Since I just took up yoga, I was delighted to see that September is National Yoga Month. It's time to celebrate and acknowledge all that yoga offers us, from the physical benefits, to the emotional stability, as well as good breathing techniques.
After I took my first class (one that was slightly too advanced for me) I looked into the kinds of classes that yoga offers and how each one can help. I enjoyed talking to several instructors about yoga and what may suit me. Because there are so many variations, and studios often fuse names with their own take on things, I’ll talk about the main forms.
Bikram yoga is one of the best known forms. The founder is Bikram Choudhury, who named the practice after himself. Bikram is considered one of the toughest form of yogas, based on 26 positions that help the every facet of the body.
What is also tough is that it’s “hot yoga,” done in a room with a temperature of of about 100 degrees F.
You’ll most certainly sweat profusely, and you'll need to make sure you’re well-hydrated before, during and after the class. Don’t borrow a yoga mat (you’ll sweat on it) and bring a small towel.
This yoga isn’t for the faint-hearted and anyone with medical conditions should check with their doctors first. Pregnant women should never attempt Bikram yoga. It can raise the body’s core temperature too much and it not safe for mom or baby.
This form of yoga strengthens and elongates the body and is great for people already used to yoga and in good shape. Definitely not for newbies to yoga. It’s great for participants who like a fast, assertive workout in yoga.
Vinyasa yoga (my preference) is also a challenging yoga form. While I am now feeling great after four sessions because I am reasonably fit already, I felt it (strongly!) for three days after my first session.
Also known as power yoga, Vinyasa is a yoga practice based on poses that flow at a moderate to sometimes quick pace, and where breathing techniques are very important to enhance the flow.
Yoga poses are called asanas in the yoga world, but it’s fine to just call them poses.
Vinyasa is a strength-training yoga, and you’ll likely break a sweat.