What’s your Yoga style?

May 15, 2009 | May 2009, Yoga

Finding the Yoga fit that’s right for you

By Bonny Osterhage

Until very recently, I assumed Yoga was the most non-energetic activity in which one could participate, second only to watching grass grow.

A high-intensity adrenaline junkie, I am of the belief that unless there is good music, lots of sweat and fatigued muscles, any other kind of workout is a waste of my precious time.

But last week, a friend challenged me to try the Ashtanga practice of Yoga. Given the excellent shape said friend is in, I agreed (with a smirk and eye roll) to give it a try. After 90 minutes of moving myself from one posture to the next, I realized that, not only was I sweating, I was also engaging muscles I didn’t know I had. Furthermore, rather than feeling fatigued after doing Yoga, I felt energized and rejuvenated.

I returned the next day to the Ashtanga Yoga class and now consider myself hooked.

Why am I sharing this? Because Yoga really is for everyone; you just have to find the type that works for you.

Contrary to my earlier misconceptions, not all Yoga practices are the same. In order to help you find the class that works for you, the following list offers very general breakdown of some of the most common Yoga practices. Whether you want a relaxing mind/body focus, or a more intense workout, there is something for everyone and every body type.

One of the great things about this fast-paced, intense class is that the poses are executed in the same order every time. Through repetition you gain strength and flexibility.

This is a series of 26 yoga postures preformed in a sweltering 100◦F room. The intense amount of sweating that ensues cleanses the body and rids it of toxins. It also limbers the muscles, thus allowing them to fall into the poses more easily. But this high-heat Yoga practice is not for the faint of heart.

This is the slow and gentle practice that most often comes to mind when you hear the term “Yoga,” so it is an excellent choice for beginners.

Rather than flowing quickly from one pose to the next, Iyengar Yoga focuses on body alignment by holding the postures for longer periods of time. Yoga straps, blocks and other props are incorporated into this style.

While all Yoga practices focus on the correct breathing techniques, Kundalini places an emphasis on coordinating the breath with the movement as you flow quickly through the postures.

Another class that coordinates breathing with movement, a Vinyasa Yoga class consists of several sun salutations followed by a series of intense stretching.

So find your own Yoga style today.

South Texas Fitness & Health