I’m sure you’ve heard about all of the health benefits associated with yoga, so I won’t preach them all to you. I started practicing yoga 2 or 3 years ago, but in the past year I have made it a much bigger part of my weekly routine. Because I have trouble motivating myself to pick up weights and practice strength training, yoga has allowed me to become stronger and also gives me a sense of inner calmness while I’m practicing it.
I currently have a pass at the yoga studio Amsa Yoga in Columbia, SC and I love it! I try to make it to 2 or 3 classes a week. On Fridays I go to Yin & Flow which is a combination of strengthening and deep stretch. Saturday mornings I go to Hot Vinyasa, Sundays is Strengthening Yoga, and Mondays is Vinyasa.
Let me give you the low-down on some of the most popular forms of yoga, as it can often be a bit intimidating when you’re trying to start out.
Hatha– a gentle, relaxed form of yoga that focuses on breathing, stretching, and meditation. This is a great class to take if you’re a beginner and want to become familiar with the basic poses of yoga.
Vinyasa– a flow-based yoga that focuses on Sun Salutations, which are a set series of poses.This style of yoga offers strengthening, relaxation, and even some cardio.
Power & Ashtanga– more intense styles of yoga which typically focus on holding poses and really work to build your strength. Recommended for athletes and for those that want to become stronger.
To learn more about all of the different styles of yoga, read the article Not All Yoga is Created Equal from Yoga Journal.
If you want to practice at home before signing up for a yoga class, there are countless DVDs out there to get you started. My first yoga DVD was MTV Yoga, which I still use on days that I can’t make it to a class. Another good one is Rodney Yee’s Total Body Power Yoga.