical and mental exertion of labour and delivery. Not many men take part in these classes!

*Incomplete list of the different types of yoga

Preventing injury

With yoga, meditation and movement go hand in hand. That said, if you don’t want your soulful moment to be interrupted by pain, be careful. One golden rule for yoga is listen to your body. If a pose looks uncomfortable to you or you are not sure you would be able to do it properly, it’s best to sit that one out or ask someone to check your alignment.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent discomfort and potential injuries.

1. Know your limits: Contrary to other types of exercise, it is not necessary to move beyond your comfort zone. Respect yourself and know when to stop.
2. It’s not a race! Don’t attempt an advanced pose right away. Use the less difficult poses, often proposed by instructors, to transition gradually to an advanced one.
3. Do it for yourself: Rather than trying to imitate or impress the person next to you, keep your ego in check. Don’t try to move beyond your limits.
4. It’s all a matter of alignment: Whether you’re learning in class or from a video, take the time to learn the proper method for each position and transition. A good instructor will tell you how to check and make sure you’re doing the movement properly.
5. Find the right instructor: Find out if the instructor has solid training and years of experience in the teaching.
6. Hot… but not too too hot! Hot yoga can be risky for some people, such as those with diabetes or blood pressure issues. In spite of its popularity, hot yoga may not be for you.

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