50 Shades of Yoga

Finding the Best Yoga Style For You

Many a new yogi experiences the excitement and awe that comes with entering the yoga community. Some begin in a gym, looking for lean muscles and steel cores while others find yoga in the pages of a book, on the path to spirituality. Whichever way it is found, the realm of yoga can be an exciting yet bewildering world.  

With hundreds of variations on the basic yogic styles, it can be overwhelming finding the right class, ideals and instructor for an individual. As a new instructor within this vast community, I was and still am spread out in 20 different directions, teaching Vinyasa, Hatha, Hyp-yoga, Yoga Therapy and a variation of JivaMukti. I also regularly have books checked out from the library on everything from the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga to Yoga for Osteoporosis. Although it may seem extreme to some, I am not the only one who lets the yogi lifestyle engulf me like a north shore wave in Hawaii. I will share with you the 5 ways that I found my path through the many shades of yoga (In a soothing instructor voice of course).

1. What do you want to gain from your practice? Some look for strength and judge their practice on how much sweat they can wring from their towels, while others want to focus on meditation and connect with themselves and their higher power. Take time to explore what you need and want from yoga in order to completely engage in all that yoga has to offer. You will inherit more than you had originally set out for. This, however, will help when it comes to keeping your head on straight, which is something that we advise when practicing.

2. Stop oversaturating yourself!  I am obviously not one to talk when it comes to narrowing your focus. However, I can attest that your brain, heart and body will appreciate you simplifying. Yes, like everything else, yoga can be over practiced and  leave you feeling exhausted. This is your time to slow down, appreciate and just be.  Choose one style to focus on at a time and fully engage in it. Yoga and Tinker Toys are very similar in that you cannot add the fun windmills if your brother steals the base. Take in all of the gifts and knowledge that your current teacher or class has to offer and put your explorer hat back on only when you are ready.

3. Run 10 miles or get a massage?  While both of these are beneficial, there is a difference between punishing yourself for delayed satisfaction and enjoying the process. Being aware before, during and after your practice of how your mind and body are feeling is extremely valuable in finding your style. Your heart will open and shine when happiness is achieved through your practice.

4. Interview your instructor. We love it! Stay after class. Chat up your instructor and listen to their story. Some of us have gotten on one path and stayed on it while others have tried many different routes to find the one that was best.

5. Witness, don’t  become.  In yoga we teach and live detachment, not clinging emotionally to results or events, but letting them happen and witnessing the experience from a centered view. This applies not only to life but also to your practice and asanas. Some classes or instructors can be a little intimidating and you may end up writing a check for a year membership. But remember that this is your practice and your life! Take in and appreciate what you are being told, but keep an open mind and absorb only what you believe to be true in your heart.

Brookelynn is a new resident of Minneapolis, MN where she owns a beautiful studio, Girasole Yoga On Central. She is a lifelong student of yoga and guides Hyp-Yoga classes, a vinyasa and hypnotic meditation mix that positively influences mind, body and soul. Her mission is to fall in love with life everyday and she aims to share that view with all of her students and contacts. She believes that a transformation on the mat can transform the world.

For more info, questions or bookings, follow her on Twitter at @girasoleyoga or check out her website: www.girasoleyoga.com.


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