Whats your yoga type?

The final countdown!

We’re on the final week of the YTT Course. Feels kind of surreal when I look back on how far all of us have come. All the wonderful people I have met from various backgrounds uniting as one for the love of yoga. I don’t think I’m going to miss waking up at 7 every weekend (Lol) but I’m going to miss the teachers, friends and energy/vibes we share!

So, what’s next after this? I’m still not sure – but Im certain my journey doesn’t stop here. For starters, maybe figure out what the various styles of yoga there is to pursue and work on. While almost all yoga styles use the same physical asanas, there is an emphasis for the various style and its chosen based on what appeals to the practitioner.

As we take on this yoga journey, we will eventually identify what type of yoga is for us or figure what our yoga personality is to understand which style suits us best. There is just so many to choose from!

Here’s a summary of some common ones (that i know):

Hatha
Style: Slower pace, Relaxing, meditative, restorative
Level: Beginner
Hatha yoga is the foundation for all yoga styles and refers to any practice that combines asana, pranayama, and meditation.

Vinyasa Flow
Style: Vigorous, Pretty active with a fast and continuous flow
Level: Various
Vinyasa incorporates a series of poses called sun salutations, in which each movement is matched to the breath.

These classes focus on breathwork and cultivates awareness when linking one movement to the next. These classes are good for those who want a workout but also want to explore some of the more traditional aspects of yoga, like pranayama and being present.

Ashtanga
Style: Fast-Paced, Intense, Flowing style
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
There are 3 “series” – Primary series, Intermediate series, and Advanced series
Each series performs poses in unvarying sequence until you and your instructor feel as though you are ready to move on to the next series. This practice is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. It can be great for the more seasoned practitioner, as it requires strength, endurance, and a commitment to practicing a few times a week.

Iyengar
Style: Balancing flexibility and strength through proper body alignment.
Level: Various
Studios where it’s taught typically have a lot of props — blankets, blocks, straps, etc. — to help people of all ages, flexibilities, and abilities find alignment that is perfect for their bodies.
The poses are generally held longer, but the support of props and attention to alignment make this a great practice for those overcoming injury.

Kundalini
Style: More spiritual practice, more chanting, meditation, and breathing
Level: Various
Kundalini is all about awakening your kundalini energy, or shakti, which is the primal energy thought to sit at the base of the spine.The emphasis in Kundalini is on the breath in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards through all the chakras.
All asana practices make use of controlling the breath, but in Kundalini the exploration of the effects of the breath on the postures is essential. Kundalini exercises are also called kriyas.

I think i like them all – oh no 🙂

Till next time!

Ahimsa – The Sanskrit word for “non-violence.”

The first Yama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra declares no harm to oneself or others, physically or mentally. It encourages us to live in a way that we cause no pain to the mind, body or spirit. In the purest form, ahimsa is the expression of the highest form of love — an unconditional love – in thought, word, and deed.

Practicing Ahimsa can be from various aspects. On the mat, it can be translated into a kind practice, being gentle with ourselves in an Asana, or meditating in a comfortable position. Off the mat, in our everyday lives, Ahimsa can be mastered by compassionate and conscious choices.

“Yoga gives you the chance to practice non-violence in your mind at the same time. While tuning into your body, simultaneously start to watch as your thoughts form. Cultivate your awareness of your own thoughts to find if there are hints of violence against yourself or others in your life. Awareness doesn’t mean reaction, though. You don’t need to push these thoughts away, just recognize them. Observe as they come into your consciousness, and then watch as they again leave.” — GAIA

For all kinds of yoga practitioners – both beginners and experienced, there is always some frustration when we don’t progress as quickly as we like in our physical practice. Keeping the Ahimsa thought throughout our yoga practice guides us to forego the negativity and accepting our body completely – no matter how strong or flexible we are at this moment.

Physical non-violence in this aspect means not pushing ourselves over the edge to the point of harm. Although it can be easy to get caught up in trying to perfect poses or push your body to build strength (I must admit that sometimes I push myself past obvious discomforts and unpleasant sensations just to prove something to myself) – that may not always be what your body needs.

While it’s true that yoga can be a great physical form of exercise, I learnt that respecting our boundaries and listening to our bodies allows the practice to become sustainable while allowing us to really learn about ourselves.When we let go of the expectations of what we ‘should’ be able to do, and stop scolding ourselves with harmful thoughts, our body responds by working with us, not against us.

In our everyday lives, Ahimsa practice reminds us to be loving and thoughtful. A simple place to start practicing ahimsa is to maintain a positive mindset – to just be mindful when the negativity takes over and redirecting that thought pattern. Like the saying below:

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.”

Finally, Practice self-love. Nourish yourself with little things that makes you feel content.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

Embracing the differences in our bodies

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ―Confucius

As a yoga practitioner, there is often a perception that I am able to twist and turn in every direction. People will frequently comment “Wow you must be very flexible if you do yoga!” or “OMG can you do a handstand?!” – and I follow with an awkward smile.

Throughout my Yoga journey, I have scuffled with that thought numerous times. I pressured myself to attain these postures and often found myself feeling disappointed when I am unable to accomplish them perfectly. It is only after some time and during my teachers training where I realized that no one’s perfect and we are all different in our own ways. Some of us will have strength and some of us will have flexibility – and both should be celebrated.

Although being able to move effortlessly into a headstand is still a dream for most of us – I am slowly accepting that I do not have a time frame to achieve a certain level of expertise in postures. Our bodies are all different and hence, the lengths and width of our arms and legs vary as well. A posture which may seem easy for some, may require props and adjustments for another. Some may take a month or 2 and others may take a year or so.

There are still times i feel defeated when my peers are able to do some poses at ease while i cant, i make it an active effort to remind myself its okay – i’ll get there, just don’t give up!

x

The Leap of Faith

Come try yoga with me” – were the words my mother said to me just about a decade ago; the moment I started this journey that has changed my life in many ways.

I started my practice with the intentions to lose weight. I grew up chubby and got sick of getting called names. It went well until i left home for Uni.

I eventually gotten a job that demanded a lot from me and my stress level shot to the top – causing me to be dull and unhappy. I  needed some change in my life.

I was then introduced to the fitness passes and thought of attending classes again –  I never stopped since. I was reminded again on why I enjoyed this so much back then and I knew I didn’t want to stop practicing anymore.

I always had this impression that you needed to be and ultra-yogi to start a course like this – and because I was never confident, it took me awhile to make this decision. With some encouragement from my mom and friends, I decided to take that leap of faith.

It has been 6 classes since, and although I whine like a baby after almost every class, I don’t regret a single moment I spent learning postures the right way and deepening my knowledge.

I cannot believe it has been almost a decade since the first time i step on my mat. It has been an intermittent journey from then till now – but im so happy I started again. Now, I cannot wait for what’s to come in this journey!