I love yoga. It changed my life and for the past 5 years I’ve been practicing it for my personal development. I wanted to get myself into a routine, work on my health, look and feel good and do something natural that’s existed for centuries. I was always fascinated by people who practiced yoga daily. I envied their discipline, flexibility, strength, and obviously their amazing bodies. I kept telling myself, I am going to be a yogi one day. So, instead of telling myself, I started doing it.
I first experienced yoga when I was in my teens while in gym class. We took a few lessons and that was the extent of my expertise on the subject. So, before diving into a yoga routine I wanted to find out more about it. I did some research and realized I didn’t know the first thing about yoga, even if I remembered a few things from my old gym class. Did you know there are like a million styles of yoga? Well, not really a million, but there are many styles! Once I typed yoga in Google, a zillion hits popped up with names like, Hatha, Kundalini, Yin, Moksha, Bikram yoga and etc.. I didn’t even know what I was looking at. So, I turned to a friend who had taken a few yoga lessons and she suggested that I try hot yoga.
I typed hot yoga in Google and it narrowed it down to a list of locations that offered it and so I clicked on the one closest to me, which taught Bikram yoga. I checked out their schedule and rates and decided I’d try their Introductory package for new students and tried 10 days of hot yoga. Immediately going into the room I realized this is not what I remembered yoga to be. I walked into a 40 degrees Celsius heated sauna like room and immediately started sweating. I probably guzzled down 4 bottles of water in less than 1 hour. At first it was hard to breath, especially since I have asthma, because of the excess heat. But, as we progressed with the poses it got easier and more comfortable. By the end of the 1hr 30mins session, it felt as if I had sweat all the toxins out of my body. It was not only a cleanse internally but also externally. For the first time, my skin looked and felt so much better and healthier. I was hooked.
After practicing hot yoga for a few years, I decided I wanted to understand why there were so many different styles and how they varied. So, I started to attend classes that offered regular yoga, some of which include Hatha, Asthanga, Moksha, Vinyasa, and Restorative yoga. I realized after attending the different classes that each style offered something unique and different. Some styles concentrated on strengthening the mind and body, while other styles focused on relieving stress and pain. Vinyasa is a style where you flow from pose to pose melodically, almost like a dance. Whereas, Asthanga is a Power yoga where you concentrate on building muscle strength and stretching the body simultaneously and is often physically demanding. Finally, Restorative yoga is a combination of meditation and yoga which concentrates only on 5 poses throughout the session while holding those poses for 15 mins at a time. Regular yoga occurs in a standard, room temperature, studio and you will notice that you won’t sweat as much unless it’s an intensive power yoga session.
After trying both hot vs. regular yoga, I would have to say I personally enjoy hot yoga much more. I kill two birds with one stone, I get to practice yoga while detoxing because of the sauna like conditions. If you can’t handle heat, I suggest NOT to try it because it is very strenuous on the lungs while trying the poses. It becomes very uncomfortable at times and you feel like you need air but you are not allowed to leave the studio, as it affects the other students. If you want to learn the techniques specifically, then I suggest you try Hatha yoga, which is the original yoga. All styles of yoga originated from Hatha yoga and added their own twists. Hatha yoga will teach you all the poses and the techniques that go with them. Once you’ve mastered that, you can try Vinyasa because it helps you flow from pose to pose and allows the development of breathing techniques. Finally, after you’ve conquered that, you can try power yoga through Asthanga, which will really help train and challenge your body using everything you learned from yoga.
Time to reflect:
Have you ever tried yoga? If you have, what’s your favourite style of yoga? If you haven’t, I really recommend you try out a few classes. Don’t just buy a package and commit to one yoga centre. Try out different places and styles by purchasing their Introductory New Student package which is often no more than $20 and lasts for 7-10 days. That way you can get accustomed to the practice of yoga, check out the different schedules to see which one fits your lifestyle and timing and you can figure out which style is suited for you. Sometimes you will find that one particular style of yoga may not be suited for you and it would be awful to be stuck with an expensive package. Go out and try it!