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Find Your Om

April 21, 2009

Too much moving and not enough (or no) stretching have left your muscles more tightly wound than Bridezilla on her wedding day.

Time to loosen up and find some balance by checking out a yoga class.  And because not all posers are the same, here’s a quick and dirty overview on the different types of yoga.

Ashtanga (Power) – Athletic, intense and fast paced yoga that consists of a set series of poses (six series in total).  Always performed in the same sequence, each series is progressively harder. (www.ashtanga.com).  Power yoga is inspired by Ashtanga, with its dynamic pace but sequences may vary.

Bikram – Get ready to sweat in 100-degree heat while moving through a set series of 26 poses. No room for modesty here, as most participants are scantily clad. (www.bikramyoga.com)

Hatha – Technically, refers to the physical poses of yoga and can encompass many styles of yoga.  However in common practice, hatha classes are likely to be gentle and mellow. Perfect for newbie yoginis.

Iyengar – Poses are held for longer periods of time with the focus on precise body alignment to realize maximum benefits while reducing injury.  Props including straps, blocks, and blankets are used to help assume perfect positioning. (www.bksiyengar.com)

Jivamukti – Inspired by Ashtanga but includes additional dimensions of meditation, chanting and spiritual teachings. In addition to being an intense physical workout, participants also learn how to apply yoga philosophy to everyday living. (www.jivamuktiyoga.com)

Kundalini - Meditation, chanting, breath control and posing are combined to stimulate the Kundalini energy in your spine. This practice is focused on channeling the energy located in your lower body upwards and through your chakras.

Vinyasa - Fast-paced, vigorous and graceful, this practice focuses on linking the breath with flowing poses.