Which Yoga is Right for You?

Photo by Paul Blackmore Photography

Photo by Paul Blackmore Photography

So many people ask me what Naam Yoga is because they've never heard of it. I am always so happy to explain because it is so unique and new to the western world that any opportunity to spread the light is a gift! 

I remember a fellow yogi friend of mine explaining that yoga is like ice cream, there are so many flavors! She's so right! But most people in our country think of a Vinyasa practice when they think of Yoga. Probably because that's how the media and yoga clothes companies etc. portray it, and most studios offer this style of yoga. I think it's because it appeals to the fitness enthusiast who wants to get a sweat on while doing some sort of meditation too. And that's great! Whatever gets you to yoga!

But yoga is vast. There are so many elements to it. And each practice takes you through the journey of it all. When I first was called to yoga, I practiced Kundalini. I did not enjoy Hatha / Vinyasa based practices at that time. I then evolved my practice into Naam and only then was I interested in Power Yoga! I remember talking to another yogi friend at a Wanderlust Yoga Festival about how she said she'd never have been interested in Kundalini if she hadn't practiced Vinyasa style before. And I told her how I was the opposite! You just never know where your practice will lead you.

All these styles of yoga offer something different, based on where you are in your life and what you need. They are there for you at any given time, and it's such a blessing to have these self care tools that help you become more intuitive to what you need.

So let me give you a brief description of the styles of yoga I'm familiar with. You can always check out your local yoga studio for their descriptions as well, so you can make a choice on what it is you feel called to.

Let me also say that if you are nervous of trying a group yoga class and that keeps you away from practicing, please just do yourself a favor and show up. We all have to start somewhere and you are in a safe place. Your teacher will help you. Don't let this hold you back from living a life that you want to create! You can always check out studios to see if they have intro series/workshops - that is a great place to start!

Now for the list:

Naam Yoga. This is the style of yoga I teach! Naam means the sacred word. We attune our entire being with sound currents through mantras. Learn why it's so healing in this article. We also use mudras (different hand positions) to work with the different meridians and planetary energies in our body and aura. We work with powerful breathing exercises to calm the mind and alkalize the blood. We gently move the body to stretch and strengthen, all while aligning with the laws of nature as taught by The Tree of Life. You won't sweat in this class but your body will be taken care of because you are working in the Divine and Astral Planes (where everything begins). You will feel peaceful, invigorated and restored. Beginners are Welcome! Drop in to a group class on Thursday nights at the Masjah Center in Harwich at 7pm. (class is cancelled tomorrow night 10/27) Learn more about Naam here. 

Vinyasa Yoga. Probably the most widely known practice that you could find in any yoga studio. Vinyasa literally means to flow through a sequence of poses. We do lots of sun and moon salutations in this style class. You will raise your heart rate and clear your energy field feeling light and clear and grounded. Learn more in this article by Yoga Journal. Suitable for all levels!

Power Yoga. An amped up vinyasa style practice encouraging you to empower your thoughts and body. We do lots of chaturangas (high to low pushups), ab work etc. in a heated room. You will sweat and detox and get your workout in! This type of practice can be suitable for all levels!

Restorative Yoga. I love this style yoga after a long week of work. It completely relaxes your nervous system and gives you the gift of just being quiet with yourself as you take your poses into deeper places, opening up your body and releasing tension. Beginners Welcome!

Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini is the energy that runs from your tail bone to your crown. The idea is to awaken the kundalini energy within yourself by way of chanting mantra, doing powerful breath work, working with mudras and moving the body to clear away blocks. Beginners Welcome!

Iyengar Yoga. This is a very interesting practice which helps you get really deep into proper alignment and the precise detail of every pose. I did not sweat but my mind was really blown because it's so methodical that it really works the kinks out and pushes you to your limits in different ways. I do believe this practice can help you feel rooted in all hatha/vinyasa based practices. Check out this link for more info.

My favorite yoga studios where I've enjoyed practicing are:

Naam Yoga in Santa Monica, California

Power Yoga of Cape Cod Dennisport or Harwich

Evoke Yoga in Hyannis, Cape Cod

Down Under Yoga in Brookline, Boston

Orleans Yoga in Orleans, Cape Cod

I hope you get to experience a wide variety of yoga styles! Keep an eye out for a Naam Yoga Health Series taught by me coming soon! ;)