In my post last week, we looked at the benefits of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, and Flow or Power Yoga. As you may have gathered, each yoga style has its own benefits for the body, mind, and soul. Today, let’s explore the benefits of Restorative or Therapeutic, Kundalini, and Hot yoga.
5. Restorative or Therapeutic Yoga
Restorative yoga is a little different from Yin yoga, as there is some dynamic movement added into the sequences, along with more props. You will find a nice mix of movement and static postures in this style of practice.
This form of yoga also focuses on holding postures that are not necessarily for stretching or strengthening, but rather for activating the ‘rest and digest’ nervous response in the body—which is one of the elements that makes this practice so healing.
Benefits: This practice is going to help you heal from injuries, help you really get to know your body, help you tap into your ‘rest and digest’ state, which will encourage deep healing on all levels of your physicality, and will teach you proper alignment in asana.
Is Therapeutic yoga for me? This yoga is for you if you are injured, dealing with any kind of illness—even mental illness, or if you want a good balance between movement and stillness in your practice. This practice is one of the more profoundly healing ones if you give it a chance.
6. Warm or Hot Yoga
Yoga done in a heated room is called ‘Warm’ or ‘Hot’ yoga.
There are two main types of hot yoga, the set sequence designed by Bikram Choudhury, which is the same class every time, no matter where in the world you take it, and then there is the ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ yoga which is generally your typical Flow or Hatha practice simply done in a room that is heated.
Both styles have their benefits and their disadvantages. The most important thing I have to say about warm yoga is to pay very close attention to your physical limits in stretching or opening postures when practicing in a heated room.
When you are artificially raising the temperature of your body, you not only open up space in your muscles that may not otherwise be there, you also open up space in your ligaments and tendons.
You may find that you feel you are able to go much deeper into your stretches in a warm room—and the temptation to reach for a greater and greater stretch is there.
But know that when you are warm like this, you may be stretching your ligaments and tendons, rather than your muscles—which can lead to injuries that take a long time to heal. Be sure you know your limits before taking a Hot yoga class.
Benefits: You will be sweating quite a bit more in Hot yoga, which can be very beneficial for the lymphatic system, for your skin, for toxin removal, and so on. These classes help you get into poses you otherwise find very difficult due to the added heat, which helps encourage the body to open.
Is Hot yoga for me? Hot yoga is for practitioners who know their bodies very well, who want to get a very deep sweat as they practice yoga. It is also great if you are fighting any sort of infection (given that you do not push yourself too hard) as the sweating can be very therapeutic and healing.
7. Kundalini Yoga
Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to the West, and it is a very unique style of yoga. The purpose and focus of this yoga is to unlock energy blocks within the subtle body, which will then help lead the practitioner towards a greater freedom both in their bodies, as well as in their minds and spirits.
This is a very spiritually based practice. This practice is built upon different “kriyas” that all have different functions and purposes ranging from helping to release sore back muscles to helping awaken the practitioner to the light of their true being.
Benefits: This style of yoga is amazing for creating focus and clarity of mind. It is designed to help bring freedom to the practitioners, meaning it addresses the physical, mental, and emotional planes of each individual equally in all classes.
Is Kundalini yoga for me? This practice is for anyone who is looking for the spiritual aspects of yoga to be emphasized, for anyone who wishes to develop endurance in their bodies, and for anyone who is looking for deep clarity of mind.
Hopefully this article has inspired you to either check out a new style of yoga, or has left you feeling like the style you are practicing is totally right for you.
If you have not started your own personal practice yet, I hope this article helps you narrow down your search for which yoga style to do. Are you going to do a little yoga exploration after reading this article? Have I helped you figure out what style you think is going to be right for you? If so, let me know!