WHICH YOGA STYLE IS FOR YOU?

BY SKYE CUSHWAY

When I was 17 my dance teacher encouraged me to do yoga. I was battling with self-hatred and depression.  She told me I need to work on my mind. In all honesty, I didn’t understand or have much of an idea about yoga. But I went to my first class and I was hooked. I loved the way it made me feel. After a few years of practice I started to really understand the mind-body connection.  Then, after seven years of regular practice I decided to study to  become a yoga teacher so I could pass on my love of yoga. 

Yoga, the Sanskrit name that means ‘union’; the body and mind working in unison.

Yoga is a moving meditation. While working on stretching and strengthening our muscles, joints, bones and tendons, we are also detoxifying our internal organs while quietening down our busy minds.  Yoga is a fantastic way to connect the mind, body and spirit.

The ancient science of yoga has been practised in the east for thousands of years bringing happiness, health and peace of mind to those who study it. The benefits of yoga have been welcomed by the West and widely developed as a fitness craze.  But the benefits are not just physical. With regular practice of yoga your quality of life improves on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Yoga can help you succeed with all aspects of your life.  Work, sport, study and your relationships with others can all be improved as regular yoga practice has multiple benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Clarity of the mind and a greater capacity for concentration will emerge. What’s more, it is a fantastic active recovery class. I have NEVER had an injury over the last 10 years of lifting heavy weights.  It really does help my body recover from my intense training.

The beauty of yoga is that the only piece of equipment you need is the ground you stand on. However, you might want to try a thin rubber mat. Yoga is available at most gyms and there are plenty of great yoga schools. Do your body, mind and spirit a favour and add some yoga into your workout regime today.

There are heaps of different styles and teachers.  Go to a couple of different classes to find what suits you.

Ultimately, though, all styles of yoga stem from the same tree. The philosophy of yoga is that the air we breathe contains ‘prana’ (life force) and ‘prana’ is the energy that links the body with the soul. According to Eastern medicine, Prana gives us vitality to live a healthy and energy-filled life.

Here are a few of the different types:

  • Ashtanga isn’t for the faint-hearted. It requires a high level of physical strength. This is great if you love gymnastics and challenging yourself. It is known as eight-limbed yoga as it combines eight levels of yoga. You will definitely work up a sweat. 
  • Bikram (hot yoga) is a 90-minute class with a sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises all performed in a heated room of around 35 to 45 degrees Celsius. If you love dripping in sweat and really challenging the body and mind, this one is for you. Bikram is great for strengthening the back, ridding the body of toxins, improving posture as well as circulation and blood flow.

 For the full article, check out the latest issue of Oxygen in all good newsagents, or you can click here to subscribe.