Yoga dates back as far ancient Indian times around the 5th or 6th BCE. It is now more popular than ever and there are so many different types available that it can be very difficult to make a decision on which one is the right one for you. Yoga is a very powerful exercise regime to have to your arsenal. When you work shift, yoga can help so much to relax you and stretch out your body after a long week. I attend Ashtanga yoga on a weekly basis every Monday, whether I am working days or nights. I might go on a Monday at 8pm and then go straight into work for a 12 hour shift. I definitely feel great that evening going into work.
Although during the Savasna (at the end of practice this is where you relax for about 10-15 minutes) I feel like that is where I want to stay for the night!!! I also practice it at home during the week.
So I wanted to write a little blog post (not as a yoga expert, not by any means, but as someone who has tried various types and has a fair idea of they consist of). First let me list off as many of the main types as I can think of right now:
- Goat (This is set to become a thing… I might set a little goat-yoga sanctuary up myself!!!!)
There are more types… I generally list off these main ones. Of the ten above I have tried, 7. Not too bad, but the ones that I am sticking with in the long term would be Vinyasa and Ashtanga. I actually went and tried Bikram just to write this blogpost, I had heard so much about it (never really heard any good things about it!)
My very first yoga experience was Iyengar yoga. I was so keen to try yoga, I looked up on the internet to see what was close by in my local area and I found there is actually quite a lot of teachers out there and I had a great selection to choose from. It was a mid-morning class on a Monday so I was the only person there who wasn’t at retirement age! I think that made me feel more relaxed. I ended up with a fabulous teacher who made me feel very welcome from the get go. Iyengar is about working yourself into pose, and staying in it and experiencing what you can do with your body to try and master correct alignment of the poses. There are a lot of props used from yoga blocks/straps/blankets/chairs… I really enjoyed the diversity of each class and the teacher I had, had a great sense of humour, we laughed a lot. This type of yoga will not have you jumping and leaping around into downward and upward facing dog, so this is for you if you want a more relaxed and slow paced yoga class that still offers you challenges.
That might be a picture of me a little worse for wear (I had a few pints!) in Budapest attempting a full wheel but hey, all in the name of yoga!!!!
This is a very popular type of yoga that I feel anyone with even a reasonable level of fitness can try straight away. There is a lovely flow about it. I hop in and out of various classes when the time suits. Every class is different and with all the variations on poses you can really see how much progression you have made over the course of the classes. The classes are dynamic and generally practised to music with a teacher that really guides you through every pose. There are plenty of classes available in the Limerick area with classes at the Milk Market on Sundays, The Strand Hotel on Wednesdays and Core Vinyasa classes in UL sports arena. All the information is found online.
Ashtanga yoga is the one that I tend to practice the most either with my teacher (The fabulous Christine McNally, Facebook: Ashtanga Yoga Limerick) or on my own at home (having practiced lead by Christine). I like the systematic approach that is has, I like structure and being able to follow a set sequence of poses. There is an opening and closing mantra said aloud in sanskrit at the beginning and ending of each class. These are actually available on Spotify and I am getting to learn them. This yoga gets you fired up as you start with Sun Salutations followed by standing, seated and finishing sequences. I like that each movement is linked to the breathe and looking at focal points such as the tip of your nose, you are very aware of yourself and yet so immersed in the poses that your mind tends to drift away from the stresses that may be going on in your head before you start the class. These classes can be lead by a teacher or there is a version that you do by yourself under the supervision of a teacher called ‘Mysore’.
This is a little yoga shrine that I have in my room. It has the sequences of poses and the opening mantra for Ashtanga yoga.
One thing I can say for yoga is that, you can only feel better after getting off your mat, having a bad day? Try yoga! My class from Limerick are all heading off to Morocco in February for a week of yoga and relaxation, I can’t wait (There will definitely be a few blog posts about that!).
So, I had never tried Bikram, when I do it’ll need it’s own blog post.
I was fortunate enough to go to a day long yoga workshop all in the aid of charity where I got to try 3 types of yoga, 2 which were totally alien to me, Yin Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
Walking down Santa Monica Pier in Las Angeles, California, I popped a squat outside this house with a Buddha Statue…..(Full Lotus Envy 101)
Yin Yoga (Also taught in Limerick by my Ashtanga teacher Christine McNally) is a more slow paced style of yoga as the poses are held for a long period of time anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Yin is often described as opposite and complementary falling in with its partner yang. Yin is generally seen as; stable, immobile, passive, cold and feminine. Yin is usually practised when the body is cool. When I tried it, I found it very relaxing as you get to try to find the deepest form of the pose for you and hang out in it for a while. It is great for reflection. Great to try if looking for peace and harmony in the body. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
This to me, was the most bizzare. There was a little mention of psychedelic drug taking and the like…pure flower power! I felt a little bit uncomfortable during the practice as there was a lot of swaying from side to side, smiling, arm flailing and chanting in a room full of people that I didn’t know. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was definitely fun but in the long run I don’t think it was for me. I can imagine the benefits, this would be great for promoting self-love and openness within one self. Trying this is totally up to you!
This is the relaxation section that experienced at the end of each yoga practice. My teacher says that we work to get to that point. It gives you a chance to switch off and wind down and go out and face the world with a more calm perspective. The lights are switched off, you can wrap up in blankets and fluffy sock and just chill out. Allow yourself to have at least 10-15 minutes in this setting.
I hope this helps you to decide what type of yoga you are going to try. Whether male or female go and give it a try. Yoga has so many benefits not just for the body but for the mind too. The beautiful thing is there are resources everywhere so you can practice as easily as in your own sitting room, garden or bedroom. It’s one ‘exercise’ class I don’t dread attending.
Remember; You will never feel worse than you did before you got on that mat.
Some good music to have on in the background if you are practising Vinyasa yoga at home is Chamdra Namaskara. I wish I had more photos for the blog but I don’t have anyone around to take snaps of me when I am standing on my head!
Any questions or need more information on classes just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org