Recently, the company I work for has started having one of my favorite instructors from Orlando Power Yoga come in to teach lunchtime yoga on Tuesdays. (We're spoiled, I know.) A few of the guys I work with were initially worried about how strenuous the practice was going to be, especially following a controversial anti-yoga article in the NY Times.
I, too, wasn't sure what type of yoga we'd be practicing in the office; to be honest, I haven't done much yoga outside of Orlando Power Yoga, where I have been practicing regularly for the last 2 1/2 years. Surely, the instructor would not lead us through ashtanga or vinyasa flow sequences in the office, with a group of such varying ability levels. Plus, nobody wants to go back to their desk sweaty!
Our practice, of course, turned out to be meditative and relaxing, or what is known as Hatha Yoga. In the middle of the week, it's a wonderful break to clear the mind, relax tense muscles, and reset intentions for the rest of the work-week.
Right now, we have about five people participating, out of 25 employees, but I am trying to work on that number. The experience of trying to recruit my co-workers to yoga has left me thinking about all the types of yoga that are out there, the different perceptions of it, and how to really explain the yoga spectrum.
I thought the easiest way might be to write a blog post! Here are teh yogaz, in order from least to most strenuous.
Slow-paced stretching and breathing exercises.
This is the type of yoga that we practice at the office.
Faster-paced sequences of postures, or asanas, intended to flow with breath, rather than pausing in between movements. The combination of vigor plus deep breathing raises body heat and allows you to move more deeply into poses. This style of yoga is also sometimes practiced in a heated room. (There are subtle differences between vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Power Yoga, but I won't go into those here.)
This is the type of yoga that I practice regularly.
From Wikipedia, "Bikram's classes run exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105°F (≈ 40.6°C) with a humidity of 40%, and is the most popular form of hot yoga (a series of yoga poses done in a heated room)."
I've never tried Bikram yoga because the rigidity of the classes sounds scary, but it's still something that's on my list of things to try. :)
So there you have it, ladies and gents! If you've never tried yoga, I encourage you to give it a shot sometime. You're never too old, too overweight, or too inflexible to start; the great thing about it is that it builds you up from wherever you are.
I leave you with this inspiring video of a man who regained his ability to walk through practicing yoga.