Most people associate yoga with stretching, but stretching is just one element of a yoga practice. Yoga incorporates flexibility, strength and meditation and promotes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance.
It’s versatile so it can be tailored to all ages, body types and activity levels. There are dozens of yoga styles offered in Nanaimo, whether you are inexperienced, seek a challenge or are somewhere in between.
The basic styles available are outlined below.
You are new to yoga and want to start slow. You seek a relaxing class with minimal challenge in a low-pressure setting.
Yoga for you: Hatha yoga
Why: The pace of a hatha yoga class is slow, typically beginning with gentle, rhythmic breathing and ending with students relaxing on their backs in savasana – or corpse pose. The postures and breathing techniques used help the body energize and warm itself in preparation for class.
You seek a deep stretch in a meditative setting.
Yoga for you: Yin yoga
Why: The purpose of yin yoga is to stretch the deep connective tissues in the body with a strong focus on the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Yin yoga is beneficial for students who sit for long periods in their daily life. Students are encouraged to adhere to the three tattvas, or fundamentals, of yin: depth, stillness and time.
You prefer high-intensity workouts. You want a challenge and expect to feel energized during and after class.
Yoga for you: Power yoga
Why: In power yoga students are led through a rigorous series of postures that are meant to build strength and flexibility. The postures gradually increase with difficulty and because there are no breaks, breath is used to link movements.
You seek an intermediate-level class with an element of meditation.
Yoga for you: Vinyasa yoga
Why: A vinyasa class is a flowing sequence. Though it is not as vigorous as power yoga, it is no less challenging. As in power yoga, there is a strong focus on linking breath to movement with no breaks between postures.
You prefer a vigorous workout. You want to sweat, strengthen, tone and detox.
Yoga for you: Hot yoga
Why: This vigorous style of yoga is practised in a heated room to soften the body, making it more flexible, and helping the body more easily rid itself of toxins.
You seek a therapeutic class and stress relief.
Yoga for you: Iyengar yoga
Why: Iyengar yoga classes use props (blankets, bolsters, belts, etc.) to aid students in the postures. The series can be quite rigorous and is meant to improve alignment, increase strength – particularly in the legs – and improve circulation, co-ordination and balance.
Interested in trying every style? Why not mix-and-match? Awaken body and mind in hatha; align breath with movement in vinyasa; energize and strengthen in power yoga and then stretch it out in yin; and sweat it out in hot yoga.
For every body type, fitness level and age there is a yoga style that you can slip into as comfortably as savasana.