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Find the Best Kind of Yoga for You

Find the Best Kind of Yoga for You

By Janet Manley

Candles, incense, gongs, headstands. These are all things people associate with yoga, but that don't necessarily have anything to do with it. Because there are a bazillion different kinds of yoga. Even yogis can't agree on what is and isn't "proper yoga." We basically lump anything in the bendy stretchy movements realm into the "yoga" category, including but not limited to: Doing a lunge after eating a burrito, typing at a computer on an imaginary chair, and picturing M&Ms in our heads while eating edamame. Yoga is good for anyone and everyone, and can make you: more toned, happier, more confident, less achy, less stressed, more well-rested, more energetic, and more shiny butted. But what kind of class should you try?

If you aren't sure what yoga is, or like to face-palm the furniture ...

... try Hatha yoga. If you have never taken a class, you can learn a lot of the most common moves (child's pose, shavasana, downward-facing dog, upward-facing dog, the warrior poses, tree pose, hungry-belly-rub pose) at a slow, relaxed pace. And if you ever get tired, you can just drop into child's pose, with your forehead on the floor, and knees tucked under you—perfect for after every failed attempt at flirting.

Intensity: Mushy Ed Sheeran feelings.

If you love dance or have a short-term memory have a short-term memory ...

... try Vinyasa yoga. Sometimes called "flow" classes, Vinyasa focuses on a repeated cycle of movements (like the sun salutation or dating) performed in time with the breath, quite quickly, and will work your whole body and get your heart rate up. The pros are that if you forget what you're doing, you can always just hang out in downward-facing dog until everyone else catches up, casually whispering to your neighbor, "Fancy seeing you here ;)"

Intensity:

If you are interested in lots of different sports and/or building forts ...

... try Iyengar yoga. This type of yoga uses straps, blocks and cushions to help you strengthen/stretch specific areas of the body, and achieve better alignment. If you are a runner, for example, you can work on releasing tight hips and hamstrings. Or you can pile up the yoga blocks into a yogloo (yoga igloo, COINED!)

Intensity: Carrie Underwood (one moment you're keying a car, the next you're singing in a swing)

If you are interested in the body/mind connection and/or a sorcerer ...

... try Kundalini yoga. This yoga practice focuses on the energy "chakras" that (theoretically) run through the body, directing energy to awakening the coiled up serpent that lives at the bottom of your spine. You know, like in basketball. A Kundalini class requires a lot of concentration and is best suited to people who have been practicing yoga for a few years or more.

Intensity: There are snake chakras on this plane!

If you are competitive and/or a camel ...

...try Bikram yoga. Bikram is performed in a heated room of about 104 degrees (so, stomach temperature), and consists of a series of set poses that will make you pour sweat like a middle-aged man. If you're already fit, you should be able to handle the heat—the brains trust is divided on the cutoff age for class participants, but you should talk with your doctor about what is appropriate. This yoga practice is perfect for people who enjoy swimming but like to be able to touch the floor/never put their head under the water.

Intensity: VMAs

Do you practice yoga? What classes do you like?

Topics: Life, The SparkNote to You
Tags: exercise, stress, classes, yoga, fitness

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About the Author
Janet Manley

Janet is the offspring of a mid-sized kangaroo and a stately gum tree. She grew up under a hole in the ozone layer, which probably means she can survive in outer space. She tweets @janetmanley

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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