In continuation of my previous post (give it a read so that we’re on the same page! :D) on my first experience with yoga, this post will be about how my view of yoga has changed after some more classes.
I think it would be best for me to mention the different types of yoga that I’ve done over the past week or so.
Flow Yoga or Vinyasa Yoga
I began with a class of flow yoga, which, to my limited understanding (at the moment) is a yoga discipline which aims at moving constantly from one pose to the next. Its correct name is Vinyasa Yoga which refers to the “alignment of movement and breath”, which is a method which turns static yoga postures into a dynamic movement; flow.
This is quite a physically demanding style I think, as I found certain parts of my body trembling at the mercy of the instructors. As with all the yoga “styles” that I’ve tried there is a mental serenity you reach at some point during every class. Frequently I’ve found myself without thought where the only thing I’m “thinking” about is what my body is doing. I’ve found that with flow yoga there is little to no rest period between each posture, and so your body’s areas of weakness are magnified. Personally this is something that I welcome as it highlights where you need work and also makes you realise just how physically demanding yoga can be.
Something I enjoy in particular about flow is that there is a real sense of progress as you tie one posture into the next until you are repeating a fluid yet highly controlled sequence of movements which you begin to understand better and better the more you practice.
Perhaps the most fashionable yoga in the world today, Bikram yoga is a yoga “system” developed by Bikram Choudhury which incorporates 26 hatha yoga postures performed in a hot room. Typically temperatures are of 105 degrees fahrenheit and up (40 degrees celcius), which I’ll have you know is pretty tough. If you have wondered what it would feel like to sweat out of every pore in your body then I urge you to take a Bikram yoga class. I was pretty fascinated at just how much fluid was being purged from my body, and equally amazed at how little water I felt I needed to drink during the class. After the class however I rehydrated quite aggressively, haha.
A little more about Bikram
Bikram Choudhury began learning yoga at a very young age. And by young, I mean barely able to walk; 3 years old.
I don’t know about you but at 3 years old I don’t think I could run very well, never mind have the dexterity to control any yoga posture. Bikram’s studies continued and in his teens he had won the National Yoga Championship three times consecutively.
Perhaps the biggest “pull” of Bikram yoga is its claimed healing benefits. Bikram himself suffered a crippling injury during a weightlifting exercise which doctors told him would mean he’d never walk again. He claims that through yoga he recovered completely in 6 months. Bikram yoga is performed in a hot room because it more closely simulates the climates found in India.
He moved to the United States in the 1970’s and setup yoga studios in California and Hawaii. He began training students and ultimately was awarded a copyright for the 26 poses which constitute Bikram yoga. The theory for this copyright is same as that which allows choreographic sequences to be copyrighted.
Should you try yoga?
I think that one of the greatest things about yoga is that it can be performed by anyone. The object is never to push beyond one’s limits, so there is a challenge for everyone no matter their physical strength or agility. I’ve found that in the short time I’ve been practising yoga I have become more flexible and there is a definite change in the strength of my core muscles. Small increases and changes, but progressive and understandable. It is easy to see how people become addicted to yoga, and how the progression of your development in the sport is a linear one where improvements in technique, strength and overall experience can be measured monthly, if not weekly.
So give it a shot!