Yoga for Beginners: Top Disciplines to Consider
For anyone interested in entering into the yoga space, choosing the proper style and school to fit your needs and mindset may get a tad confusing. Though the art of yoga in itself stems from century-old practices and belief systems, the contemporary take on the hobby has branched out into multiple disciplines. These different tangents, if you will, feature different mentalities, roots, positions and even goals in mind. Confused yet? Not to worry. As the saying goes, curiosity is the source of knowledge, and knowledge is the root of wisdom. Luckily, we’ve done some of the research to get you started in the pursuit of the best yoga discipline to fit your needs.
Here’s where it all began. Hatha originated in 15th century India. Naturally, as the baseline for many of the more nuanced schools we find today, Hatha covers the more basic poses, best suited for beginners. In short, Hatha is a slow-paced and gentle, with a heavy focus on breathing meditation. It’s the best yoga for beginners, introducing them to basic poses and relaxation techniques. Hatha is also known to relieve stress and provide substantial physical exercise to participants all while giving beginners a solid foundation for the practice.
Similar to Hatha, Vinyasa cover much of the basic poses and principles of Yoga. In this regard, Vinyasa functions as a direct offshoot on the parent Hatha discipline. The key difference, or emphasis rather, is Vinyasa’s focus on breath-synchronized movement. Specifically, encompasses the Sun Salutation
, a series of 12 poses where movement and breath function as one. Vinyasa helps improve strength and flexibility and, thanks to the emphasis on breath, tones the abdominal muscles and reduces the risk of heart complications later in life.
From here, Ashtanga begins to break into what has recently become known as power yoga. Metaphorically, this discipline focuses on eight limbs, and anyone interested in pursuing this school will find themselves in a faster and more intense environment with lunges and push-ups. Don’t let the power aspect fool you though. Ashtanga works to improve the spiritual self all while relieving stress, improving coordination and assisting in weight loss.
Building a bit further upon Ashtanga, the school of Iyengar covers the same eight limbs
and focus on body alignment. Here, you’ll find participants using props such as straps, blankets, and blocks to assist them in their strength training. Iyengar features more standing poses, often held for a long period of time. Yogis interested in Iyengar look to improve their balance, build up body strength and also recover from bodily injury.
Here’s where things really heat up. Also knows as hot yoga, Bikram is practiced in a room typically heated between 95-100 degrees. The heat, combined with a stricter routine of 26 poses, loosens the tight muscles and detoxing through heavy perspiration. Clearly, Bikram Yoga enhances flexibility and allows those who are injured to recover quickly, all while improving flexibility.
These are just a few of the many types of yoga available out there. And for those who are interested in breaking into the practice in a new and unique way, be sure to check out our Paddleboard Yoga tours!
There’s nothing like getting into your favorite yoga pose out on beautiful Mission Bay!