What Is The Right Type Of Yoga For Me?

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If I had a dollar for every time someone asked “What’s the right type of yoga for me?” I may not be teaching yoga anymore.  There is no one right type of yoga.  Today there are many options for location, type, time, instructor, approach, etc.  Whether you are new to yoga or simply rethinking your practice, the following may be helpful to think about.

A Few Things To Think About

  1. Your Goal – What do you want to accomplish with your yoga practice?  Would you like to elevate your heart rate and sweat a little?  Is your focus on alignment, strength, flexibility, stability?  Would you like to be more mindful, centered and present?  Are you looking for a physical or mental challenge or both?  Is meditation important?  Is chanting included in your practice?  Do you prefer your yoga to be like a long Winter’s nap?

    Photo by @PoeWellnessSolutions
  2. The Location – I don’t know what it’s like where you live but in Durham, NC, feels like yoga is popping up on every corner.  You can find yoga in studios, gyms, the YMCA, churches, the mall, wine shops, breweries, a park, etc.  Once again, what is important to you?  It is an adventure to attend a popup yoga class at the local brewery but you may be taking your chances with cleanliness, props, instructor, etc.  A little research can go a long way.  Make sure the space has what you need and that you can peel your mat off the floor at the end of class.
  3. The Instructor – For me, the instructor makes the class.  Training and certification are important but I have attended classes with highly trained teachers that were not my favorite classes.   Finding a connection with your instructor is critical.  What do you need from your instructor?  Would you value an instructor with a strong knowledge of yogic philosophy and Sanskrit?  Would you like to be serious about your practice but playful in execution? Are you looking for someone to correct every detail of each pose?  Would your prefer the instructor to “meet you where you are” in your practice?  If you have special needs, share this with your instructor.  Their response and knowledge may determine if this is a good fit for you.
  4. The Students – Is it important to feel a sense of community with the other participants?  Would you like to develop a relationship with your classmates or do you prefer to keep to yourself?
  5. The Type of Yoga – Types of yoga continue to develop and appear.  To learn more about various types, click here.  DoYogaWithMe provides a concise summary of 14 styles of yoga.
  6. Class Name – Not sure what to tell you here.  There are no consistent guidelines for naming a yoga class. Read the description.  If that does not provide enough information, contact the instructor.  Tell the instructor what you are looking for and determine if the class is a good fit.

What Is “My Type” Of Yoga?

Recently someone asked me, “Meg, what do you call the type of yoga you teach?”  Wow!  My entire teaching history flashed through my mind.  I have been teaching movement and exercise for more years than not.  I do not teach a specific type of yoga or school of Pilates.  Participants have ranged from 8 to 103 years of age.  I have yelled into a mic teaching cycle classes and I have held someone in my arms as together we lowered into a swimming pool on a lift.  Goals have included safely training for a competitive run to problem-solving getting up from the floor in case of an unexpected fall.  What occurs in all the classes I teach?  Hmmm … regardless of the class name, I teach Mindful Movement.

A Few Things To Know About Mindful Movement

  1. The Goal – The goal of my classes is you paying attention to you ~ you waking up to your body.  Classes include controlled movement focusing on alignment, strength, flexibility, stability, and what you feel.  We explore movement and stillness.  When do you feel powerful?  What does it take for you relax, to let go of tension?
    Photo by @halversonvisuals

    Although your heart rate may increase a bit and you could break a sweat, these are not aerobic training classes.  It is controlled, slower, fluid, precise movement and not dynamic, fast, or repetitive.  We always begin class determining students’ requests and needs.  If someone has a tight back or wants to focus on upper body strength, as a group we pay attention to those areas.   You develop an improved awareness of your body and movement.  Physical and mental challenges are experienced.  We always take a few minutes for stillness and meditation.  Chanting is not included in my classes.

  2. The Location – Over the years I have taught in many venues.  I enjoy teaching a special event or popup class every-now-and-then but my preference is a casual, laid-back studio.  Although I have taught in gyms and the YMCA, the larger classes are not as appealing to me.  Studio classes typically have less than 20 participants.  It allows for a more personal connection.  I want a clean space and adequate props (blocks, blankets, bolsters, etc.).  When the studio is a part of the community, the class is typically more community oriented.  That’s my preference.
  3. The Instructor (That’s me!) – I am all about the connection.  My goal is meeting you where you are.  Class always includes a slow start, increasing intensity, and gradually slowing down.  I am serious about movement, mindfulness and all of us paying attention to our bodies, our actions and our life.  I believe that the time you spend in class impacts your entire life.  It should be fun.  I want to laugh in life and encourage laughter in class.  Options, options, options!  There is an option for everything.  When you are paying attention to your body, you know if you need an option.  If I have not already given it, ask.  It is important for me to possess the knowledge and skills to be a qualified instructor.  Click here, to check out my story and qualifications.  Your safety is super important and modifications are offered to prevent injury.  Contact me to know more. 

    Photo by @assortedpoppiesphoto
  4. The Students – Who attends my classes?  People desiring to be part of a community as well as focused on their personal experience.  There is always conversation before and after (and often comments during) class.  Students are serious about their 60-75 minutes but look forward to laughing and learning as it makes sense.   Feel like keeping to yourself some days?  It’s never a surprise to see someone quietly set up in a relaxing pose before class.  There is no pressure to join in the banter.  It’s a respectful community, honoring what others need from class to class.
  5. The Type of Yoga – Based on the article, 14 Different Style of Yoga, most of my classes include a bit of the following ~ Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, and Restorative.  You will also find a bit of Pilates.
  6. Class Name – Find more detail about my classes by clicking on the class name (Pilates Yoga Fusion, Yin Yoga, Yin Yang Yoga, Pilates for Parkinson’s).

Summing It Up

What’s the right type yoga for you?  One that you enjoy and keeps you coming back.  The benefits of yoga seem limitless and unique to each participant.  You may experience shifts in your physical, mental, emotional and/or energetic quality of life.  I recommend that everyone give it a try.  Classes are as different as instructors.  I was told recently, “The instructor makes all the difference and Meg, I will follow you anywhere.”  Take time and find the instructor you will follow anywhere.

If you are having trouble finding the right class, send me a note, maybe I can help you come up with helpful questions for when you contact a studio or instructor.  If you live in the Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Raleigh areas, join me for a class.  Have fun moving mindfully!

Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question here.  I will get back to you ASAP.  Others may benefit from what you share.

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Meg Poe

Meg Poe is The Coaching Yogi, founder and owner of Poe Wellness Solutions, Integrative Health Coach and teacher of movement and mindfulness. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Masters in Exercise Physiology, is a Duke University certified Integrative Health Coach and a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Meg partners with individuals and groups as they wake up to their mind, body, life, health and happiness. Partnering with people to live their optimal health and happiness is my passion. Let’s do this! Check out the 1:1 Coaching page and schedule a free 30-minute informational call today.

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