When my mother, who is in her 60s, had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, she found a yoga practice and a teacher that she connected with for which I was overjoyed. “Just wait until you try this yoga class, Lori. I love it!” my mother exclaimed.
When we arrived my mother announced, “My daughter is a certified yoga instructor!” while I tried to hide my mat in the back of the room. Honestly, being an instructor, I prefer to remain anonymous when attending a class. I don’t want anyone assuming that I can put my foot behind my head or do a free standing headstand just because I’ve been teaching for over six years.
But I was happy to share in my mother’s yoga practice this morning. However, to my dismay, it seemed as though we spent 40 minutes in either child’s pose or lying in corpse pose breathing into our kidneys. “Isn’t she amazing?!” my mother asked after class. “Umm, I’m really glad that you’ve found a class that you like, mom,” I replied diplomatically.
But the reality of it was, is that I have discovered that I prefer a more vigorous practice. The good news is that there are many different styles of yoga. So if you are just beginning or reconnecting to a yoga practice and you attend a class that does not seem like your cup of tea, don’t give up – just try another style. Each individual teacher will also bring their own energy to the class as well.
What’s Your Yoga Style?
At Green Mountain, we’re all about helping women find physical activities that feel right for them. A major reason — it helps them keep doing it!
For those who prefer a gentler class with little flow between poses, a Hatha style might be the best for you.
In an Iyengar class, the focus is on alignment where you hold the poses for longer periods of time, often using blankets or props.
Although Vinyassa, which means “flowing with the breath,” can represent many levels of difficulty, it usually includes Sun Salutations where you flow from one pose to the next.
Another style which focuses on the breath is Kundalini, where the intention is using the breath to free energy from the bottom of the body upwards.
I like to think of Bikram, the hot yoga, as more of a boot camp style class, where they heat the room to around 95 degrees with challenging poses, so please keep that in mind if your blood pressure is a concern.
Ashtanga is also a more advanced practice, where you hold poses for six breath cycles.
Find a Yoga Style – And Yoga Instructor – That’s Right For You
No style is better than another; it’s simply a matter of personal preference. More important than any style is the student-teacher relationship. As the lead yoga instructor at Green Mountain, my goal is to ensure that the women who attend our yoga classes leave feeling better than when they came in – both physically and mentally.
The key to a successful yoga practice is also about where your mind goes. Being present in the moment is more important than if you can touch your toes. The good news is that cultivating a yoga practice takes very little equipment: all it requires is your body, your breath, and your mind.
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