You probably already know that yoga can relieve stress and help improve your mental health. You may even have heard yoga can help you beat PMS. Or you could be tapping into yoga to help you sleep better, enhance your flexibility or just make you a more zen person overall. But let’s be real, not all yoga classes are for everyone, and even hardcore yogis get in ruts with their practice. So whether you’re new to yoga and looking to find a match made in downward dog heaven, or just looking to bust out of your go-to Tuesday 6pm Vinyasa class, here are the best options for these six common fitness personalities.
1. If you’re feeling super-stressed out all the time. You even have to pencil in “run to the ATM” on your schedule.
Try restorative yoga: This gentle yoga practice focuses on breath work and simple, healing poses. You may think you don’t have time to even take a yoga class in between work and your social life, but once you’re on the mat, watch as the pace of life slows down before your eyes and you become more in touch with your inner self.
2. If you’re big into weightlifting. You’re looking for a yoga experience that enhances your muscular strength, but still gives you a dose of zen.
Try TRX for Yoga: This hot, new yoga style is popping up at studios across the country, and you can also access videos online. Using the popular TRX bands, you can enhance your yoga postures and dive deeper into moves like Warrior II, or even use the bands to support you while you try poses you can’t typically hold, like a back bend or headstand.
3. If you’re hoping to break a sweat while you flow. You’re not just looking for calm; you’re craving a workout with your zen.
Try Vinyasa yoga: Katy Perry. Justin Timberlake. A Beach Boys throwback or two. Nope, you’re not at a summer barbecue (yet!). At a power yoga or Vinyasa class, you can often expect upbeat tunes, fun vibes and a seriously sweaty sesh. You’ll be doing a lot of chaturangas (the flow sequence) and downward dogs, as you focus on maintaining a steady breath, targeting various muscle groups like your core and glutes and feeding off the positive energy of your classmates.
4. If you’re pretty much doing it as a social thing. Your friend invited you to brunch Sunday, but suggests heading to a yoga class together first. Sound familiar?
Try Hatha yoga: If you’re totally new to yoga and basically just in it for the post-class fun with friends, you may be surprised to learn that Hatha yoga is your jam. Hatha refers to any kind of class that’s a mix of breathing and holding postures (yogis call them “asanas”) and are great introductory classes. You’ll focus on maintaining balance, enhancing your posture, reaching beyond your current flexibility and breath work — all the while getting an awesome taste of why your friends are #yogaeverydamnday groupies.
5. If you’re looking for a break from worrying. Did I send that email to my boss? Did I book the same flights as the rest of the gals going to the bachelorette party? Is my dentist appointment the same time I’m supposed to meet my old boss for coffee? You just need the worry cycle to stop for a while.
Try Bikram yoga: Spending 90 minutes in 105-degree heat, committing to the same sequence of 26 postures every time, is a magical experience for newbies and seasoned yogis alike. The heat will seriously force your brain to turn off, as you devote your energy and mental strength to holding each posture. P.S.: Post-workout coconut water never tasted so good.
6. If you’re sick of dinner-and-a-movie date nights with your boo. And maybe your fitness routine could use a recharge too.
Try partner yoga: More and more studios are offering partner yoga as a way to reconnect emotionally and physically with your sweetie. These classes tend to swap more difficult, acrobatic poses (don’t worry, you won’t be handstanding over your boo’s shoulders) for simple, streamlined postures focusing on alignment and deep stretching, where one person uses the other to anchor and intensify their pose.
7. If you’re a seasoned yogi looking to take your love for the practice to the next level.
Try a yoga retreat: Pack your bags and book a ticket for namaste-infused beaches, restorative hikes (yoga on a mountaintop? Don’t mind if we do) and even SUP yoga as you eagle pose and handstand your way to clarity. There’s a nearly endless array of options and countless price points (just check out BookYogaRetreats.com or google “yoga retreats [insert location here]”). Planning a bachelorette party and want to fit in a little flow sequence? There’s even Brides Love Yoga for that, where you can work with their team to customize packages and retreats (you had us at wishboat lighting).
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(Photo via Getty)