By Christina | September 22, 2009
There are almost as many types of yoga as ice cream flavors. Your yoga practice can be relaxing with an emphasis on stretching such as restorative yoga. Vinyasa yoga is more heart rate intensive because you move through postures in a flow of one posture into another using your own body weight for resistance. Power yoga is arguably one of the more challenging yoga practices because the postures require a great deal of strength and stamina to execute them properly.
Yoga is one of my passions. I strongly believe that everyone should incorporate yoga a couple times a week into their regular exercise routines. Every balanced workout program should include cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, balance, and flexibility. Yoga is the missing link in most exercise programs.
I have been practicing and teaching yoga for years. My favorite types of yoga are power yoga and vinyasa yoga. If I can practice hot yoga where the room is kept at 100 degrees, even better. The yoga I teach is strong and powerful with a zen component. Tonight, I taught a yoga class that kicked my butt because it was different than the yoga I normally teach.
Iyengar yoga uses props like yoga straps and yoga blocks to assist people with poses and to ensure proper form. What makes Iyengar yoga especially different from other types of yoga is that postures, or asanas as they are called, are held longer than they are usually held. I taught an Iyengar yoga type class tonight without the props. It was a power yoga class where we held each posture longer than what was considered comfortable.
Vinyasa yoga is terrific because you move so quickly through the postures that your heart rate stays elevated throughout the entire practice. Tonight, though, what I found happened when we slowed way down and held each pose, for what felt like an eternity, was that we were able to get deeper into each pose and concentrate on our form. The muscular strength and endurance required to hold each posture was immense and took the whole class out of their comfort zone. As with any exercise, when you change up what you normally do, it takes your exercise to a whole new level and experience. We were sweating, our muscles were shaking, our heart rates were elevated, and our bodies were spent after 75 minutes of intense work.
True yogis might find fusing different types of yoga together disheartening. But, most people are not yoga purists. Simply by injecting a new element into a traditional form of yoga, you can take your yoga practice to a whole new level.