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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:

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Yoga Asanas

Yoga asanas are defined as postures or poses designed for yoga purposes. Yoga asanas come in a huge variety of different yoga poses made for different types of yoga and ranging from yoga for beginners to advanced. Originally, there was one single yoga position designed for long-time meditation and reflection but today you can try out all the different ones and find what suits you best.

Every yoga posture will have a specific function and purpose, whether it is improving flexibility or maintaining wellbeing, and whether it be a twsting position, lying down position or bending one. In English we use yoga asanas to signify and standing or sitting yoga pose, although there are many other technically specific terms.

Yoga Asanas

Examples of Yoga Asanas

Due to the infinite number of yoga poses and positions possible, we have chosen our top 5 yoga asanas for you to have a go at! These can be done at home with the right yoga equipment or in the gym. Have a go, get started on these basic yoga asanas then move on to more complicated ones:

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): start standing up, take a deep breath in and bend over clenching in your abs and bringing your chin inwards to your chest, keep your shoulders relaxed, place your hands on the ground with your chest close to your knees
  • Malasana (Yoga Squat): toes facing outwards and heels inwards, bend into a low squat holding your hands in prayer position
  • Upward Facing Dog: lying down with your body stretched from fingers to toes, bend your arms to the side of your chest and push up with your head facing upwards and streching your chest/neck
  • Virabhadrasana (Warrior 1 Pose): with your right knee bent in a lunge position and your left leg stretched out behind, toes facing forward, extend your arms upwards to have palms touching and stare upwards pushing shoulders down
  • Purvottanasana (Intense East Pose): begin sitting with legs stretched in front of you and toes pointing forward, place hands behind you facing forwards like your toes, inhale pressing hands and toes into the floor and pushing your hips up, your head should be facing up and back

View the yoga benefits of doing these poses here.

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Yoga Music

The relaxation and de-stressing mood of yoga requires nothing short of the same from the accompanying yoga music. As an art, yoga needs to be done in the most calming setting possible, whether that means you prefer silence, instrumental music or a yoga playlist of songs. Yoga music is just one of the yoga accessories, make sure to check out what yoga clothes and yoga equipment you might need.

Different types of yoga and different yoga poses, depending on the intensity and length, may use different yoga music in the studio. If you are doing yoga at home then it is your choice. If you are simply looking for relaxing music to listen to, then any of our suggestions should help. As the history of yoga focused on mental and self-awareness, to concentrate and be able to think about your yoga state intensely, you might want only instrumental music or nothing at all.

You might be leading or teaching a group of yoga for kids, in which the yoga poses for kids will be slightly easier and more accessible. Depending on the age group, it is important to choose appropriate yoga music for kids as you want to keep them engaged. Pick songs that they like, are lively and suitable for the age group.

Yoga Music Playlist

If you have started out with yoga for beginners you might want to first experiement with what yoga music works for you and for what you want to achieve during your workout. Below we have included an instrumental yoga playlist for you to listen to, it should provide a calming energy and help you relax. We have also decided to compile a yoga music soundtrack with songs that have the same effect, give it a try because you might find it more calming listening to lyrics.

  • Civil Twilight – “Letters from the Sky”
  • Birdy – “1901”
  • Ben Howard – “Only Love”
  • The Paper Kites – “Bloom”
  • David Gray – “Babylon”
  • Sam Smith – “Latch (Acoustic)”
  • David Mathews Band – “Crash into Me”
  • Frou Frou – “Let Go”
  • Coldplay – “Fix You”
  • Citizens – “Oh God”

This is a suggested relaxation yoga music piece if you want something that allows you to focus more mentally:

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Yoga Equipment

Yoga equipment, like yoga clothes, has become as big of a craze as yoga itself. Yoga was never intended to be a fashionable and trendy way of life, in the history of yoga people would only need their bodies and minds. Today, however, is slightly different. Although yoga equipment is not as expensive as other sports or exercises, it is handy to have a few things with you especially when doing yoga for beginners.

If you are already a pilates expert, and have surpassed the yoga vs pilates debate, some of the equipment you might already have can be useful. For practising yoga at home, a comfy surface in theory is all that you need, but for the more advanced levels of yoga and for different types of yoga you might need some of the yoga accessories mentioned below. For yoga classes, most yoga studios will have equipment you can borrow but it is always good to check or bring your own.

It would be especially useful to make sure you had some of the following things if you are doing pregnancy yoga poses or yoga poses for beginners, just to help support your body and reach the positions safely.

Yoga Accessories

Yoga is quite a low-maintenance activity as not much is required in terms of equipment or demand. Most of the yoga equipment you need can be sufficient with things you can find lying around the house. However, recently there has been an increase in yoga shops and retailers extending their brand into workout and yoga equipment. This might be a good place to start looking if you want top of the range or funky and designer yoga accessories.

  • Yoga mat: the most important piece of equipment, you can’t do yoga on a hard floor, the sticky yoga mat provides padding and friction for safety when doing yoga positions
  • Yoga mat bag: an accessory for the yoga mat, can come invarious designs and patterns or even made at home, useful if you are travelling to and from yoga classes
  • Foam blocks: used for beginners mainly and for advanced yoga moves, should be able to support your full weight, good for poses where your hand can’t reach the floor, helps with alignment
  • Straps and belts: made of cotton or nylon, extend your reach, help to align your back and stretch certain muscles in different poses
  • Blankets and towels: mostly used for your own comfort, to help in rest positions, for before and after comfort and if you get sweaty during your exercise

Good news is that yoga is usually done barefoot so no expensive trainers are needed, however for your own comfort you can get special yoga socks with grip. Now that the shopping is out of the way, have a look at the yoga benefits you can achieve!

 

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Yoga Clothes

Yoga fanatics out there will advise you that yoga clothing is the most important part of yoga. As it has become a multi-million dollar business idea, and a reason for the yoga obsessed to go and cash out, your yoga outift is an important part of your workout. Did the founders of yoga intend on yoga clothes being such a craze? Probably not, but in order to get the best out of yoga, why not look the part!

Yoga for beginners is not only about knowing the history of yoga or the different types of yoga (the different yoga poses available is an important part) but having the right yoga equipment and yoga clothes will set you off on the right path.

What yoga clothes to wear?

When you practice yoga, in yoga classes or by doing yoga at home, the vital part is that you are comfortable. Yoga workouts will have you doing all different kinds of yoga positions and shapes with your body that you need to be dressed in something that allows for this type of flexibility. Depending on the type of yoga you will do will also depend on what you should be wearing, for example bikram yoga that is done under extreme heat conditions – be dressed to sweat! Remember to keep supported, wear the appropriate under garments and body support band if necessary or if you have injuries.

Where to buy yoga clothing?

Seeing celebrity snaps off to yoga, or designer yoga clothing labels, should not put you off buying the appropriate gear for yoga. It does not have to cost you a fortune to be able to buy yoga clothes. As the popularity of yoga increases, the need for yoga clothing increases too so you will be able to find what you are looking for whether that is expensive, deisgner yoga gear, or the cheapest thing possible.Yoga Clothing

  • Look online: a range of online retailers have brought out workout and yoga clothing sections, some new yoga specific online stores are available as well as existing brands, new designer yoga labels
  • In the shops: many sports shops now cater to clothing specifically for yoga, you can find yoga clothing shops that focus only on yoga attire, some fashion retailers have included a workout range of clothes in some stores
  • Look inside your own closet/wardrobe: yes, you read that right! you don’t even have to look anywhere else, yoga clothing can simply be a pair of spare leggings and a sports bra you have lying around, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy
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Yoga for Beginners

Today, yoga has become more than just a fad. It is an ongoing obsession and relatable hobby for many people around the world. Throughout the history of yoga, new people have always been fascinated so as a beginner at yoga it is understandable to be confused and curious in this ancient tradition.

From the different types of yoga to the variety of yoga poses you can do, there are a million options out there for you! Have a read through all the ways you can improve your mind, body and soul through the art of yoga and have a go to find what is the best fit for you. Yoga for beginners can be daunting, which is why we have put together all that you need to know right here.

Yoga 101

When you start off on the yoga journey, you want to make sure that you do it right. Things might have changed since the time of Buddha, but the principals are still the same. Whether you want to take up yoga classes or try doing yoga at home, here is what you need to know to get started:

  • History of Yoga: find out how it all began and the ideology of a yoga way of life
  • Yoga Clothes: dress to impress with the best yoga clothing out there so you can look the part and feel comfortable
  • Yoga Equipment: take a look at what it is you will need to get the best out of your workout
  • Yoga Music: it’s all about the playlist, whether you are looking for songs or instrumental as the backing to your yoga session
  • Yoga Asanas: learn the traditional yoga poses and how it all started out

Find out what the fuss is about by trying it yourself! Yoga for beginners is a great way to improve your health, relax after a busy day or focus on your future goals. Check out the yoga benefits and how you can improve yourself.