Health & Fitness

By Debi Darnell

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Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene @awaketomysoul

Yoga is one of the biggest buzzwords in health and fitness and has been on everyone’s radar for many years. It shows no signs of slowing down, and with good reason, yoga is for everyone. It’s appropriate for all ages, all levels of fitness, can be done anytime, anywhere, and requires no pricey or large equipment.

If you’ve wanted to give yoga a try, but are a little intimidated by all the types of yoga out there, and don’t know which one to choose, here’s some help. Remember, it really doesn’t matter what your level of fitness is when you start. I promise, you will build strength and flexibility. Yoga offers many different styles, from super gentle to physically challenging to spiritual. So yes, you can find a style that suits you – yes even you, person-who-can’t-even-touch-their-toes!

Yoga should feel good. As a beginner, don’t worry about being inexperienced, you will grow. Every yogi is different and when you first step into a class there will be awkward moments. Suddenly you don’t know where to put your hands and you feel as though you’re playing a bizarre game of twister without the helpful red, blue and yellow dots. Don’t worry; every yogi before you has been there. Every time you go to a yoga class you are learning new ways to move. Allow yourself to get out of your head and practice the poses in ways that feel good. Don’t push yourself into poses, practice the poses. Relax.

Daniella Cippitelli, Breadth Within Gallery, Roslyn NY

Yoga comes in many different styles. Yoga differs from style to style. Some are athletic, others are gentle. Some focus on stretching, while some focus heavily on tradition and philosophy. All styles provide benefits such as: a better mind-body connection, stress relief, strength and flexibility conditioning, and better overall health. How do you choose? That depends on what you personally want to get from your yoga class.

If you are looking for a class that can substitute for your workout:

Hatha Yoga is known for being the jumping off style for many other styles of yoga. The word Hatha translates to “willful” and “forceful” meaning that styles from this tradition will use a series of poses to challenge the body physically and intentionally. Popular styles of Hatha Yoga include: Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Jivamukti.

Vinyasa, is a flowing, dance-like practice usually done at a steady “one breath, one movement” pace. Recommended for a yogi who likes to be challenged and who expects each class to be different.

Ashtanga yoga is based on learning poses in a specific sequence. Starting with the Primary Series, you continue to practice the same sequences, advancing only after you master the previous series. Recommended for a yogi who enjoys a challenge through repetition.

Iyengar, is a strict, alignment based style. Expect to use props such as blocks, blankets, and straps to help you achieve the correct alignment. Recommended for the yogi who likes to follow the rules.

If you are looking for a physically challenging practice that leads with spirituality and a deep focus on yoga ethics, Jivamukti yoga is where you should begin. Recommended for the yogi who is looking for a deeper spiritual connection.

Many of these yoga styles are taught in a heated room. I recommend seeking out a non-heated option for your first few classes. This way your focus will be on learning the poses and not on how sweaty you are. Most studios offer heated and non-heated options.

Daniella Cippitelli, Breadth Within Gallery, Roslyn NY

If you are looking for a gentle class:

Yin yoga uses passive poses that are held between 3-10 minutes. Yin yoga puts a moderate amount of stress on the connective tissue and ligaments to encourage the tissue to stretch and strengthen. Recommended as a compliment to other fitness modalities, as well as a way to combat the negative effects of too much sitting.

Restorative yoga classes are designed to guide you into relaxation. A class will be based on five or six poses and you will use blankets or bolsters (big yoga pillows) to achieve a comfortable position that allows you to fully relax. Recommended for the yogi who needs stress relief.

Kundalini yoga combines spiritual practice with breath-work and movement to raise your consciousness. Chanting, mantras, meditation, and chakra alignment work are all part of a Kundalini class experience. Recommended for the yogi who is interested in the mystical workings of yoga and energy movement.

Daniella Cippitelli, Breadth Within Gallery, Roslyn NY

Yoga is for everyone. Everyone can benefit from incorporating some yoga into their lives. The best way to start is to browse through the different styles and notice which one jumps out to you.

When you’ve decided to try one, commit to attending a minimum of ten classes before you decide if it’s right for you. Attend classes with different teachers until you find the ones that resonate with you most. After ten classes, if the style doesn’t suit you, try a different style. It may take a little time to find the practice that works best for you, but it’s worth the effort. Remember, the best way to begin is simply to begin.
Namaste.

Debi Darnell is a registered yoga teacher, NYStrength Master of Fitness Design, and a Mind-Body-Style consultant. She combines her background in fitness training and yoga with her love of style to create healthy programs for individuals looking for lifetime wellness. Understanding the impact of personal style upon our life choices adds to the power of her programs. To read more visit: debidarnell.com.

Originally published April 2017

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3 Responses to “Find the Best Yoga Workout for Your Body Type”

Staci Boyer Says:

Restorative Yoga here I come! That’s had my name all over it! Very informative Debi!


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Elizabeth Moulinie Says:

Absolutely inspired by this article to have fun with yoga!

Thank you Debi!!!


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Daniella Says:

Great article for anyone looking to get started with Yoga! Even those of us who have practiced Yoga before don’t always know the difference in styles. Thanks Debi!


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