• Brittany Michael

Yoga Basics: Types of Classes & Benefits of Practicing

We're taking a look into yoga and the different type of classes that make up this dynamic type of exercise. The best part? You can try each of these classes while you're at home.



"Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self." - The Bhagavad Gita

Although we may not be able to go out and take a yoga class at a studio at this time, yoga is a great exercise to practice at home. Even if you do not currently practice yoga yourself, you have probably heard a fair share about this type of exercise. Yoga is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body, which means yoga is a great way to relax and take time for yourself, while getting your body moving. Yoga also provides time for reflection and relaxation, which makes right now a great time to get into this type of exercise.


Benefits of Practicing Yoga


There are many benefits of practicing yoga. As yoga is the connection of mind and body, there are both mental and physical benefits of doing yoga on a regular basis. Here are just some of the health benefits:


  • Reduce stress and feelings of anxiety

  • Increase strength

  • Help with getting a better night's sleep

  • Could help reduce chronic pain

  • Improve flexibility and balance

  • Help to improve breathing

  • May relieve migraines

  • Help to reduce inflammation


Along with the many health benefits of practicing yoga, yoga is great for unwinding and having a few minutes to yourself. With the focus being both mind and body, this type of exercise class ensures your body is moving and staying active, but your mind is having some important recharge time as well.


Different Types of Yoga Classes


There are many different types of yoga classes that are for varying fitness levels and experience. We have summarized a few of the most popular below. While we're all finding new ways to stay active while spending more time at home, give one of the following types of yoga a try! We've gathered a few videos to get you started, but there are tons of great resources online if you want to dig deeper into one type of yoga.


Hatha

Hatha is a standard term that includes most yoga styles. This type of yoga class is known for being great for beginners, as it focuses on many different poses throughout the class. If you are new to yoga, this type of class is great for helping you decide whether you enjoy yoga. Like most types of yoga, it combines breath work with physical posture so you will leave the class feeling relaxed and stretched out.

Check out this YouTube video for a class you can complete at home: Hatha Yoga.


Vinyasa

This type of yoga class is is sometimes called Power Yoga. It is a more athletic and dynamic yoga class that combines rhythmic breathing with a series of poses that flow one to the next. This class is quicker paced and will provide you with a vigorous mind-body workout.

Check out this YouTube video for a class you can complete at home: Vinyasa Yoga.


Iyengar

Iyengar is a meticulous style of yoga that gives emphasis to proper form. As a result, there is generally more use of props like yoga blocks, straps, or bolsters to help you get deeper into poses. With the focus being on alignment and precise movements, different type of props, such as block or straps, help students to learn the pose without injury. Often taught without music, the intent of this type of yoga is to learn the proper form for each pose.

Check out this YouTube video for a class you can complete at home: Iyengar Yoga.


Bikram

Also known as hot yoga, this type of class will get you sweating. A classic Bikram yoga class is a class that features a consistent series of 26 poses completed in a specific order (you can usually find any of the above types of yoga practiced in a hot studio). You are sure to be sweating the entire time as the room is heated to 40.6 degrees Celsius with a humidity of 40%. This is meant to keep your body warm and can help you to get into stretches and poses more deeply. You might not be able to get the 'hot' part of Bikram yoga at home, but you can practice the moves that make up this class!

Check out this YouTube video for a class you can complete at home: Bikram Yoga.


Yin

Sometimes Yin yoga is referred to as Restorative yoga. This slow paced style is meditative and relaxing, which results in the different poses being held for longer than in other classes; sometimes for several minutes. The intent of this type of yoga is to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. It's great for helping you stretch out tight muscles and can be a lighter activity for when you're not feeling up to a big workout.


Check out this YouTube video for a class you can complete at home: Yin Yoga.


Read more about different types of yoga classes here, here, and here. Although you might not be able to attend an in-studio yoga class, there are plenty of resources online to get you started!

Looking for additional ways to relax or recharge? Many employer benefits plans include a Personal Spending Account that may reimburse you for the cost of exercise classes, like yoga. Ask the Benefits Coordinator at your workplace if they offer this as part of your benefits package. Does your organization not have a benefits package? Saskatchewan Blue Cross offers fully customizable group benefit options for everything from regular health coverage to the Personal Spending Accounts listed above!

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