Over the last few years, yoga has gained popularity in Harlem. One can find some wonderful yoga studios around the neighborhood.
Many of these studios are easily accessible and offer good prices. The instructors are dedicated and are a part of the community they teach.
Is the lockdown keeping you away from your favorite neighborhood studio? The great thing about yoga is that it can be safely practiced at home. There are many online classes you can follow and some of the Harlem studios offer virtual classes which are useful during the lockdown.
If you are a beginner wanting to try yoga for the first time, this article provides a brief rundown for you on the various styles and benefits of yoga.
Which style of yoga should I choose?
There are many styles of yoga practice; some should be practiced in a studio with qualified teachers and others are safe to practice at home. Find the one that suits you and start your practice. Here are some of the more popular styles:
- Bikram Yoga – practiced in a hot and humid studio of up to 104°F. Be prepared to sweat!
- Iyengar Yoga – uses an array of yoga props such as blocks, straps, and bolsters.
- Hatha Yoga – this is a gentle form of yoga where you hold each pose for a few breaths.
- Ashtanga Yoga – a sweaty, vigorous style of yoga that follows the same sequence of poses.
- Vinyasa Flow – a common style of yoga in which classes flow from one pose to another without pause. Poses are synchronized with your breathing.
- Kundalini Yoga – involves chanting of mantras, singing, meditation, and breathing exercises.
- Yin/Restorative Yoga – a soothing and relaxing form of yoga often offered on a Friday by the studios.
- Aerial Yoga – this form of yoga uses a suspended sling or hammock instead of a mat to perform the traditional yoga poses.
- Yoni Yoga – a new kid on the block, yoni yoga involves a connection between yoni (sacred place) and self. It includes Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
The Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga has myriad benefits, teaching movements and poses that strengthen and tone your muscles, while focusing on conscious breathing. An advantage of yoga is that it can be practiced by all groups and all types of bodies.
One can find deep healing in yoga; breathing to alleviate stress and anxiety, moving tension, fear, sorrow or anger out of your body. Practicing yoga has been known to increase bone density and lower blood pressure. Yoga also improves balance and flexibility.
Yoga encompasses all cultures and groups and it stretches beyond racial boundaries bringing together communities. Check out yoga in the park at Marcus Garvey Park, happening over the next few months.
What Do I Need To Practice Yoga At Home?
To adopt a simple yoga practice at home you will need a yoga mat and any extra equipment that may be required by the style you choose to follow, such as a stabilizer ball, a foam roller, or a yoga block. Yoni Yoga adds yoni balls and Kegel exercises to the sequence.
Adding Kegels To Your Yoga Practice
Some people like to add Kegel exercises to their yoni yoga routines. You may have heard people talk about Kegel exercises. What exactly are they and how do you do them?
Kegels, also known as pelvic-floor exercises, are a form of exercise suitable for anyone who needs to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your uterus, bladder, and bowels. During Kegels, you repeatedly clench and unclench your pelvic floor muscles for 3-5 seconds each time.
Yoni yoga allows women to take Kegel exercises a step further. Have you heard of yoni eggs? These are ancient egg-shaped stones that help strengthen and heal pelvic floor muscles. Yoni Yoga combines Kegel exercises with the use of yoni eggs.
Whatever your shape, age or need you are bound to find a yoga style to suit you. What are you waiting for? Find a yoga class near you or join a virtual class online and practice yoga from the comfort of your home.