You’ve decided to practice yoga! Now, where do you start?

Yoga at Sunrise

As if doing basic yoga isn’t enough to keep you in shape and your head on straight, some practitioners like to spice it up and really go for the gusto. They opt for hot yoga or couples yoga.

Hot Yoga

So what is hot yoga? It means doing yoga in a studio where the heat is turned to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is 40 percent. The official name for this type of yoga is Bikram yoga. Get ready to sweat!

This is a hot and highly intense workout and may not be suitable for everyone. It can lead to a heat-related illness and should be avoided if you are pregnant, have experienced heat stroke in the past, if you have issues with heat intolerance in general or dehydration and suffer from heart disease, according to Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic.

During a hot yoga session, lasting 90 minutes, the practitioners engage in a series of 26 poses/postures, which demand well-controlled-, forceful and extended contractions of all the vital muscle groups. The result:

You tire your muscles and elevate your heart rate, as well as get a lot of stretching in, strengthening and toning your body. If you are determined to try hot yoga, you need to be well-hydrated. Drink a lot of water. If you begin to feel sick or dizzy, stop.

Those practicing this form tout the benefits including the heavy sweating which flushes gunk out of the skin. The body is detoxified. When heart rate is elevated, the individual’s body works harder. When hot, the heat assists in breathing, helps the body relax more fully, improves concentration and focuses the brain.


Another form of yoga is Anusara, developed by John Friend. It is considered a purist (iyengar) type of yoga, with a sense of humor. Sound good? Students are encouraged to express themselves through yoga postures. If you really need to improve your mood, this may be the class for you. It is not intense like Bikram.


Some prefer ashtanga yoga which involved doing six established and demanding pose sequences. Someone who is intense and wants a grueling workout will probably like this form. The individual flows from one challenging pose to the next. It is a vigorous workout. This isn’t for a newbie, who should start out with a slower paced class.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga, which is pronounced HAH-TA, not HAH-THA, a common mistake made by many,include most all types of contemporary yoga. It’s a classic and basic approach to postures and breathing exercises and can be done by most everyone, including old-timers and children.

Couples Yoga

This, obviously, requires two people. The couple can actually be a couple, or not. Two people support one another in modified yoga poses (asanas.) Yes, you are really up close and personal. A type of couples yoga called Balance Arts, created by Mishabae Mahoney, is geared toward strengthening bonds between two people.

And …

If you really want to get specific, there is karma (yoga of selfless service), jnana (yoga of the mind), bhakti (yoga of devotion, tantra (not sex yoga but yoga of rituals) and raja (yoga of self control.) There are many more disciplines.

If you are just starting out, stick with Hatha and proceed from there. The important thing is to give it a go. You won’t be sorry. Your body and mind benefits tremendously from every type of yoga.

By Cindi Pearce

  1. Chantel November 2, 2015
  2. Cindi Pearce November 2, 2015

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