In the first part of this series, we looked at types of yoga that promote spiritual awareness. In this second installment, we’ll be covering the yoga styles often preferred by practitioners who want to focus on physical fitness. All yoga types can benefit the mind, body and spirit, but these particular yoga practices tend to have the biggest impact upon physical fitness by building strength, increasing flexibility, and developing cardiovascular fitness.
Ashtanga and Vinyasa
The traditional practice of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, as well as the many Vinyasa styles that arose from it, all emphasize combining breath with movement and concentration. The Sanskrit word ashtanga denotes “eight limbs,” referring to the eight practices outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. See our recent series The Yogi’s Guide to Public Health to review the eight limbs. The Ashtanga style of physical yoga practice flows from pose to pose, making it a vinyasa practice. Vinyasa translates to “breath-synchronized movement,” and the many physical yoga styles that evolved from Ashtanga are collectively known as Vinyasa. These dynamic physical yoga practices build fitness by relying heavily on the power of breath to fuel the body and enliven the spirit.
Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga practices are focused, intense, and physically demanding. Expect to expel toxins and cleanse the body with a fair amount of sweat. The intense internal heat created by these flow-based yoga practices will improve your body’s circulation and leave you with a stronger body and a calm mind.
Sometimes referred to as Flow Yoga or Power Flow Yoga, this modern form of yoga practice draws upon both Ashtanga and Vinyasa to create several series of poses designed to build physical strength by using your own weight, balance, and stamina. Often practiced in a heated room, Power Yoga builds high levels of endurance and cardiovascular strength, and it is sure to work up a heavy, cleansing sweat. In short, it’s a great yoga workout for not only the body, but also the mind as you test your endurance.
Organic Yoga Apparel for Fitness
When practicing yoga for fitness, it’s important to wear clothing that allows for a free range of movement, lets your skin breath, and stays in place. We love the Brooklyn Halter and the Taylor Tank for Ashtanga practice because both tanks have great built-in bra support. Match either of these tanks with the Olema Crop or the Jojo short so that you can move freely without worrying about your clothes getting in the way of your workout.
As always, it’s important to feel comfortable before, during and after your yoga practice. This is especially true when you’re choosing a type of yoga that is more physically demanding as you want to be able to push your body without feeling constrained by your clothes!