BEGINER'S GUIDE TO YOGA
Yoga is a practice that impacts you both physically and mentally. Physical yoga involves a mindful practice of flowing through different yoga poses, also known as asanas, while paying attention to your breath and how your body feels.
It is one of the top feel-good practices you should consider adopting into your daily routine. However, as a beginner, you may be confused about where to start and which yoga poses will be the perfect fit for you.
In this post, we’ll look at four different types of physical yogas and their benefits from Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa to help you identify which one would work best for you. Let’s dive in.
The word Hatha implies balance, within the body, between different forces, between the energy of the sun and the moon, between strength and flexibility, and between the body and mind. Hatha yoga concentrates on good posture and building core strength. Going for a yoga retreat would most likely expose you to this specific type of yoga since it became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise.
In Western culture, Hatha yoga is typically understood as an exercise using asanas (the physical postures) and it can be practised as such. In the Indian and Tibetan traditions, Hatha yoga integrates ideas of ethics, diet, cleansing, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and a system for the spiritual development of the yogi.
Hatha yoga encourages you to move slowly and deliberately through the asanas to help challenge your strength and flexibility. In this type of yoga, you’ll hold the postures for a few breaths before proceeding to the next.
There are so many postures to practice in Hatha yoga that will expose you to incredible benefits, including:
- Muscle and joint flexibility
- Stress reduction
- Improvement in core strength
- Enhanced mindfulness
- Improved sleep
Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga are similar, featuring movements through different rigorous yoga poses following your breath. The slight difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga is that the asanas in Ashtanga stay the same and are done in the same order. Your breath acts as the guide to when to change your posture.
In most wellness programs, this type of yoga is referred to as a flow class. This is because you’ll be flowing from one yoga posture to another, following your natural breath. Sun salutations are a great example of Vinyasa yoga.
Some great benefits of Vinyasa yoga include:
- Enhanced strength and endurance as you flow through different yoga postures
- Increased stability and balance
- Lower stress and anxiety
- Improved flexibility
- Enhanced cardiovascular activity, since it’s a great cardio workout
Therapeutic yoga refers to the application of techniques and practices to support people facing physical and mental health challenges. This style of yoga takes a whole-body or holistic approach that considers the overall health, physical, mental and emotional condition of an individual. It then adapts to and works with whatever limitations are present.
A set sequence of postures is practised with movement led by the breath. Therapeutic yoga can help develop mental focus and discipline along with building physical strength and stamina.
If you’re unwell, therapeutic yoga will offer the perfect collaborative healing solution including:
- Ease conditions such as allergies
- Decrease arthritis
- Improve digestive issues
- Support thyroid conditions
- Ease depression
- Relief headaches
- Resolve insomnia
Another form of low-impact exercise that is similar to yoga is Pilates. The difference between yoga and Pilates is that yoga can be used for improving the flexibility of the muscles, whereas Pilates focuses on relaxing muscles which are tense. At Kamalaya Koh Samui you can try Reformer Pilates which is highly effective in toning, lengthening and stretching the muscles in a low-impact routine with controlled and repetitive movements.
Reformer Pilates is done using the Pilates reformer machine and is generally more intense and more dynamic than mat-based Pilates as it adds resistance to the Pilates exercises via the use of the springs which form part of the machine.
Reformer Pilates is an excellent workout for the core or what’s also called the body’s powerhouse – the abs, lower back, hips, pelvic floor and glutes. Reformer exercises are designed to build up strength and muscle tone without bulking you up. Pilates movements will help you develop proper body mechanics for better posture and balance and be more flexible and energetic.
Like yoga, Pilates is also a mind-body exercise that helps coordinate the mind, body and spirit.
The unique benefits of Reformer Pilates include:
- Greater core strength
- Reduced risk of back injury
- Flexibility and balance
- Increased energy levels
- Better overall physique
Different types of yoga are available to you as a beginner in the yoga practice. Going with what feels comfortable to you and features some of the benefits you’re looking for is a great place to start.
Visiting a place like Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa will expose you to a sense of absolute peace and calm. And if you’re looking for a life-enhancing yoga retreat, join us in October 2022 for Yin & Yang Yoga Immersion with Simon Low to get the full yoga retreat experience in our serene environment.
In addition, you can also read about our all-year-round Personal Yoga Synergy wellness program.