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Is Yoga Confusing? Here are Some Surprising Poses To follow and Learn

If you're doing yoga at the local YMCA, in a trendy fitness center, or with an app on your living room floor, you 're definitely aware that there's

Is Yoga Confusing? Here are Some Surprising Poses To follow and Learn

If you're doing yoga at the local YMCA, in a trendy fitness center, or with an app on your living room floor, you 're definitely aware that there's plenty of ways to get in. But it can be harder to find out which exercise better fits your physical and mental objectives than to keep half-moon pose, and a two-sentence explanation on a class schedule can hardly explain what the various lines and contemporary variations are intended to deliver.

Yoga — which comes from the Sanskrit term yuj, and means "Yoke" or "uniting"—is a practice that dates back to India for thousands of years. Western yoga started to boom in the U.S. just over half a century ago, becoming a fixture on the wellbeing scene and eventually evolving into something that we consider workouts.

Classical forms have been adapted over the years to be more fitness-focused — and at times plain gimmicky. There are so many choices today, that it can be hard to keep up. What sets Bikram apart from other hot yogas? Why does he equate ashtanga to Iyengar? Does aerial yoga claim acrobat experience? How does yoga hip-hop fit into the matrix?

Hatha Yoga Poses

This is definitely the branch of yoga that comes to mind when most people are talking about yoga. It focuses on basic postures like the downward-facing dog or the poses of the warrior. Sometimes the poses are combined into a set or series — sun salutations for example — with each pose held for several breaths. Breathing is often rhythmic, with movement drivers being inhaled and exhaled, as well as a means of seeking quietness. Hatha is great for beginners and anyone who is looking for a good stretch or work on alignment with it.

Yoga: Anusara

This style of yoga, closely associated with Hatha, was founded in the late 1990s by an American instructor, John Friend, and is focused on the premise that human beings have inherent goodness that we can experience through yoga. (Friend was subsequently enmeshed in a financial and sex scandal.) Classes follow set sequences that are physically demanding which seek to open not only the body but also the heart and mind. If you are looking for a workout that focuses intensely on both the inner and outer sense of self, this might be a good choice.

Yoga: Hot

There are various yoga styles designed to make you sweat. Bikram was named after another controversial creator who popularized the show in the 1970s, Bikram Choudhury (he was later accused of sexual misconduct). It consists of 26 postures, mostly done twice in a row, in a hot, humid room where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. The theory is that heat helps protect your muscles against injury while helping you to deepen your poses as well. Because the Bikram series never changes, it's good for both beginners and advanced practitioners, unless they're the kind of people who get bored easily.

In comparison, hot yoga is derived from Bikram but is versatile in style. It simply means that the room is warm — usually between 80 and 100 degrees — and may contain any number of postures or similar sequences. Classes may look different depending on where you are doing the practice.

In a heated class, a teacher should probably warn students that they still have the option to lie down on the mat, if they start to feel lightheaded. However, before pursuing this procedure, people with conditions like cardiovascular disease, back pain, asthma, diabetes, low blood pressure, or pregnancy should consult a doctor.

Yoga: Iyengar

Pronounced eye-yen-gar and developed in the 1970s by the respected B.K.S. Iyengar teacher, this practice is regimented, form-focused, and prop-centered. (Yoga costumes, or techniques that enable you to change poses or support your body, including blocks, straps, bolsters, and blankets, among other items.) There are hundreds of different sequences, so there's plenty of variety between classes, and students can practice it at all stages. Poses are kept overtime periods and do not move from one to the next: the aim is to achieve proper alignment and develop strength and balance. It is a good style to explore if you're really trying to grasp inside out postures.

Yoga: Vinyasa

Unless you've been to a yoga class where a dominant part of the instructor's vocabulary was the word "flow," it was probably a vinyasa lesson. The focus in this kind of yoga is on executing poses that are dynamic from one to the next (in a more flexible execution of the series of sun-salutations). With these classes there is no fixed series; teachers may ask practitioners to point out the items they want to work on and adapt them to those requests. Breathtaking mindfulness, and matching the breath to movement, is also part of this process.

Most of these are fully accessible-level classes, but studios may also label more difficult classes as intermediate or advanced. For anyone with injuries, bear in mind that vinyasa can be physically demanding (you can always seek modifications from your instructor). This style of yoga can feel like a full-on aerobic workout, depending on where you are taking the class, and who is teaching it. 

Even the simple "flow" element can be difficult — teachers would ask students to take a vinyasa between poses — to shift from the downward dog to the high board and then to the low board (called chaturanga) before going down to the bottom, going through the upward dog and back to the downward dog. Taking a vinyasa needs a reasonable amount of strength (by lowering your knees, as with a push-up, it can be altered). But once you've got the hang of that, the feeling is powerful.

Yoga: Ashtanga

Ashtanga is similar to vinyasa — you're going to flow from one pose to another and be directed by your teacher to align your breath with your body's movement — but the difference is that it's still the same poses, in the same development. Expect a good workout; challenging yourself, and getting sweaty.

Yoga Yin

Whether you're looking for a practice that helps sustain you through other yoga types, and you're flexible enough to remain in a pose for long periods of time, then yin might be for you. The teacher will have you hold a posture for several minutes in these classes which helps to make connective tissue more flexible like tendons, ligaments, and fascia. A long half-pigeon pose right now can be painful. Yet the next time you keep Warrior II, your body will be thanking you.

Restorative yoga

Have you ever stepped into a new class of yoga and left an hour later asking why you didn't make a lot of movement? Maybe you were in a restorative class. This method, which is suitable for students at all levels at experience, is aimed at relaxation, rejuvenation, and healing. That's a slow-paced, meditative style that focuses on stretching by keeping up to several minutes of poses, often with supportive props like blankets and bolsters, and turning attention inward. There's a reason why restore classes often happen at night with the lights turned down: they 're like non-sleeping naps that aim to make you feel restored — you guessed it.

Yoga: Aerial

If there is indeed a part of you that fears never running off to join the circus, aerial yoga, a style that can be found in specialist studios, gives you the ability to feel like you're hanging out of a flying trapeze (or at least being suspended in midair under slightly less stressful circumstances). Aerial yoga incorporates elements of Pilates and dance to conventional yoga poses with its objective of relaxing, supported by a hammock so that practitioners can maintain the postures while floating in the air. While the jury is still out on this practice's particular health statements, it may help students deepen poses that may be more challenging on the field, with the help of gravity.

Even so, it may not be good for everybody. When following this procedure, pregnant women and anyone with an accident or medical condition should contact a health care provider.

Yoga: boutique

When yoga becomes a growingly popular form of exercise in the United States, new models are emerging in boutique studios and fitness companies. One example is New York City's Y7 Yoga, which pairs intense rhythm loops with heart-thumping hip-hop music (it's a little like the yoga variant of the Soul Cycle). Another emerging form is paddleboard yoga. Balancing adds to the difficulty, and maybe you end up in the cold. Possibly, certain types won't make it into your daily rotation. But who knows, it could be a fun way to improve your practice to get into a downward dog with a goat balanced over your back.
Is Yoga Confusing? Here are Some Surprising Poses To follow and Learn



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YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters: Is Yoga Confusing? Here are Some Surprising Poses To follow and Learn
Is Yoga Confusing? Here are Some Surprising Poses To follow and Learn
If you're doing yoga at the local YMCA, in a trendy fitness center, or with an app on your living room floor, you 're definitely aware that there's
YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters
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