This form of yoga blends moderately challenging poses, or asanas, with core-opening exercises. This practice is beneficial to athletes who need to learn how to self-massage the deepest layers of their muscles. Many of these classes focus on the spine, hip flexors and low back. Svaroopa yoga is an excellent entry point for anyone interested in beginning a yoga practice or increasing flexibility.
Anusara is a form of Hatha yoga, one of the oldest derivatives of yoga itself. The literal translation of Anusara yoga is “following your heart.” In keeping with its name, Anusara yoga focuses on heart-opening poses. These can be especially beneficial for athletes who are continually experiencing shoulder and/or upper back soreness. Anusara applies a strict set of principles, called the Universal Principles of Alignment, to its sequences. These principles promote postural awareness and focus on breathing techniques.
This form of yoga was formed by B.K.S. lyengar more than 50 years ago. Iyengar yoga is another type of yoga that is inviting for beginners as it offers varying levels of participation. Iyengar classes typically employ props, such as belts, blocks, exercise balls and blankets. These props are helpful for beginners and moderates alike in keeping the alignment of the postures correct and true to form. This practice is beneficial to all athletes, as there are many leg-strengthening standing poses and movements that challenge balance, control and coordination.
Vinyasa yoga, sometimes called Flow, is usually reserved for those who have practiced yoga before, as it is moderately difficult in terms of pose memory and flexibility. Generally, Vinyasa classes move quickly and have an aerobic element to them. The series of poses shift with the teacher’s whim and connect in a sequence, hence the flowing nomenclature. Vinyasa is an excellent class for the more experienced yogi athlete who would like to build lean muscle mass, core strength and awareness of breath.
Ashtanga requires a lot of discipline and focus, as well as strength. The poses are performed in sequence, like Vinyasa, but are done more quickly and strictly repeated. These poses combine all the elements of yoga: breathing, balance, flexibility and awareness into a fast paced practice often done in a heated room, which adds to the intensity.
I believe yoga is a major component of my overall health. I perform yoga a minimum of 2 days per week. I usually practice the Vinyasa style of yoga. I am stronger, more flexible, leaner and less injury prone because of yoga!