To follow up my last post concerning yoga, I’d though I’d share my professional opinion on which styles of yoga I recommend. I regularly recommend yoga to my patients in order to maintain the improvement in function that treatment gives them, but also as a long-term strategy to maintain strength and flexibility. As I often say, the more you do outside of the office, the less I have to see you in my office.
Between my own experience with yoga, and what I end up seeing in my practice, I have developed an opinion on which styles of yoga I prefer. It is a very individual thing, and no two people will respond the same to one style. Let’s start with an overview on the 3 major styles:
1. Hatha Yoga: Hatha is a slower form of yoga which incorporates posture, breathing and occasionally meditation in order to increase muscle tone, strength and flexibility; and it allows for relaxation. This is my favorite type of yoga as it is low impact with minimal opportunity for injury. Yoga studios like Semperviva (where I attend) will also incorporate a short meditation portion in order to calm the mind, which in turn helps to keep the body happy.
2. Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini is a faster, more dynamic form of yoga which progresses through specific yoga posture sets, often with an accompanying mantra. This style is optimal for those who benefit from adding a mantra to their practice and enjoy a more active style. However, the fast-paced and bouncing nature of some of the posture sets can aggravate some neck and low back conditions.
3. Ashtanga/Power-flow Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is the one that most power yoga styles are derived from. It is a much more physically demanding and dynamic form of yoga than the other two styles. This is the style of the now popular “hot yoga” which many of my patients are participating in. My experience with this type of yoga is very positive, and it can give you a fantastic strength, flexibility and aerobic workout all in one session. I do caution some people to be careful if they do have pre-existing back conditions as many poses incorporate a lot of spine hyper-extension which may aggravate these conditions. However as long as you know your limits and alter your practice to your abilities, problems should not occur. I do have a problem though with the “hot yoga” where the room is artificially heated in order to raise body temperatures quickly. I see many injuries from this type of yoga as many will push themselves beyond their body’s limits due to the artificial flexibility caused by the heat. Also, these classes tend to be rather large with the instructor not capable of overseeing the technique of all their students.
If you are looking to get into yoga, this Comox Valley Chiropractor encourages you whole-heartedly. I would recommend you start with Hatha, and then experiment with the other types of yoga once you have become familiar with the postures involved. It is wise to choose a class that has a qualified instructor, who will ensure that all participants are doing the poses correctly in order to avoid injury. Based on experience, I can recommend Semperviva for this reason, and also the regular instruction from the teachers to listen to your body and alter your practice accordingly. In addition, they provide power flow yoga without artificially heated rooms.
Yoga and Chiropractic in Courtenay… a match made in heaven for your body and health!