Yoga is a type of exercise that combines exercises for strength, flexibility and breathing aimed at improving physical and mental health.
Yoga is a safe and effective way to achieve better fitness and balance.
There a different types of yoga, and for a beginner, it is important to pick one that matches your health goals and abilities.
There are forms of yoga to suit different age groups and mobility levels.
Look for appropriate classes taught by qualified yoga teachers.
Information is available from yoga organisations, including the British Wheel of Yoga.
Goals for your yoga style
The word yoga can be translated as "union," "yoke," or "balance." By doing yoga, you're creating a union between mind and body. You're also balancing strength and flexibility.
To decide on the yoga style that's right for you, ask yourself three simple questions. The answers will help you clarify your goals in beginning yoga.
- Are you doing yoga for fitness and to get in shape as well as to explore the mind-body connection? Then choose a more vigorous yoga style like Power Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga. All three styles combine an athletic series of poses into a vigorous, total-body workout.
- Are you starting yoga with an injury or a chronic medical condition? Or are you older and out of shape? Then start with a slower, more alignment-oriented class like Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or Viniyoga. All three focus on finding the safest, most precise alignment for each student in every pose.
- Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal? Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try Kundalini yoga.