The goal of yoga is to create harmony between the mind and body. Thislow-impact workout won’t just give you inner peace — it will also give you killer abs. After just a few classes, many people feel stronger, more flexible and toned, and less stressed. Yoga also improves your balance and posture, sharpens your concentration and makes you feel more centered. Still not sure that you’re ‘yogi’ material? Browse through our yoga tips to figure out which routine is best for you.
Yoga routines run the gamut from slow and gentle to fast and sweaty. To get the most out of your workout, choose the type of yoga that best matches your fitness level and your personality. Lots of beginners start with Hatha yoga, which teaches the basic poses at a relaxed pace. Iyengar yoga is a more precise practice that focuses on proper muscle alignment and involves holding poses for extended periods of time. If you prefer a fast-paced workout, Ashtanga, or power yoga, may be your best fit. This athletic routine moves quickly through a series of postures in a specific order. And Bikram, or hot yoga, is ideal if want to sweat. This 26-pose routine is practiced in a room that’s around 100° Fahrenheit.
You can find classes in all of these popular yoga styles at yoga studios (which often specialize in one type of yoga) and most gyms. Classes are typically 30 to 90 minutes long, and you can opt for a group or private lesson. Most yoga classes expect similar etiquette: no shoes or cell phone allowed. And experts advise that it’s best to practice yoga on an empty stomach.
If you would rather not do the downward dog in front of a bunch of strangers, you can create a challenging at-home workout with one of the many yoga DVDs, books or online tutorials available. The advantage of working out on your own is that you can move at your own pace. But the downside is that you don’t have an expert on hand to help you perfect each pose.
Regardless of where you work out, what you choose to wear is important. While you don’t need a trendy yoga outfit to master a sun salutation, you do want your clothes to be comfortable and unrestrictive. And, since you may find yourself is some tangled positions, be sure to wear an outfit that won’t make you self-conscious.
To create a well-rounded fitness plan, complimenting weekly yoga classes with cardio workouts is suggested. The muscles you build in yoga class will boost your cardio performance, and your cardio routine will up your endurance during yoga — translating to a fitter, more centered you.