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Daily Archives: 11 December, 2014

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Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a very unique and different type of yoga, one that began in the West rather than the East. Yoga is a great way to keep fit, it can be done as one of our serious workouts or it can be used to warm up the body and keep your flexibility imporving. Due to the different types of yoga asanas and yoga poses, it helps to build muscle strength in different manners.

If you are starting off doing yoga for beginners, don’t hesitate to use yoga equipment and different yoga props to help you achieve the correct positions. Once you have mastered the breathing techniques and body alignment of the different yoga postures, you will be sure to feel the yoga benefits and see the positive change in your body and mind.

What is yin yoga?

During yin yoga, you are encouraged to help reach your deep tissues, using passive postures and more instense relaxation methods. The yin yoga poses are usually held for long periods of time to help you reach the deeper parts of your body, this could be from 5 minutes to 20 minutes! This type of yoga is more meditative to help improve organ health and focus on emotional well being.

Yin Yoga Poses

Beacuse yin yoga postures are held for longer, there is less of a variety in which positions you can choose, although having said this there are still loads! Have a go at what you like and see which ones help your body and mind:

  • Shoelace: sitting with legs stretched out, bring one leg over the other bending the opposite leg at the same time, you should end with your toes reaching behind you beside your bum, bend over stretching your arms straight ahead of you
  • Child’s Pose: kneeling on a mat, bend forward to rest your forehead on the floor and keep your arms by your side with palms facing upwards
  • Butterfly: sitting on your bum, bring the soles of your feet together so your knees are pushed slightly up and out, bend forward grasping your feet with your hands
  • Sphinx: lying on your front with your legs stretched behind you, bend your arms so that from your wrist to your elbow you are resting on the floor, raise your chest up and keep your head facing forward

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Iyengar Yoga

This style of yoga, iyengar yoga, is just one of many types of yoga that people look for to help with building muscle strength, improving balance and relaxation. Today, there are so many varieties of yoga that you are bound to find something that suits you perfectly. Each yoga style comes with its own specific yoga benefits and yoga asanas to aid the main purpose of the exercise.

In the history of yoga, each of the different yoga poses are aimed to target parts of the body, mind and sould to give you a true workout and find inner peace. Whether you are an expert at yoga positions, or trying yoga for beginners, read up on each type before making your decision. Finding the perfect yoga for you will take some trial and error.

What is iyengar yoga?

Iyengar yoga focuses on body alignment and perfecting the yoga poses and breathing techniques. It takes extreme concentration and practice to be able to execute the iyengar poses properly, and this is how you will truly be successful in gaining body strength and flexibility. Iyengar yoga is one of the few that include yoga equipment and props as a must. The use of blocks and straps are all there to aid you in reaching your full potential and feeling the burn for the yoga moves.

Iyengar Yoga Positions

Due to its purpose for helping body alignment and strength, iyengar yoga is often suggested for injury recoveries and helping pain in target areas. Some of the folloing iyengar poses do just that:

  • Paschimottasana: with your legs stretched in front of you, bend yourself forwards so your head is sitting between your thighs, keep your legs straight, either put your arms on the floor from your palms to your elbows or hold them inwards to your thighs
  • Downward Facing Hero: kneeling on your knees with your knees facing outwards to your body, bend forward stretching your arms straight in front of you as far ahead as you can, keep your head down
  • Reclining Angle: lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together bending your knees outwards, keep your arms relaxed out to your side, use cushions to support your back

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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga comes from the branch of ashtanga yoga, there is only a slight difference between the two types of yoga. As with all yoga styles, they require concentration, relaxation and a combination of yoga asanas and yoga poses that will help to increase your strength and balance which are just some of the yoga benefits available.

If you are starting off with yoga for beginners, it is important to be aware of all the subtle differences you will find between the different yogas, you should know about the correct yoga equipment to have and where you can get hold of the right yoga clothes. All of this will help you on your way to becoming a yoga guru!

Ashtanga vs Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga yoga was popularised in the 1970s by Pattabhi Jos from India. It includes a specific sequence of yoga postures, which are always performed in the exact order, that connects a breathing technique to each position. Vinyasa yoga comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “flow”, relfected in the more spontaneous style of ashtanga yoga poses. Each yoga move is connected to the next in a more lively setting, often with music. Both these yoga styles will work up a sweat through intense internal heat to help detoxify muscles and organs.

Ashtanga/Vinyasa Yoga Poses

These three poses are the best ashtanga yoga poses that are also included in vinyasa yoga routines. They are sure to get your muscles stretching and strengthening:

  • Trikonosana: standing with your fit wide apart, keep your left foot facing in and your right pointed out, reach your right foot with your right hand holding the toes and stretch your left arm straight above you, switch and repeat with the other side
  • Purvottasana: standing up with your left leg slightly behind and your right slightly in front, keep your arms bent behind your back in prayer position, bend forward trying to rach your chin with your right foot, repeat with other side
  • Hand to Big Toe: standing upright, extend your right leg straight in front of you, reach your right hand to grab your toes with your left hand on your waist, face and toes facing forward, slightly turn your right leg to the right side and turn your head to the left

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Types of Yoga

Yoga is more than just the first image that comes to our mind of a meditating, crossed-legged person with hands in the prayer position. The different types of yoga available is so vast that we are still yet to discover some! In the history of yoga, the purposes, positions and places of practice has changed and is still contantly being changed and updates. We have moved on from the days where yoga consisted of one position, sitting under a tree and meditating for hours on end.

The yoga benefits is one of the reasons why it has become such a popular phenomenon today and the reason why thousands of people everyday decide to take up this relaxing yet health-conscious activity. Each yoga asana comes with its own specific benefits as the yoga poses aim to target parts of the body, mind and soul. Starting off with yoga for beginners is great, take a look below and what yoga has to offer you.

Different Types of YogaDifferent Yoga Types

With all the different yoga varieties out there, it can be daunting on choosing which one is right for you, or even understanding the difference between them! This quick guide gives you the basics you need to know to be able to differentiate between the types of yoga. Each yoga type has specific requirements and individual poses and benefits:

  • Bikram Yoga: a series of 26 yoga poses repeated twice in a room of 95-105 °F and 40% humidity, great for weight loss and stamina
  • Hatha Yoga: the basis of all yoga, teaches basic yoga poses and breathing, incorporates all yoga positions
  • Kundalini Yoga: involves working on the spine and pushing energy towards your upper body, can also include chanting and meditation, energizer yoga boosting your feeling of energy
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: ancient style of yoga that synchronizes postures and breathing, ashtanga includes a concrete set of poses while vinyasa is more spontaneous, good for weight loss, cardio and strength
  • Iyengar Yoga: focuses on body alignment, using yoga equipment and holding poses for longer, helps when recovering from injuries or muscle definition
  • Yin Yoga: passive form of yoga especially good for your joints, poses are held for extremely long periods for meditation and to stimulate deeper tissues
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Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a different style of yoga that is relatively new to the Western world. With the countless options for all the types of yoga available to us nowadays, kundalini yoga offers a more spiritual and mental experience that being physically challenging. It manages to provide some amazing yoga benefits, some similar to what you can find in other yoga styles, but kundalini instructors will help you to getrid of negative energies and build your strength.

What is kundalini yoga?

Every style of yoga will always include certain yoga asanas and yoga poses tailored for the specific end results. In kundalini yoga, the theme of the workout is to help unravel the “coiled snake” at the bottom of your spine by focusing on your breathing and movement. It is a more spiritual style of yoga teaching that should bring about happiness, health and fitness.

How is kundalini yoga different?

A kundalini yoga class will always be different depending on your teacher because there is no set order of yoga exercises to carry out. You should expect to wear yoga clothes that allow for flexibility and movement as there may be times where you are required to jump, dance and hols long poses. It is a great way to introduce yoga for beginners as you are shown the yoga way of life with meditation and chants included.

Kundalini Yoga Poses

Here are some of the basic kundalini yoga poses that you can try at home, or that you might experience during a yoga session at the gym. Remember, this style of yoga requires concentration and relaxation so try using yoga music to help:Camel Yoga Pose

  • Half-Wheel: lying on your back with your knees bent, reach your arms to grab hold of your ankles and push up with your hips keeping your head on the ground, arch your back and walk your feet backwards until you are resting on your shoulders
  • Camel: sitting on your knees, raise up to a half-stand and grab your ankles with your hands, tilt your head backwards to create an arch in your back, push your thighs forward and chest toward the ceiling
  • Cow and Cat: on all fours with your knees under your hips and arms stretched under your shoulders, face downwards bringing in your belly button and arching your back upwards, relax, bring your belly button down and arch your back the opposite way, bring your head up
  • Lotus: sitting with your legs crossed and back straight, bring your feet above your thighs rather than below and place your wrists on your legs with your fingers pointed upwards

 

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Hatha Yoga

Yoga as we know it today is originally known as hatha yoga, the original style of yoga that describes the inclusion of yoga poses for any of the different types of yoga. Yoga has become an increasingly popular activity and workout, which would not be what it is today without the origins of hatha yoga.

What is hatha yoga?

In summary, hatha yoga is the name used to describe the physical act of yoga, with the yoga positions and breathing exercises to introduce you to the world of yoga for beginners. This style of yoga tries to combine the relationship between body and mind. It is the perfect choice if you are starting out as it will introduce you to the yoga world and will then help you advance.

Hatha Yoga Benefits

Yoga benefits come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the pose, the length of pose, and the conditions in which the pose is done, such as in a heated room during bikram yoga. The act of yoga itself relieves stress and brings the body into a deeper feeling of relaxation. Yoga is mainly aimed at improving muscle flexibility, tone and strength.

Basic Hatha Yoga Poses

Hatha yoga is the basis of all modern day yoga practices, providing the guide for all the possible yoga asanas. A hatha yoga class would be slow-paced to allow you to get to know the yoga poses. These are a few of the most important and popular hatha yoga poses to build a foundation for further yoga practise.

  • Tree: standing on your left leg with your right foot bent and pressed flat against your thigh, keep your hands in prayer position against your chest, inhale raising your arms above your head with palms touching and hold
  • Downward Facing Dog: start on your hands and knees spread shoulder-width apart, raise your knees off the ground to an almost-straight position and push your heels towards the ground, keep your head facing down and hold
  • Bridge: lying on your back with your knees close towards your bum, raise your hips and bring your arms behind your head with palms flat on the ground, lift your chin slightly and hold
  • Seated Twist: sitting with your legs extended, cross your right leg over your left thigh with your foot flat on the floor, bend your left leg in the opposite direction, bring your left elbow to rest on your right knee and twist to the right

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Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga is possibly one of the most popular types of yoga that you can find. With increasing studios and gyms including bikram yoga classes in their schedules, many people look towards yoga for their daily dose of exercise. Different yoga styles offer you different yoga asanas, also known as yoga poses, which you should try out and see which ones you enjoy best.

What is bikram yoga?

If you are doing yoga for beginners, you might be wondering what the difference is between all the different types of yoga. Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhary, an Indian yoga teacher, who put together a series of 26 hatha yoga poses to be completed in a hot room of 40°C or 104°F. Every bikram yoga session will include the same yoga poses in the same order, as every bikram instructor must stick the the teachings of Bikram Choudhary, however, you will be able to find some variations.

Bikram Yoga BenefitsBikram Yoga

The yoga benefits for any style of yoga are proven to be beneficial for flexibility and building strength or endurance. With the added heat element of bikram yoga, it is suggested that sweating out your toxins is good for your skin and body in general. Not only do you have the plus of detoxification, but the sweat and body heat created from the room helps you to move easier into the bikram yoga positions. A bikram yoga workout helps you to speed up heart rate and warm up your muscles, meaning that your body is working harder.

Tips for Bikram Yoga

It is important that you are aware of the correct preparation when doing bikram yoga, whether you are a beginner or expert. Here are a few useful tips you should take into account before you start:

  • Stay hydrated as your body will produce a lot of sweat during one session.
  • Correct yoga equipment for bikram yoga will include a towel to help your grip due to the sweat.
  • Try not to eat 2-3 hours before your class, some positions can lead to feelings of nausea due to the heat, stick to a healthy diet and light snacks.
  • Avoid being self-conscious about the amount of sweating you will do and embrace the heat!

Bikram Yoga Poses

Here is a short video showing you the range of bikram yoga poses included in a bikram yoga workout: