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Old 04-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
Garrett Smith
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Default Yoga types, benefits/drawbacks/feedback

Jon Brody asked me about yoga in my workout journal, I thought I'd start a thread here for anyone to feel free to add to.

I guess I've been doing various forms of yoga for something like 12 years now. The major ones I've tried include (in some semblance of an order): Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Hatha, Anusara, and finally YRG (www.yrgworkoutllc.com) most recently.

I have come to my own realization that much of the westernization of yoga has made it seem like it is all about "relaxing"...I don't believe this is the way yoga was developed or intended originally. I've found my best results from yoga through focusing on all of the alignment cues--which means a decent amount of created muscle tension while lengthening the muscle concurrently--and gaining "relaxation" through concentrating on so many form cues (thus not focusing on the daily life/emotional/stress BS) and through the final relaxation at the end of class.

I used to go to yoga classes at local studios, I could get classes as low as $6 and $7 a class for what I considered really good yoga (75min. and/or 90min. classes). Due to my own considerations, I decided I wanted to save money and practice at home. I know myself well enough that following a book won't work for me...I need someone verbally telling me what to do (I'm that way with any stretching), so being that I have lots of yoga experience, I prefer audio CDs to DVDs so I don't have to look at anything. Anyway, moving on.

I really like the YRG DVDs. The choice of a 20min., 45min., or 60min. workout is incredible for me, especially with my new baby crunching my time a lot more. Think of YRG as basic yoga poses with a more slow & steady calisthenic component to it (ie. slow pushups with pauses, slow rising out of a "3rd world squat" through an air squat to standing). There is no yoga woo-woo here.

Anusara--very alignment-oriented, lots of woo-woo "heart talk" in a class. I've personally found the Anusara and "Anusara-inspired" instructors in my area exuding a sense of arrogance and elitism, but that could also be from the raw vegan diet most of them do. I knew many of them when they were attending or working for the same studio when it was mainly Ashtanga, so I do have some frame of reference on that observation. I wish it wasn't so, as I really like the studio itself and I like a lot of what Anusara has to offer in the yoga portions.

Bikram--I like the series. I don't care for Bikram himself. I don't think the heat is some magical property, although I do think spending time every day in a heated & humid room without paying a lot of attention to mineral intake (be it food or supplemental) is a sure way to electrolyte imbalances/deficiencies. I also have found it very hard to fit in a 1.5 hour yoga class, so this has fallen by the wayside for me.

I'll get to more stuff later. Anyone else, please feel free to add.
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Garrett Smith NMD CSCS BS, aka "Dr. G"
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