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Which type of yoga is right for you?

September 30, 2016 - TCO

Which type of yoga is right for you?

Yoga is a popular discipline widely practiced by men and women of all ages as an activity to promote overall health and well-being. There is no single form of yoga, but rather several varieties, all of which provide different, unique experiences and benefits.

For some, yoga is an entry into an exercise routine. For others, yoga provides much-needed stress relief and deep relaxation. Some find yoga to be the perfect complement to their intense athletic training routine, and still others use yoga as a way to rehabilitate from injury.

In order to find the type of yoga that’s right for you, start by identifying what you’re hoping to get out of the experience..

Relax, reduce stress and improve flexibility

For beginners, or those who want a gentle, calming experience, then Hatha yoga is a great option. It’s not about working up a big sweat; it’s about reducing stress and improving overall health. All ages and ability levels are welcome.

Hatha is the general term to describe a variety of yoga styles, all of which center around physical postures, or “poses.” The names of common poses during a class of Hatha yoga include downward dog, child’s pose, mountain and chaturanga. Participants work into a pose, hold it, work out of it and repeat the process. The primary focus is balancing the body’s energy while stretching and ultimately relaxing tight muscles.

Similar to traditional Hatha, restorative yoga and yin yoga are excellent for people seeking a gentle experience. Restorative yoga is a great option for anyone seeking deep relaxation and rejuvenation. After a gentle warm-up, participants will move into poses supported by blankets, blocks, bolsters and straps to minimize or eliminate physical strain while still experiencing the positive effects of the pose. Restorative-yoga teachers focus on deep-breathing techniques, addressing emotional stresses and light stretching.

Yin yoga, meanwhile, is a slower, passive form of yoga in which participants hold poses for up to five minutes at a time, stretching not just primary muscles but also strengthening connective tissues around muscles and joints. The benefits include pain and stress reduction without risk of joint strain or inflammation.

TCO Fitness at our Maple Grove location offers a TCO Back to Basics class. It is free to the public, and sign-up is online. Classes focus on lower-body and core strengthening, along with balance and flexibility. This class is perfect for anyone looking for a low-impact standing-exercise routine in a group setting.

Stay fit and burn calories

There are many popular types of yoga which provide a good workout without needing to be an expert. Vinyasa and Bikram are two of the most common, popular types of yoga for active, healthy people of all ages. Vinyasa yoga, like hatha, is a general term to describe a variety of different styles, all of which include fast-paced movement between poses, synchronized with breathing techniques. Breathe in during upward movements and poses, and breathe out during downward movement. Movement is constant, and transitions are fluid and smooth.

One popular variety of Vinyasa is faster-paced “power yoga.” TCO Yoga Flow classes are an introduction to power yoga, designed to build strength, increase flexibility, and calm the mind. TCO Fitness classes are free to the public, and class sign-up is online.

Bikram yoga, named after founder Bikram Choudhury, is a form of hot yoga performed in a sweltering environment of 105 degrees or higher, with 40 percent humidity. Bikram classes feature a specific, 26-pose sequence, while other hot yoga classes deviate from the specific 26 poses. The heat and humidity leads to intense sweating and deep stretches.

We caution anyone considering hot yoga to be careful and to ensure they are well-hydrated, healthy and physically fit before attending any of these classes, as sweat loss and unfamiliar temperature conditions can cause rapid dehydration and other problems.

Build strength, gain a competitive edge

There’s even yoga for serious athletes and people looking to build strength and get in phenomenal shape. Ashtanga, as well as many power yoga classes, are excellent workouts. Not recommended for beginners, Ashtanga classes feature a vigorous series of poses and movements that increase in difficulty as the class progresses. Flowing from one pose to the next without stopping is great cardio, and the varying poses work muscles in pretty much every part of the body. It’s a true full-body challenge.

TCO Fitness offers two different types of yoga classes for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, which are excellent for building strength and endurance: TCO Body Burn and TCO Sculpt & Stretch. Both are free to the public, and sign-up is online.

TCO Body Burn uses body weight and resistance-band training to strengthen and tone from head-to-toe. With small bursts of cardio throughout, it will leave you feeling energized and strong.

TCO Sculpt & Stretch targets large and small muscle groups while focusing on core strength and balance. A ballet barre is used throughout the class to provide exercises for improved flexibility, stability and muscular endurance.

Injury prevention and recovery

Yoga can be a great activity for anyone who has been injured in the past or is currently rehabilitating from surgery. Iyengar yoga is popular among people with lingering or recent injuries, as it forces participants to focus on using proper form. Instructors are precise in their supervision, ensuring every pose is done correctly, which helps prevent aggravation or further injury.

Like many easy Hatha classes, Iyengar classes may include props and supports to help everyone perform poses correctly and learn what “the right way” feels like in a safe, educational manner. Many pregnant women find this type of yoga class to be especially beneficial, as they can perform precise postures and poses without worrying about adapting their poses.

Our TCO Back to Basics class, which is free to the public, is designed to be perfect for pre-op individuals or anyone who previously has undergone surgeries, including total knee and total hip replacements, or has experienced prior injuries. We are experts in treating injuries and can answer any questions you may have.

At Twin Cities Orthopedics, we want to help every patient stay active and enjoy happy, healthy lives. Yoga is a wonderful activity because there are varieties for people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you are an elite athlete or simply looking for a reason to start exercising regularly, there’s a yoga class designed with you in mind. Please consider trying a TCO Fitness class at our Maple Grove location, and as always please contact us if you have any questions. It’s why we’re here!