Yoga 101: Everything You Need to Know If You Want to Destress With Yoga

A woman doing yoga

Yoga is an amazing workout that combines physical and mental exercises. It improves flexibility, muscle strength and respiratory health, and aids in weight loss. But for the newbies, seeing all the splits, twists, balancing, and hard-to-do-but-look-easy yoga postures, this workout seems an extreme one when in fact, it’s actually not because the beauty of yoga exercise is you don’t have to be a yogi to enjoy its benefits.

But before you get into the yoga exercise and try everything at Yoga with Adriene, it’s important to learn more about this stuff to find out which type of yoga postures suit you best to avoid injuries.

*Cover Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Types of Yoga for Everyone

If you want to get into this type of workout, here are the types of yoga you must know:

  1. Ashtanga yoga
  2. Bikram yoga (hot yoga)
  3. Hatha yoga
  4. Iyengar yoga
  5. Kripalu yoga
  6. Kundalini yoga
  7. Vinyasa yoga (power yoga)
  8. Sivananda
  9. Viniyoga
  10. Yin yoga
  11. Prenatal yoga
  12. Restorative yoga

What’s inside this blog?

History of Yoga

The yoga exercise originated in northern India and can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago. The first mention of the word “yoga” appears in a collection of ancient texts called Rig Veda. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “union” or “to join.”

In the late 1890s, Indian monks spread their knowledge in the West about the exercise including the now popular yoga postures. Then by the 1970s, modern yoga teachings became widely popular in Western countries and the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) became popular. This paved the road for Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT) to formally teach classes in their own yoga studio.

Health Benefits of Yoga

An asian doing yoga

Photo by Rawan Yasser on Unsplash

The great thing about this workout is that it doesn not just benefit your physical health but also your mental health. Some types of yoga help you strengthen your core while other types are about relaxation. Here are some of the health benefits of yoga that will convince you to try it already.

  1. Improves flexibility – Yoga postures or poses work by stretching your muscles. Therefore, it can help you move better and feel less stiff. 
  2. Strengthens muscles – Some styles of yoga such as power and ashtanga yoga require more physical movements. By practicing these types of yoga, you will improve muscle tone. Many of the yoga poses such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, also help in strengthening muscles because they build upper-body strength. 
  3. Decreases lower back pain – A 2017 analysis linked yoga practice with lower back pain relief and an improvement in back-related function according to Medical News Today.
  4. Improves posture – While yoga helps for weight loss, one of its most known benefits is improving your posture. Since this workout helps you become stronger and more flexible, your posture improves. Most standing and sitting yoga poses develop core strength, you’re more likely to sit and stand “tall.” 
  5. Pays attention to your breathing – Yoga isn’t typically aerobic, like running or cycling but it usually involves paying attention to your breath, which can help you relax. Especially when you apply specific breathing techniques during workouts.
  6. Reduces stress – With yoga, you may feel less stressed and more relaxed as some yoga styles use meditation techniques that help calm the mind. 
  7. Good for your heart – Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate, hence it’s good for the heart.

Philosophy of Yoga

Yoga is not just a simple workout as it has a philosophy to follow. Its overall philosophy is about connecting the mind, body, and spirit. 


Types of Yoga for Beginners and Pros

Kripalu yoga

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

1. Ashtanga yoga

What it’s like: Challenging
Perfect for: Intermediate to Advanced

This type of yoga practice uses ancient yoga teachings and a nonstop series of yoga poses. Ashtanga yoga also uses a special breathing technique that’s said to help focus your mind and control the flow of breath through your body.

2. Bikram yoga (hot yoga)

What it’s like: Challenging
Perfect for: Intermediate to Advanced

Also known as hot yoga, people who practice Bikram yoga do a sequence of 26 yoga poses and two breathing exercises in a very hot room with a temperature of above 100°Fahrenheit.

Before you try this, check with your doctor if you are fit for this “hot” style of yoga, and make sure to do this with an RYT.

3. Hatha yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners

Hatha yoga is the physical and mental branch that aims to prime the body and mind. Hatha classes usually serve as a gentle introduction to the basic yoga poses, hence a great yoga for beginners. You can check out Yoga with Adriene ‘s YouTube channel for various types of yoga you can try.

4. Iyengar yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners to Intermediate

Another great yoga for beginners is Iyengar yoga because it is slow-paced and detail-oriented. This type of yoga focuses on finding the correct alignment in each pose with the help of some props like blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters.

5. Kripalu yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners to Intermediate

If you’re feeling lazy to workout, Kripalu yoga might just be the one for you. It begins with breathing exercises and gentle stretches followed by slow movements that barely cause a sweat, and progresses through three levels of deeper mind-body awareness.

6. Kundalini yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners to Intermediate

Kundalini is a type of yoga that aims to release pent-up energy through meditation. The Kundalini yoga classes include meditation, breathing techniques, chanting, and yoga postures. It typically begins with chanting and ends with singing. In between, Kundalini yoga features asana, pranayama, and meditation that aim to create a specific outcome.

7. Vinyasa yoga (Power yoga)

What it’s like: Challenging
Perfect for: Advanced

Power yoga or vinyasa yoga is one of the most athletic types of yoga. Based on the sequence of Ashtanga yoga poses, vinyasa yoga builds upper-body strength and helps make you more flexible and balanced. 

8. Sivananda

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners

This yoga for beginners is easily adaptable to people of different physical abilities. Here you’ll do 12 basic asanas, which they precede with Sun Salutations and follow with Savasana. The Sivananda system uses a five point philosophy as its foundation: proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking.

9. Viniyoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners

If you want to focus on being flexible, body awareness, recovering from an injury, and relaxation, Viniyoga is ideal for you as it focuses on form over function, breath and adaptation, repetition and holding, and the art and science of sequencing.

10. Yin yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners

If you’re new to yoga, yin yoga can be a great option for you as it is slower and meditative. It targets deep tissues, ligaments, joints, bones, and fascia.

11. Prenatal yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Pregnant women

This type of yoga focuses on gentle stretching, poses, and breathing. It is a way for pregnant women to relax, stay fit, improve strength, get more flexible, and lower stress, anxiety, and the side effects of pregnancy like nausea, lower back pain, and shortness of breath.

12. Restorative yoga

What it’s like: Gentle
Perfect for: Beginners to Intermediate

If you want a more relaxing method of yoga, this is the one for you. In a restorative yoga class, you have to do four or five simple poses using props such as blankets and bolsters to sink into deep relaxation without exerting any effort when holding the pose.


Yoga Gear You Need

Unlike heavy workouts, you don’t really need much equipment to do yoga but you need a few accessories if you’re planning to get into this exercise and here are the must-haves:

  • Yoga mat
  • Yoga clothes that are comfortable
  • Yoga block
  • Yoga Strap

Risks and Side Effects of Yoga

Many types of yoga are relatively mild and therefore safe but it pays to take extra care whenever practicing this. While Yoga with Adriene is fun and free to watch, it’s also important that you take help from the experts or well-trained instructors like RYTs to teach you better and avoid injuries.

The most common injuries among people practicing yoga are sprains and strains. As for serious injuries, it may include complications with glaucoma, aggravation of high blood pressure, back injury, and muscle strain. 

To avoid these, consult with your doctor first before practicing yoga. And if you are new and you think a certain yoga posture is hard for you like the headstand, don’t force yourself to do it.


Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga

Q: What are the types of yoga?
A: Here are the different types of yoga to know of:

  1. Ashtanga yoga
  2. Bikram yoga (hot yoga)
  3. Hatha yoga
  4. Iyengar yoga
  5. Kripalu yoga
  6. Kundalini yoga
  7. Vinyasa yoga (power yoga)
  8. Sivananda
  9. Viniyoga
  10. Yin yoga
  11. Prenatal yoga
  12. Restorative yoga
  13. Yoga nidra

Q: What is the best yoga for beginners?
A: If you’re new to yoga, here are the best types that you can try:

  1. Hatha yoga
  2. Iyengar yoga
  3. Kripalu yoga
  4. Kundalini yoga
  5. Sivananda
  6. Viniyoga
  7. Yin yoga
  8. Restorative yoga

Q: What are the health benefits of doing yoga?
A: Yoga is a great exercise that anyone could do. Compared to other kinds of workout, yoga involves slower pace but with tons of health benefits. Among these are:

  1. Improves flexibility
  2. Strengthens muscles
  3. Decreases lower back pain
  4. Improves posture 
  5. Pays attention to your breathing
  6. Reduces stress 
  7. Good for your heart

Q: When is International Yoga Day?
A: International Yoga Day is on June 21.

Q: What is the meaning of YTT?
A: YTT means Yoga Teacher Training.

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