Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2015

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/522093

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Page 18 of 43

HOT YOGA History Hot yoga is a spin-off of Bikram yoga. Class Structure Hot yoga is performed in a humid room heated anywhere from 90-117° F. Due to the heat and intensity of postures, classes are challenging. Be- ginning yogis who are physically fi t may enjoy a hot yoga class, but classes are best suited for intermediate or advanced yogis. Because of the heat, there are several contraindications: pregnant women, children under 16 and anyone with heart prob- lems should not practice hot yoga. Inform the instructor of any medical conditions before attending and get an okay from your doctor. Application to Healing Heat increases fl exibility and heart rate. People who want to lose weight and build muscle attend hot yoga classes. Heat also detoxifi es the body. Under the supervision of a doctor, people with autoimmune disorders, addic- tions and skin disorders have benefi ted from hot yoga. YIN/RESTORATIVE History In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are described as opposite, comple- mentary forces. Yin is a passive force, and yin yoga, also called restorative yoga, is designed to create deep openings to prepare the body for meditation. Paul Grilley is credited with popularizing yin yoga in the West, but the practice is noted in older yoga texts, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Class Structure Yin yoga lengthens fascia—connective tissue—in the body. Class- es have a strong meditative focus and poses are held for several minutes. Props such as blocks, blankets and straps are used. The body is supported, allowing mus- cles to relax. Teachers guide students in body placement and instruct students how to focus the breath and mind. Application to Healing Practicing yin is a nurturing experience. People dealing with grief, chronic pain, cancer treatment, anxiety, eating disorder and autoimmune diseases can benefi t, as can their caretakers. KUNDALINI History Often called the "yoga of awareness," Kundalini yoga focuses on opening the energy centers in the body known as chakras. Kundalini is an ancient form of yoga mentioned in the Upanishads, an ancient collection of sacred Hindu texts. Class Structure Similar to hatha, classes focus on slow movement and body con- trol. Chanting, breath-work and meditative hand gestures known as mudras are components of the class. People who want to explore the spiritual aspects of yoga should try Kundalini. Application to Healing The meditative aspects of Kundalini increase concentra- tion and awareness. Practicing Kundalini yoga reduces anxiety and depression. The emphasis on connecting to self and spirit can help people who have experienced a loss. At the end of the day, the best yoga class for you is the one you will attend. Exper- iment with different instructors and classes until you fi nd one you like. If you have a medical condition or injury, talk to your doctor before attending a class and be sure to let the instructor know your condition. Students should never experience pain in joints during a yoga class. If you do, back off the pose and ask your instructor for guidance. Kaci Yoh is a freelance writer, editor, and 200-hour level yoga instructor. Download current and back issues of Whole Life Times at www.wholelifetimes.com june/july 2015 19

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