If you’ve tried a typical Westernized yoga class such as Hatha, Iyengar or Power Yoga and determined it isn’t for you, you might be missing out on the centuries-proven benefits a yoga practice provides. Don’t give up just yet. There are many different forms of yoga, some that barely resemble most people’s concept of yoga, but without trying them, you’d never know what you are missing.
With so many styles, there’s bound to be one that will suit your lifestyle, energy level, and body type. You might just discover you actually love yoga and can’t stand a day without it. Here are three types of yoga you may never have heard of but that might just be the ticket for you to discover and benefit from the true meaning of yoga. They may become your new daily practice or be used in tandem with your other workouts.
Kundalini Yoga emphasizes the breath and development of the kundalini, or root chakra flow of energy up the spine. It helps strengthen the nervous system and supports the practitioner to manage the mind and emotions in constructive ways. The kriyas, or movement sets, are integrated with mudras, mantras, and meditations. So if you find yourself bored with endless sun salutations, kundalini yoga will open up a whole new world. It can be very challenging as it asks one to push through self-imposed limitations of the mind, but it encourages balance through a respect of the limitations of the body.
If you like taking things easy, Restorative Yoga may be for you. The emphasis here is on holding poses such as twists and forward bends using props such as bolsters, pillows, or blankets to support the body in the stretch. It’s a very healing and deeply relaxing practice. It makes an excellent complement to other types of more vigorous workouts and gives the muscles a chance to unwind, unkink, and let go.
Developed by Paul Grilley, Yin Yoga puts its emphasis on stretches that target the fascia, joints, and connective tissues of the body including tendons and ligaments. The poses are generally held for one to five minutes or even longer, so it can be challenging as you deepen into the stretch, but such penetration encourages the letting go of rock-hard holding patterns. It can greatly improve one’s flexibility, supporting the body to realign, and also helps the circulation.
Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried a class or two that haven’t been enjoyable. Yoga may indeed be for everyone, but no one style of yoga is. With a little experimentation and the spirit of adventure, you can find a style just right for you.