How to Choose the Right Yoga Class for You

How to Choose the Right Yoga Class for You

            The last hundred years or so has been an amazing time of growth for the practice of yoga as teachers developed new approaches that better suit modern needs. Yoga has grown into so many different styles because each fits the needs of different bodies and lifestyles. Hot Yoga is not for everyone. Neither is Power Yoga, or yin classes. With so many different yoga classes being offered finding the one that fulfills your needs can be a harrowing task, it is okay to feel overwhelmed. Gaining a basic understanding of the different styles of yoga will help you to find the right class for you. This article serves as a guide to our classes at Studio B to help you find the best practice to help you on your inward journey. 

Yoga is a part of the grand life science of Ayurveda which has been being applied for more than 2,000 years. The basis of Ayurveda is that all things, including you, are made up of various combinations of the five elements; earth, fire, air, water, and space. This combination is called your dosha, which translates to constitution. Knowing your dosha can help you decide what type of yoga is best for you. Follow this link for a short, free quiz to help you determine your dosha, https://www.mapi.com/doshas/vpk-balance.html.

Yang Yoga Practices: Active Classes

These classes are fantastic for people who are mostly sedentary in their work and home life and do not have a workout routine. Yoga is not a workout routine; however, it may be done vigorously enough to serve in the place of one. Yoga is the act of connecting to self and spirit through movement, meditation, and breath awareness.  

Ashtanga Yoga- Ashtanga is a very traditional practice that uses the same sequence of breath work and poses for each class. Each movement is linked with the breath to harmonize the mind-body-spirit connection and bring the student into a deeply meditative state of mind. Ashtanga is done at a moderate pace and is appropriate for all three doshas. 

Vinyasa Yoga-It is a meditative and challenging practice guaranteed to get your heart pumping, help the body stay healthy, and make getting into a meditative mindset easier. Through repetitive motion and mindful breathing the students increase their strength, flexibility, and inward connection. These classes are usually practiced at a moderate to intense speed. People with chronically high blood pressure, heart disease, vertigo or other serious medical conditions should speak with their doctor and an experienced Yoga teacher before beginning a Vinyasa practice. People with vata, or kapha dosha may find this practice to be too fast paced, which might disrupt their balance. Pitta types flourish with Vinyasa practice. 

Mindful Flow- Mindful flow classes are designed with the same principals as Vinyasa- mindful breathing, repetitive motion, and a combination of strength and flexibility. However, the mindful flow is done at a slower pace with a greater emphasis on alignment, physical sensation, and quality of breath. Mindful flow is a great class for people who have other physical activities in their daily life but wish to add an element of mindful movement to their life. It is also a great class for beginners or people who have been out of practice for a while. Mindful flow is a gentler practice but people with medical conditions should still consult with their teacher and doctors before practicing for the first time. Mindful flow classes are appropriate for all the doshas. 

Hatha Yoga- Hatha is an older type of yoga designed to regulate the flow of energy in the body. Pranayama practices, methods of working with the breath in different ways, are almost always done in hatha classes. Each pose is approached slowly and held for longer periods of time. Self-care is the theme of hatha yoga, so students are encouraged to take breaks and modify the poses as they wish. Hatha yoga is the best practice for people looking to regain strength and flexibility while dealing with injury and illness, but that doesn’t mean this class is easy. People dealing with chronic conditions and injuries should speak with the teacher before beginning the practice to ensure they are given appropriate modifications.  Hatha Yoga is appropriate for all the doshas but some kapha types might find it to be too slow to help them feel uplifted. 

Heated Classes- Hot Yoga is best for vata dosha and kapha dosha who do not have a lot of other physical activities. Pitta dosha people should avoid Hot Yoga unless they are specifically prescribed it by a qualified teacher because these classes add more fire to the body. Pitta dosha people can easily get too much fire if they practice hot yoga regularly. During winter months heated yoga is an excellent way for some people to maintain their internal fire and avoid falling into winter blues. 

Yoga for a Healthier Back- Vinyasa and Hot Yoga can make back pain worse under certain circumstances. If pain management is your goal, this class is a must attend. You will learn poses and techniques to strengthen the back muscles, release tension, and modify your yoga practice. The modifications learned during this class are important tools for anyone dealing with chronic back pain. 

Yin Practices: Relaxing classes 

These classes are best suited for people who have physically demanding jobs and active lifestyles and do not need the physical side of yoga to be balanced. They are also an important component of a yoga practice for people a lot of life stress. Through stillness our minds are restored.

Yin Yoga: This practice is about stillness, softening, and flexibility. This class takes place mostly seated or laying down, and the poses are held for 2-4 minutes each. This enables deep release of physical and emotional tension, and stimulates the flow of healing fluids to the entire body.  People suffering from stiffness and overuse injuries will benefit greatly from this class. This class is especially good for vata and pitta dosha. People with kapha dosha should do Yin Yoga sparingly because the slow nature of this type of yoga can increase the kapha in the body and cause problems. 

Restorative Yoga: Restorative Yoga is designed to provide sanctuary from a chaotic life. Props are used to hold the body in different shapes, although strong sensations are not encouraged. The idea of Restorative Yoga is to be held by the props and let the body melt into profound relaxation. Practicing Restorative Yoga helps to combat chronic inflammation, effects of long-term stress, and feelings of disconnection. This practice is good for everyone who feels stressed but should be made a priority by people of pitta dosha. Kapha types should take care to balance restorative practice with a physical activity such as walking. 

Outdoor Yoga: During the summer we offer many chances to take your yoga practice outdoors. This offers you the chance to experience union with yourself in context to the larger environment. If you are a nature lover or wish to gain deeper connection to the land these classes are for you. Using the practices of yoga, we explore deep connection to the ecology of our mountain home. Practicing yoga outdoors increases the healing effects of the practice dramatically. Therefore, outdoor yoga is a great choice for someone who needs to reduce stress but has a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Being sedentary creates disease, so people who do not move often should be mindful of getting plenty of movement in their yoga classes. Outdoor yoga is balancing for all the doshas and can be practiced by all constitutions safely. 

 

Remember, not every yoga practice is for you, and neither is every teacher. Keep trying practices and teachers until you find one that you feel comfortable with, that leaves you feeling deeply nourished. If you’re still feeling unsure about which class is best for you, come in and talk with one of our staff. We are here to guide you. 

 

Namaste