Different Yoga Styles (and how they can work or hurt athletes and runners)
Integrating yoga into a training regimen can be very helpful when done intentionally. ⠀
Yoga takes many different styles and if you don’t know what you are getting into, you could set yourself back or worse get injured. ⠀
There are common styles though taught pretty universally throughout the world. Here are some key terms to know:⠀
* Vinyasa - this is the most popular form of yoga done today. Vinyasa refers to moving through sequences of poses or movements to breathe. These classes can be slower paced and great for stretching or more rigorous to build strength. Beginners or intro usually are at a slower pace. Advanced usually involves some kind of arm balance work. ⠀
* Power Vinyasa - is a more athletic version of vinyasa. This class is a workout. Great way to build strength but should not be jumped into my new yoga practitioners. Some of these classes are performed in a heated studio. Taking a heated class is a way to do some heat acclimation training if your race is in a hot climate and you live in a cooler less humid location. ⠀
* Bikram or Hot - Bikram is a hot yoga that is performed in a studio heated to 95 - 100 degrees. It follows the same 26 poses and takes 90 minutes. Hot yoga is basically the same thing as bikram but differs their sequences slightly. Be prepared to sweat and go only when you are in a recovery or low phase of training.
* Ashtanga - is a vigorous style of yoga that follows that same poses every class and connects the movement to breathe. The classes are difficult and build strength. ⠀
* Yin or Restorative - these classes are all about holding poses for long periods of time to let muscles relax and stretch. The classes are slow, use a lot of props and great if you are looking to unwind post-long run or have a deep stretch. ⠀
So what kind is right for you?
It depends on your goals.
- Are you going to yoga to stretch out after a run? Then a nice vinyasa class is probably the right call.
- Do you want to use yoga to increase core strength and balance? Try an advanced vinyasa or power vinyasa class.
- Do you want a slow class that is relaxing? Then try Yin or restorative.
- Or a more rigorous class that uses music and gets playful? Vinyasa is your thing then.
- Do you want to learn deeper about yoga while getting in a strong class? Ashtanga is probably right for you.
If you are looking to have a consistent yoga practice on top of your regular training - I suggest trying to add 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times a week. I believe a small consistent routine is more beneficial than the occasional trip to a yoga studio for a longer practice. Check out the last post for ideas on how to integrate a short, consistent yoga practice into your training.