How to Find the Right Kind of Yoga for You

26 January 2017

There are numerous benefits to practicing yoga and it's important to figure out what you want to gain from it. Our guest blogger Cassie helps you to determine what type of yoga is right for you.

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Yoga has grown to become a widely accepted and available wellbeing method, by which you can increase your fitness levels and spiritual connection. It's open to anyone of any faith or walk of life, which is one of the features people love about it most.

In the right environment, there's a feeling of union and connectedness which is what yoga is all about. Yoga literally translates to "unite" in Sanskrit. However, as there are numerous benefits to practicing yoga, it's important to figure out what you want to gain from it, which will help you determine what type of yoga is right for you.

What Do You Want From Yoga?

It's important to decipher why you're interested in yoga, and what you wish to acquire from it. Are you looking to relieve stress? Lose weight? Feel more grounded? Enhance your spiritual connection? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you narrow down your search and guide you to the perfect environment for you to learn and practice in.

It's possible to get everything mentioned in the above questions from learning one yoga style. For example, Kundalini yoga offers a great workout while focusing on philosophy and spirituality. Kundalini was brought to the Western world in 1969, and it's been growing in popularity ever since. Before Yogi Bhajan popularized the style, it was little known by the masses and had an atmosphere of secrecy about it.

However, not everyone starts practicing yoga to further his or her spiritual journey. Yoga is useful for losing weight, gaining muscle and flexibility and relaxation. For health-focused yoga enthusiasts, styles such as Ashtanga Vinyasa or Bikram will be most effective since they involve a lot of movement, stretches and cardiovascular exercise.

Popular Yoga Styles

  • Ashtanga Vinyasa - This type of yoga is great for weight loss and helps increase fitness and flexibility. You'll perform quick changes between postures helping you balance your mind and body, focusing on alignment and steadiness.
  • Jivamukti – The Jivamukti style is similar to Astanga Vinyasa but has a heavier focus on philosophy and spirituality.
  • Bikram - This method is unique as it's practiced in rooms heated to 105 degrees. The reason for this is that the heat forces toxins to sweat out of the body while promoting flexibility.
  • Integral - Integral is a softer smoother and more holistic yoga style. This can be used almost anywhere, at work, home or in a studio environment.
  • Iyengar - If you're interested in good posture and alignment, then this is the style for you. Iyengar focuses on holding poses (asanas to use the correct term) for longer periods of time. This helps the student unblock tension and boosts the mind and body connection.
  • Kripalu - Meditation and breathing cycles play a significant role in this style. If you're interested in developing a higher mind and body awareness, this could be the right choice for you.
  • Kundalini - This style combines fitness and spirituality, as it places a heavy emphasis on postures, rapid breathing, philosophy and heightened awareness. It's a sprout off of tantric yoga, which is becoming more popular in the Western world with big name celebrities such as Russell Brand promoting it.
  • Sivananda - Using smooth and relaxed movements, postures and concepts, this style promotes a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Teaching diet, positive thinking and meditations along with posture practices, Sivananda is truly a way of life.
  • Viniyoga - Think of this style as a customized or personalized yoga plan for each individual. A registered and qualified yoga teacher will go through your desires and physique and construct the perfect postures, breath work, meditations and more to resonate with your circumstances.

Finding the Right Yoga Teacher

Discovering the right teacher for you is almost just as important as finding the right yoga style. The reason for this is that the wrong teacher could put you off the style, even though it seemed like the perfect fit for your needs. Sometimes it's not the method that's giving you a bad experience it's the teacher.

Due to these factors, you have to be careful and selective. A good yoga teacher will understand your needs, circumstances and physique and guide you to accomplish whatever your desires may be from yoga.

Look up reviews on the yoga teachers and schools you're thinking of learning from, see what past and present students are saying. From your findings, you should have a good idea of what kind of environment a teacher creates, which will help you make an educated decision on whether to attend a class or not.

Yoga and Technology

We're living in a technological age whereby anyone can pick up skills in an instant through scouring the internet for information. By watching YouTube videos, reading articles or using yoga apps, you can learn postures, styles and yogic lifestyles. The attention to detail you get from attending classes is of course much greater than learning on your own; however, assisting your studio sessions and home practice using information from the web is a useful idea.

Yoga enthusiasts use YouTube, yoga apps and popular blogs while out and about to learn different techniques and styles they can use in their practices. It's important to note that you should protect your identity and internet activity on all devices when using public WiFi as hackers are just waiting for unsecured connections to tap into.

How To Start Your Yoga Journey

The best way to begin after compiling all your research from finding the right style and teacher is to attend a beginner's class. Dive in headfirst and see how the session goes for you. You're more likely to enjoy the experience than not since you've done extensive research into every part of your journey so far.

The more you keep up your practice and continue attending classes, the deeper your understanding and experiences will take you. A lot of yoga styles state that the physical benefits are a bonus or byproduct of the real meaning and purpose of yoga which is to unite an individual connecting their mind, body and spirit as one.

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Profile image Written by Cassie Phillips

Cassie is a blogger and yoga enthusiast who loves sharing information and tips related to health, mind and body wellbeing. She likes to keep at the cutting edge of new developments in the yoga industry, which allows her to help others find the right styles for them.