Yoga is everywhere these days, especially here in Southern California. Drive down a street and you’ll see at least one yoga studio, or a gym advertising yoga, or a flyer for someone’s yoga classes. This proliferation of yoga is amazing. From purely athletic and physical to gently restorative to exclusively spiritual to everything in between, there are so many styles to choose from that everyone who wants a yoga practice has the opportunity to find the kind of yoga that works best for them. From my Ayurvedic eyes this is so wonderful. A fundamental of Ayurveda is that nothing is right for everyone and everything is right for someone, and this goes for yoga too!
So how do you know which one is best for you? Well, the first thing to do is to try a class out and see how it feels. Your experience in a yoga class will vary depending on the teacher, the yoga style, how you’re feeling that day, the class environment, and tons of other factors. So it’s best to try a particular style three times before making a choice. If you decide to go to a studio that offers just one style of yoga, try several different teachers. If you go to a studio that offers many different types of yoga, try different classes. And if you don’t like it, know that this one experience doesn’t mean yoga isn’t right for you. There are hundreds of other styles, studios, and teachers to try out!
From the perspective of Ayurveda it’s best to practice a style of yoga that balances your constitution (take this quiz to find out your body type). If you’re primarily Pitta or have a Pitta imbalance, a slow and restorative class in a non-heated environment will bring you calm and peace. If you’re primarily Vata or are experiencing a Vata imbalance, a steadily paced class with lots of static postures in a warm room will ground and stabilize you. If Kapha is your primary dosha or you feel a kapha imbalance, an invigorating flow class in a heated room will help you loosen up and shed the sluggishness. Your body is constantly changing, so it’s best to listen to how you’re feeling on a particular day and make a choice based on that moment.
The best way to be constantly in tune with your body’s rhythms is to establish a daily practice. Beginning with just 15 minutes each day, starting a daily practice can bring new insight into the nuances of your physical, mental, and emotional bodies. This can help you become more aware of the best choices to make day to day- not just in terms of what yoga class to take, but also what food to eat, what work to do, what activities to complete, and much, much, more. With more intimate connection between mind and body comes greater health and happiness.
Still not sure where to start, or just not ready to cross that threshold into the yoga studio you’ve been eying down the street? Try a private session. In a comfortable setting you’ll be able to become familiar with some poses, begin to feel what they’re like in your body, and ask lots of questions without worrying what the people around you are thinking!