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Saturday, May 27, 2006

better living through yoga

at some point in my running career, i subscribed to runner's world magazine to get the scoop on running tips, techniques, and events. now that i've put my marathon running on hold and let my subscription lapse, i still continue to receive e-mails from rodale, the magazine's publisher. their periodic updates remind me that deep down, i'm still a runner, and that i'd better start running longer distances soon before my body forgets that it can do 26.2...

just the other day, i got this message from them:

"Hello, long weekend! When it's over, you want to look and feel refreshed, right? But even with a few days off ahead, a tension headache, sleeplessness, or a toddler tantrum can screw up your downtime. Try this: Use these bite-size yoga and balanced living tips to help you get all you can from today. Then, for more advice to help you live better every day, check out the new YogaLife magazine at your local newsstand..."

so it appears that there's now a similar magazine that talks about yoga tips, techniques, and maybe even events?

anyway, in that same e-mail message, in addition to talking about how yoga helps relieve stress, how a diet based on the ancient ayurveda science can bring back balance to your body, as well as some yoga do's and don'ts, there was a link to how to select the right yoga type for your fitness goals.

here's an excerpt from that article:

Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga
What It Is: Yoga poses in a sauna. Classrooms are heated from 95 to 102 degrees. If it’s called “Bikram” (for inventor Bikram Choudhury), it will be a series of 26 postures, each performed twice.
Best For: Weight loss; you can burn 350 to 600 calories in one class. You’ll build stamina as well. “Tolerating the heat is really an athletic challenge,’’ says Donna Rubin, co-owner of Bikram Yoga New York.
Who’s Gotta Have It: Exert-aholics, ex-jocks, and others who don’t think they’ve worked out unless they leave a puddle.
Need To Know: If touching your toes is a pipe dream, take heart: The steamy air will increase your flexibility. However, this kind of heat can be like lots of martinis—you’re too loose. So don’t overstretch and injure yourself, champ.
Cheat Sheet: Leave the modesty at home. To keep your core temperature down, wear as little as possible. A sports bra and boy shorts will suffice. Stay hydrated.
Famous For: Hollywood students like Goldie Hawn, Choudhury’s flamboyant capitalist shtick (he collects Bentleys and Rolls Royces), and outrageous quotes (“I have balls like atom bombs!’’).

Ashtanga, Power Yoga, and Vinyasa
What It Is: Vinyasa means flow, and each of these three systems links poses together in a long, choreographed, rapidly moving sequence.
Best For: Cardio (no such thing as catching your breath between postures), and strength gains without weights. Devised for young jocks in India, this will get you cut, fast.
Who’s Gotta Have It: CEOs, ESQs, CPAs (anyone with three letters after their name, even if they’re OCD). “Ashtanga appeals to Type A personalities—driven, intense people who like its linear quality,” explains Natasha Rizopoulos, star of the Yoga Step-By-Step DVD series.
Need To Know: The poses, before your first class. You can’t flow if you don’t know up dog from down dog. Get some experience at another, slower studio (see Iyengar) before you come here.
Cheat Sheet: Stick with it—four times a week is ideal, but steady gains come with twice weekly sessions.
Famous For: Kate Hudson’s slamming postbaby body and Zen mamma attitude.

What It Is: Purist yoga named after founder B.K.S. Iyengar. Props—blocks, straps, harnesses, and incline boards—are used to get you more perfectly into positions. That’s why Iyengar’s nicknamed “furniture yoga.”
Best For: Learning the fundamentals, which builds a superior foundation for other styles. Plus it systematically works every part of your body, giving you great muscle definition, not mass.
Best For: Patient perfectionists. Detail-oriented folks who want to “do it right” rather than “just do it” will get the most from it, says Roger Cole, Ph.D., a certified Iyengar teacher in Del Mar, California.
Need To Know: If you’re straining to reach the floor, place one of those Styrofoam or wooden blocks so it meets your hand partway. Remember, there’s no shame in this.
Cheat Sheet: These teachers are sticklers for alignment. Wear fitted clothing so they can check your form.
Famous For: Andie McDowell’s rocking 47-year-old figure and Iyengar’s Light on Yoga, the 1966 bible of this discipline.

What It Is: Iyengar with a sense of humor. Created by the aptly named John Friend, it’s meant to be humorous, heartfelt, and accepting. “Instead of trying to fit everyone into standard cookie-cutter positions, students are guided to express themselves through the poses to their fullest ability,” says Rama Patella, a certified Anusara teacher at Yoga Mandali in New York City.
Best For: Mood enhancement, via upbeat vibe; practicing when out of shape, because you won’t be pushed too far; and learning proper alignment to prevent injuries—in all exercises, not just yoga.
Who’s Gotta Have It: Nervous Newbies. It’s nonthreatening and the workout is less intense than Ashtanga or Bikram.
Need To Know: You may be asked to partner with strangers and clap for your classmates, so if that makes you cringe, better to avoid.
Cheat Sheet: Anusara definitely has a spiritual side. As a class you offer yourself “to the light,” or the goodness inside of you. Just go with it. You do have goodness, right?
Famous For: Being the fastest-growing, trendiest yoga du jour, with over 1,000 teachers worldwide. Plus, the Deadhead-like following on Friend’s Mystical Merry Band Tours of the United States.

Gentle or Restorative Yoga
What It Is: Less work, more relaxation. You’ll spend as many as 20 minutes each in just four to five simple poses (often they’re modifications of standard asanas) using strategically placed props.
Best For: Rehabbing an injury, with blood flow and healing pushed to problem areas without straining them. A bolster under your knees while lying down, for example, supports the leg bones enough to let the muscles stop contracting. There’s also psychic cleansing: The mind goes to mush, then you feel like new. And it’s a great option if you’re simply tired one night and not up for a regular class.
Who’s Gotta Have It: New and expectant moms. This gentle approach can even help with menstrual cramps.
Need To Know: Share what ails you with the teacher in private, before class, so they can pick poses that will lessen the pain of a slipped disk, for example.
Cheat Sheet: Slow-mo doesn’t generate body heat, so bring along a sweatshirt, socks, and even a skull cap to stay warm, cozy, and cute.
Famous For: Too low-key to be famous. Should be.

more info can be found online at their new website, www.iyogalife.com.

considering that there's now yet another magazine devoted to all things yoga, it appears that yoga's quite the hip trend now, doesn't it?


Blogger shinyyoga said...

hmm yes! so hip! :) still, pretty impressive that a practice that is so old can still look fab and trendy!

Just discovered your site and I love it! Great wealth of info, thanks! :)


9:13 PM  
Blogger joni said...

thanks! that's quite a compliment, coming from someone whose class i'd love to take if i ever get another chance to visit sydney!

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the yoga life magazine on the stands but didn't pick it up. i'm like a yoga information book magazine junkie - but i managed for once not to buy the latest thing.

5:59 PM  
Blogger joni said...

i understand completely! the only way i can keep myself from compulsive magazine shopping is to steer clear of newsstands. but maybe it's about time i dropped by to see what's new :)

9:10 PM  

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