Why practicing multiple styles of yoga is good for you
Mixing up your practice can help you enhance your knowledge and reap the health benefits.
By Joanne Moules
It is no secret that there is no cookie-cutter style of yoga. Yes, Warrior II and Downward Facing Dog may look the same in any tradition, but did you know that they can be used in different ways for different benefits? Downward Dog is a restful back stretch in Hatha, but in Kundalini it is used for extra blood to the brain and as part of a larger practice.
Yoga truly is a mixing pot of styles, poses, meditations, mantras and all the other good stuff. So, if you are new to yoga, how do you find out which one is right for you?
And as seasoned yogis, if we are reaching out and finding new practices constantly, how does it benefit us in the long run?
One of the main philosophies of yoga is to always remain the student. Each day is a lesson and those involved with us are sent to teach us something. What that ‘something’ is we don’t know but search deeply and the lesson is there.
So while we may love Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Iyenga, Ashtanga and many more, it benefits us to change and vary the style of yoga we practice.
Find out what is right for you
I’d love to share a little personal insight. I had been practicing Hatha Yoga for many years when I became a mum. I enjoyed the practice, loved how it made me feel and was longing for that lithe flexible body (I am still waiting for that FYI). And even though I thoroughly enjoyed the practice, I found that I was not feeling that buzz/calm/inner peace (call it what you will) that others talked about.
Until one day, while channel hopping I stumbled across Maya Fiennes Kundalini Yoga (https://mayafiennes.com/) and my life changed! That was what my body, heart and soul needed. I was hooked and found the inner peace I was searching for.
Trying a different style may lead you to a deeper understanding of why yoga is so valuable to health, both mental and physical. Don’t be afraid to go off the path a little and try something new – you never know what could be waiting to be discovered.
Different styles meet different needs
Our energy and needs change daily, therefore so should our practice. Some days may need a flowy Vinyasa practice, others a slow-paced Yin class. Our practice needs to complement how we are feeling and what we require.
On days when we need some Iyengar alignment and days when we need an active hot yoga class, our inner work can still be done. We are still able to connect our hearts and minds in a way that suits our daily energy levels.
Gain a deeper understanding of yoga philosophies
Different styles and traditions originate from different locations and even though, ultimately, the ethos is identical, it is fun to learn new mantras, mudras, positions and styles of yoga. You may desire a more spiritual practice over a physical one, or find that the teachings that were relevant to you 10 years ago are now not needed but other teachings and guidelines are more practical for you.
So in trying new styles, approach with an open heart and mind and feel all the feels. You never know what may be on the other side.