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Even if you don’t know a lot about yoga, you will more than likely know that it improves your core strength, that it is done on a yoga mat through postures such as ‘downward facing dog’.

What you might not know is that yoga dates back thousands of years and is a spiritual form of exercise which teaches us how to control and purify our bodies and minds. In reality, yoga is even bigger than this. It is a wide-reaching discipline which shapes our behaviour with our surroundings and allows us to focus our energy inwards in order to reach samadhi, or enlightenment. The exercises themselves combine a series of postures (called asanas) and breathing techniques (known as pranayama) to join the mind with the body, and the body with the soul.

The thousands of postures increase our strength and flexibility and concentrating on specific parts of our bodies during these postures keeps the mind focussed and strengthens its connection with the body. Breathing exercises which we undertake whilst doing these postures merge the spirit with the body and mind by releasing positive energy throughout our bodies which give us a sense of calm and relaxation.

What are the different types of yoga?

There are plenty of different types of yoga out there so finding something suited to you shouldn’t be too hard. Learning about the different types will familiarise yourself with the benefits and style of each one and as such you will be well-positioned to pick one that is perfect for you.

From vinyasa yoga to hatha and on to ashtanga, you might feel a bit confused at the outset with so many new terms. Below you will find a few of our favourites, with a short description about what they entail.

  • Hatha yoga: Hatha is an overall term for all types of yoga that are centred on physical practice. Classes of hatha yoga generally are very gentle and focus on asanas, bypassing other traditional parts of yoga in the process.
  • Vinyasa yoga: Vinyasa is not a type of yoga for beginners. It is slightly more demanding, and it focuses more on breathing. Commonly called Flow Yoga, there is no stopping between postures and classes seamlessly flow from one sequence to another in a process known as vinyasa flow. You can however expect a great workout and a fabulous yoga experience.
  • Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga is another energetic style of yoga which synchronises breathing with the holding of different asanas. Each yoga class specialising in ashtanga will build up as you go along and holding each challenging posture that you do is counted by number of breaths.
  • Iyengar yoga: In Iyengar, the focus is on alignment and holding your breath during each asana. Props (such as blankets, blocks and belts) are commonplace in yoga classes specialising in Iyengar.
  • Bikram yoga: The key ingredient of bikram yoga is heat. A favourite type of Hot Yoga amongst yogis, the sequence of 26 poses are done in a room that is heated to 41 degrees with a humidity of 40%. The excessive sweating rids the body of toxins while the specific postures stretch and strengthen your muscles.

What are the benefits of doing yoga?

What makes people grab their yoga mats and stretch their bodies through the various yoga poses such as downward dog and the lotus pose? Yoga practice is popular for many reasons and yoga beginners will quickly see some of the benefits that yoga has on our bodies and minds.

From a physical point of view, if you do yoga then you will quickly notice an increase in your flexibility as well as an increase in muscle strength and definition. Your breathing and energy levels will both benefit, and many people turn to yoga for weight loss. It is also favoured by professional sportsmen and women around the world for its effects on athletic performance and the way that it can protect against injuries.

But the benefits of yoga extend beyond just the positive physical effects that yoga postures can have on our bodies. Learning yoga can have hugely positive impacts on our mental well-being. Even doing gentle yoga can have benefits such as being able to manage stress and think more clearly. Through this, you can expect to have improved concentration levels and experience better moods which will be of benefit all walks of your professional and social life.

Why learn yoga with a teacher?

The modern age in which we live means that yoga videos and online yoga are only a click away. Naturally they provide a convenient method for practising yoga but following a yoga routine online means that you will miss out on the interaction with a yoga instructor and in turn the bond that you build with your yoga teacher.

There are a number of very good reasons why you should take yoga lessons with a teacher:

  • Tailored support: A teacher can give you feedback on your progress and give you advice about how to improve in order to have an even greater effect on your body and mind.
  • Explanations: Having a teacher in front of you allows you to ask questions and clarify uncertainties which will deepen your understanding of what you are doing.
  • Higher level of engagement: It can sometimes be easy to lose concentration whilst watching a video, but with a teacher, you are more likely to stay focussed which will lead to a profound experience.
  • A unique approach: A teacher will be able to mould their style to suit your exact needs. For example, if you want to concentrate on preventing injuries, they can tailor your classes to meet this goal.

How to find the perfect yoga teacher for you?

There are a number of different ways that you can find a yoga teacher perfectly suited to you and your needs. Local yoga studios and fitness centres will always have the details of somebody, and the internet and newspapers contain similar advertisements.

But if you don’t have time to go to the local sports centre or sift through pages of newspaper adverts, then why not try Superprof? With Superprof, you can browse through teachers who are close to you whilst you are on the move. You will immediately know their location, how much they charge, and their level of experience.

And if that wasn’t already helpful enough, reviews from other students about each teacher will allow you to find exactly what you are looking for. Most teachers even offer the first lesson for free so you can try out their classes and their methods before paying anything.

Superprof allows for the easiest possible search to save you the hassle of getting lost in a sea of yoga instructors in order to be able to find one that exactly matches your needs. From kundalini to restorative, beginners yoga to yoga philosophy, Superprof is waiting for you to find precisely what you’re after.