Yoga: Beyond the Mat

A Beginner's Guide to Finding the Right Fit

Nov 23, 2015 by Brittany M

Yoga has evolved from a niche activity of ardent new agers to part of the cultural mainstream, with CEOs, students, overly stressed young professionals and retirees all embracing the ancient practice. So much so, in fact, that it's become a $27 billion dollar industry — people love yoga and it's here to stay.

Yoga: A Prescription for The Modern Speed of Life

Yoga dates back to more than 5,000 years ago and is increasing in popularity by the day. Studios are popping up everywhere and yogis new and old are fitting some downward dog into their training splits. Yoga is a panacea for the daily pains of modern society — tech overload, social disconnect, insomnia, stress, anxiety and so on.

At Physi, we enjoy yoga for the obvious health and mental benefits; however, we particularly love that there's a real sense of community among classes. It's a social outlet, and a positive one at that. Plus, the internal reflection helps us get our minds right, allowing us to stay focused and dedicated to the tasks at hand. In between coding, strategizing, meetings and creating events on our app, we take the time to hit the mat.

Looking for a place to perfect your practice? Read on to learn more about different types of yoga, and find some of our favorite locations to catch a savasana in both Cincinnati (our HQ) and Austin, TX (our second home).

The Eight Major Styles of Yoga

Browsing the web to find a yoga class can be daunting (of course, we'd suggest you use Physi to do it instead). You'll find everything from hot yoga to spiritual and may find yourself in need of a Rosetta Stone just to understand the language of the yogis. To give you a head start, we've done the research for you — it fills our nerdy hearts with joy — and we've broken down the eight major styles of yoga for you below.

  1. Anusara
    Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, this newbie to the world of yoga styles is based off the belief that we are all filled with intrinsic good. Friend's Universal Principals of Alignment are the core of this style of practice: heart opening flows with grace that promotes one's inner goodness to shine.
  2. Ashtanga
    This practice is based off ancient yoga teachings and was popularized and introduced to the West by Pattiabhi Jois in the 1970s. This style of practice is more rigorous and follows a specific sequence of postures — similar to vinyasa, except that ashtanga always preforms the exact same poses in the exact same order.
  3. Bikram
    Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga 30 years ago. Bikram classes were held in artificially heated rooms to make you sweat. And sweat you will — more than you could ever think your body is capable of. In this practice, you will sweat your way through a series of 26 poses, always in the same sequence.
  4. Hatha
    Hatha is a generic term and revolves around the teaching of postures. This is the class for those in the beginning stages of their yoga journey.
  5. Hot Yoga (our favorite)
    Like Bikram, the rooms for hot yoga are artificially heated; however, the flow differentiates from time to time. Also like Bikram, be prepared to sweat buckets. Gallon buckets.
  6. Iyengar
    Iyengar (new to us) is meticulous with an analytical approach. Proper alignment is the focus, so if you're dealing with injuries and/or want to focus on perfecting your movement, this is the class for you.
  7. Restorative
    A class that does just as the name says. In this class, you'll heal those frayed nerves after a week of meetings and deadlines, and you may even learn to love that one co-worker again. You know, the one who always takes the last cup of coffee and doesn't make anymore? Yeah, that one.
  8. Vinyasa
    Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for flow. And flow one does in a vinyasa class. It's a beautiful balance of intensive practice meets purposed and poised choreography from an instructor. No two classes will be the same and you will be physically tested with each transition.

Yoga: Connecting the Mind, Body and Soul

Yoga is an experience, unique to each individual and that's what makes it so alluring. Yoga embraces everyone and your practice is completely in your hands — from which style you choose to practice to your intentions each day. It's like finding a pair of jeans — you may have to try a few on for size, but once you find that perfect fit, you keep coming back.

Yoga has something for everyone, so start with a style that sounds right for you, but don't be afraid to change it up.

First time yogi? Maybe you don't want to go alone? Use Physi to create a Yoga event and invite your friends, or maybe find some new friends and together you can “om” your way into a relaxing day.

Yoga in Cincinnati:

Yoga in Austin:

Have a yoga studio we missed? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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