What Yoga Style Is Best For Your Health?
The unique benefits of yoga can help everything from digestion to stress. Read on to discover which style is best for your health.
Feeling healthy, fit, and injury-free? Vinyasa could be for you. Contemporary, energetic, and fun, this dynamic style of yoga helps to build muscular strength, improve flexibility, and increase heart rate.
Loosely translated, Vinyasa means ‘breath with movement.’ Creative sequences that focus on flowing in time with the breath help to build a healthy mind-body connection. Challenging poses combined with upbeat playlists equal a yoga style that will leave you with a healthy glow inside and out.
Yin yoga is a floor-based practice that uses longer held postures to target the fascia (aka connective tissue) of the body. It can be a remedy for those who suffer from joint pain or injuries that limit weight-bearing.
The use of props also helps support the body to release tension and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Known as the ‘rest and digest’ mode, time spent in the PNS aids digestion, relieves anxiety, and calms feelings of overwhelm. All of which benefit IBS, bloating, sleeping difficulties, and other conditions exacerbated by stress.
Hatha’s low-impact poses may benefit people with weak or fragile bones. The longer holds that are typical of Hatha yoga encourage weight-bearing against gravity, which may help improve bone density and positively influence bone health.
The stress reduction that is a happy by-product of a regular yoga practice can also contribute to decreased inflammation and increased immunity. As spring arrives with allergies in tow, that’s a definite bonus. Hatha’s emphasis on alignment makes it an excellent style for beginners, and anyone working with chronic aches and pains will appreciate the slower pace.
Ashtanga’s fast pace and rigorous style suits healthy bodies who prefer a dynamic practice. Unlike Vinyasa, sequences of poses are practiced in a set ‘series,’ or order.
Alongside greater flexibility, expect to see increased muscle tone and strength. And if you’re free from injuries and willing to listen to your body’s limitations, Ashtanga yoga will help build your co-ordination too.
If you suffer from limited mobility or back pain as a result of poor posture, Iyengar’s focus on precise alignment could be for you. The use of props includes walls and chairs, which aim to support the body in establishing each pose for optimal alignment. The poses are practiced in a set order and held for more extended periods to provide structure, safe progression and individual modifications.
While you may not think of meditation as yoga – hey there’s only one pose, right? – it is one of the reasons yogis began to practice asana in the first place.
Not only do the postures help increase immunity and decrease stress, but they also create flexibility in the hips and strength in the spine. In the yogic tradition, this was designed to encourage the ability to sit cross-legged for extended periods observing the breath. Strong glute muscles also provided the cushioning required to meditate on top of cliffs. Just kidding.
These days meditation cushions and guided apps mean the health benefits of meditation can be found wherever you choose to practice. Both traditional and modern yogis can expect to feel decreased levels of anxiety, stress, and depression in as little as 10 minutes a day.
Practice on yogi’s!
Just like it pays to do your research on what each style of yoga entails, always check with your doctor before starting any new form of exercise. And alongside treating the above information as a complementary guide only, be sure to tell your yoga teacher about any health concerns.