How to do Yoga (Part 1): Find the best yoga style for beginners to practise
Yoga, an ancient practice with origins in India, has evolved into various styles and forms, each offering its unique approach to alignment, breath, and movement. In this post, we will delve deep into six of the most popular yoga styles: Hatha, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative, and Yin Yoga. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of each style and be better equipped to choose one that resonates with your personal goals and needs.
Before diving into the different styles of yoga, it's essential to mention the importance of a good yoga mat. We recommend using a cork yoga mat to enhance your overall practice. Made from all-natural materials, cork yoga mats are known for their non-slip and anti-microbial properties. The grip improves even more when you sweat, ensuring stability during intense sessions. Additionally, its natural composition makes it a sustainable choice, aligning with the holistic nature of yoga. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced practitioner, a cork yoga mat can significantly elevate your experience.
1. Hatha Yoga
Origin: Traditional Indian practice
Focus: Balance of body and mind
Iconic Pose: Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
History: Hatha Yoga dates back to medieval India and is often considered the foundation of all yoga styles. The term "Hatha" traditionally represents the balance of sun (ha) and moon (tha).
Best For: Beginners and those looking for a gentle introduction to yoga.
Description: Emphasizes the balance between physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation. Classes are generally slower-paced.
Origin: Modern, based on ancient texts
2. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
History: Popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century, this style is based on ancient yoga philosophies.
Focus: Strength and flexibility
Iconic Pose: Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Best For: Those seeking a rigorous and disciplined practice.
Description: A rigorous style where practitioners flow through specific sequences of postures, synchronizing breath with movement. There are six series in total, each with increasing difficulty.
3. Iyengar YogaOrigin: Developed by B.K.S. Iyengar
History: Iyengar dedicated his life to the study of yoga and developed this style focusing on alignment and precision.
Focus: Alignment and precision
Iconic Pose: Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with props
Best For: Individuals of all ages, especially those with injuries or chronic conditions.
Description: Emphasizes precise alignment in postures and often incorporates props.
4. Vinyasa Yoga
Origin: Modern, derived from Ashtanga
History: Vinyasa evolved as a more flexible approach compared to the strict sequences of Ashtanga.
Focus: Flow and fluidity
Iconic Pose: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Best For: Those who enjoy creativity and diversity in their practice.
Description: Often referred to as 'flow yoga', involves sequences where postures are linked with breath.
Origin: Modern, inspired by Iyengar
5. Restorative Yoga
History: Developed as a healing and recuperative practice.
Focus: Relaxation and restoration
Iconic Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Best For: Those seeking deep relaxation, stress relief, or recovering from injuries.
Description: Uses props to support the body, promoting relaxation and healing.
6. Yin Yoga
Origin: Modern, with Taoist roots
History: Merged Taoist traditions with western yoga practices.
Focus: Deep tissue stretch
Iconic Pose: Balasana (Child's Pose)
Best For: Those looking to improve flexibility and cultivate inner stillness.
Description: Targets connective tissues and joints by holding poses for extended durations.
Best Way to Practice:
For beginners, starting with Hatha or Restorative Yoga can provide a solid foundation. As you progress, incorporating Vinyasa or Ashtanga can challenge and build strength. Iyengar is excellent for understanding alignment, while Yin offers deep relaxation. Remember, the best practice is one that aligns with your goals, whether it's flexibility, strength, relaxation, or spiritual growth.
In conclusion, yoga is a diverse and expansive practice with a style to suit everyone. Whether you're seeking physical vigor or a moment of tranquility, there's a yoga style waiting for you. Embrace the journey and discover the transformative power of yoga. 🧘♂️🧘♀️🙏