7 Different Yoga Variations and Their Benefits

Cobra pose. Source: Weight Loss Tips

Yoga is great for all aspects of health: Mind, body and soul, and there are countless yoga variations of the practice making it the perfect way to exercise for anyone. Whether you are very athletic or only exercise a few times per week, there are certainly a couple yoga variations that will work for you.

This is just one of the many beautiful things about yoga. Others being the proven health benefits that come with centering your mind, and body and allowing for proper circulation to help cleanse the body while promoting strength and flexibility all at the same time. While all forms of exercise can help combat stress, yoga has a unique way of allowing you to calm the mind while still getting in your daily workout.

If you’re new to yoga, or you want to learn more about the different styles of yoga I am here to share that with you. Here are some of the unique benefits of different yoga variations:

Ashtanga:

Perhaps one of the more well-known styles of yoga, you can find Ashtanga yoga classes at just about any yoga studio. This style of yoga offers six different pose sequences and is a more rapid moving yoga practice. If you’ve practiced yoga before, you are likely familiar with this style from the vinyasa which links the breath between each pose. This style of yoga is ideal for anyone who is looking for something a little more intense and wants to keep their yoga practice moving.

Vinyasa / Power:

This is a more active style of yoga that’s perfect for athletes. Vinyasa Power yoga adapts the traditional Ashtanga yoga practice to a faster paced practice. Instead of using the same poses each time, Vinyasa yoga uses different variations each class. In general, the practice stems from Ashtanga yoga with a little more flow and intensity. You will likely find these classes offered at your local yoga studio or gym. This style of yoga is great for getting your blood pumping, strengthening and toning the body, while working on your breath work.

Iyengar:

A perfect variation of yoga for those who are looking for something a little slower paced while still working your body. Iyengar yoga is all about aligning your body, and even if it doesn’t feel like you are working out during your practice, you will feel it the next day! This style of yoga offers blocks, straps, and harnesses to assist you with yoga positions and each sequence is very deliberate and pushes you to hold your body a certain way. This is an excellent practice to help strengthen the body.

Most common yoga poses. Source: Pin Interest

Bikram:

If you are looking to spice up your yoga practice, this may be the style for you. Bikram yoga is hot yoga where the heat can be as high as 105 degrees! In a Bikram class, you will go through 26 yoga poses and repeat them twice. These classes are generally pretty long, and they are excellent for detoxification, calming the mind, and strengthening the body. Many athletes rely on Bikram yoga to help promote flexibility as the intense heat in the room will help relax muscles and help ease you into each yoga position.

Hatha:

Here’s another commonly practiced yoga style. Hatha takes a more traditional approach where you will be introduced to basic yoga postures and yogic breathing. This is an excellent starting point for anyone who is just venturing out into the yoga world.

Restorative:

Restorative yoga is exactly as it sounds. It’s a practice to help restore your body and is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a slower pace or may be recovering from an injury. This style of yoga is all about relaxation, and not pushing your body. There will only be a couple of poses practiced in a restorative yoga session, and you will spend lots of time in each pose. Restorative yoga also offers different props such as blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows to help you relax even further. While this practice may have you feeling like you could take a nap, it’s best to stay awake to enjoy the ultimate relaxation benefits from a restorative yoga practice!

Prenatal:

The great thing about yoga is that there’s a practice for everyone, and this includes pregnant women. Prenatal yoga classes are focused on expecting women during all stages of pregnancy, and then even postpartum. Staying strong during pregnancy is a great way to help ease your body back into shape after birth, and combining the relaxation benefits of yoga with the physical benefits makes this the perfect workout for pregnant women.

Source: Medindia

There are yoga variations, and they all have something unique to offer. The great thing is that there is something for everybody. Keep in mind that if one style of yoga didn’t fit your athletic need, or was not your cup of tea, go out and try something else! Each class is going to offer something different, so find what you love and make a commitment to stick to the practice. With all the amazing health benefits yoga has to offer finding a practice you enjoy and sticking with it could reward your health in so many ways.

What is your favourite from these yoga variations?

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She is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Nutrition Writer. She believes in a non-traditional approach to achieving your health goals, and that everyone’s journey is different. There is no one size fits all. Some of Rebecca’s areas of interest include sports nutrition, weight loss, kidney health, food sensitivities, and digestive health to name a few.

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