What kind of yoga is best for you?
People find their way to the yoga mat for a variety of reasons. For some people it’s a simple as maintaining their fitness, or as part of a broader fitness regime for another sport they are passionate about such as running, cycling or ultimate frisbee. For others, it might be the very first tentative steps in improving their health and changing their lifestyle. Very often people seek out yoga as means to learn ways manage and reduce stress in their lives, or more seriously, to recover from trauma or serious illness. Most yoga teachers go a step further and embrace the physical, psychological and spiritual aspects of yoga as science of living. The wonder of yoga is that whatever our reason is for taking it up, it is certainly a powerful transformative tool which also has the capacity to be a deeply healing modality. Right now scientific research into yoga is an unprecedented high as the scientific measurement tools catch up to ancient wisdom and benefits of yoga become scientifically validated. There are no prerequisites to start, everybody can participate no matter your age, gender, flexibility or fitness level. However, these days with the myriad of classes of offer it can be very confusing to know where to start. Here are some guidelines to help get off to the right start.
Are you a completely new to yoga?
A great option if you are a complete beginner is to choose a beginners course. The pace of the course starts slowly and increases as your skills increase so you won’t go home from your first class and be too sore to pick up a teacup the next day! There are plenty of options for asking questions and just having a go, and there is an increased comfort level as everyone else is a beginner too. You’ll most likely have the same teacher for the duration of the course and once the course is finished the teacher will have a good idea about what kind style of yoga will suit you best going forward. We find that many people maintain a fondness for their first yoga teacher no matter how they proceed with the journey thereafter.
Are you making lifestyle changes or trying to loose weight?
The secret here is start slowly. As yoga is non-competitive and inclusive is can be a really safe and supportive environment in which to undertake the beginnings of such a journey. If motivation is barrier for you then consider a yoga beginners course as that can be a great starting point as it requires a commitment to a course of classes. Other good options are drop in classes that don’t move too fast so you have time to find your way into the postures and more time to experience each new posture for the first time. Iyengar and Hatha yoga classes could be good options for you as qualified teachers of these styles are expert at providing modifications and using props to make every pose accessible to every person.
Try: Align & Flow, I Heart Hatha & Sunday Best or Yogahub’s Beginners Courses
Do you need to reduce your stress levels?
Somatic practices such as yoga are incredibly effective in relieving stress and soothing the nervous system. Yoga practices that focus on quieting the mind and regulating the breath also give us the opportunity to practice, know and embody healthy somatic responses in a safe environment. These healthy responses can then be accessed when we might need them in our daily lives as we bump into stressors and triggers. The practice of pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) and meditation are also wonderful tools for reducing and managing stress.
Are you extremely stiff?
Many people who are very stiff think this disqualifies them from practicing yoga. This is shame as those ‘blessed with stiffness’ have so much to gain from the practice of yoga. Here at Yogahub we direct very stiff clients to start with a yin yoga class. Yin yoga is characterised by long passive posture holds, mostly on the floor and uses time and gravity to do most of the work. This provides a safe and effective starting point for starting to unwind muscle stiffness, sticky fascia and tight joints. As you have plenty of time to feel into and find the posture, and choose an intensity level that rights for you it really is one of the best options for stiff people. Another option, particularly when you’ve started to make a bit of progress is to give a slow flow vinyasa class a try. A slow flow vinyasa class is an accessible way to start to introduce the movement aspects of yoga into your practice without being overwhelmed.
Try: The Yin Crowd, Yin & Tonic, Flow Motion
Do you want to be challenged physically?
Looking for a physical challenge? Love to sweat and get the feeling of a strong workout? Yoga when practiced with intensity gives the body long lean and very strong muscle and develops a body that expresses an open natural gracefulness …somewhat like a ballet dancer. If you’re keen on excellent functional movement, eventually progressing to arm balancing, jumping into postures and holding the body in space these styles of yoga are the ones to explore; strong flowing vinyasa styles, long hold Iyengar styles and especially daily Ashtanga yoga practice. These styles will create balanced strength and flexibility and incredible all round fitness and put you on a sure path to becoming a yoga ninja!
*prerequisite – Yogahub Beginners Course.
Are you recovering from trauma or illness?
When a person has had special challenges such as trauma and illness they might be best to consider a specialist yoga class. These classes gently assist survivors to reconnect with their bodies in a safe and supportive environment by teaching one how to recognise and and modulate arousal. Most often these yoga therapies are highly complimentary to traditional clinical therapies such as psychotherapy or psychology. Trauma sensitive yoga classes aim to assist survivors in ways such as; soothing the body’s alarm system, learning to calm down and regulate, increasing spatial awareness and body attunement and practising making choices and taking effective action.
Speak with your health professional about your suitability for: Yogahub’s Healcode Trauma Sensitive Yoga Course.