Yoga offers many benefits.
Physically, it has been linked to increased muscle tone and flexibility, a lower body weight, better circulatory health, greater protection from injury, and improved athletic performance1. According to the American Psychological Association, it also offers mental benefits, some of which include lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, while strengthening the person’s social attachments at the same time2. Therefore, it only makes sense that you could likely recommend this particular activity as part of your clients’ wellness plans.
Admittedly, some people are skeptical about yoga as it has only gained popularity in Western countries in more recent years. However, this particular practice can be traced as far back as 3000 B.C. in ancient Shamanism. It even appears in the first-known text, Rig-Veda3. Since then, it has helped many well-known and highly successful people such as LeBron James, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ariana Huffington to achieve higher levels both personally and professionally4.
Different styles of yoga
The key to effectively recommending yoga as part of a wellness plan for your patients is to understand the different styles of yoga, what results each one can provide, and what type of person it can potentially help best. Here are some of the most common ones to consider6,7,8.
Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga yoga sessions start with chanting and then moves into the actual poses (there are six that are practiced with no rest between them). That makes this style of yoga best suited for a client who has practiced yoga before and can handle a more intense physical routine. Ashtanga yoga is also great for promoting weight loss and muscle gain, so keep that in mind if you have a client that wants to get in better physical shape as this may be a good option.
Bikram Yoga. If you have clients who like heat, Bikram yoga may just be for them. These yoga sessions are conducted in rooms over 100 degrees and 40 percent humidity. This type of yoga consisting of 26 poses is also good for weight loss if your client has that as a goal, and helps build stamina. Just remind them to take water so they don’t risk dehydration. Because the room is so hot, this type of yoga would not be suited for someone with medical issues that could be intensified by heat.
Hatha Yoga: This particular style of yoga moves at a slow pace and teaches proper alignment and breathing. It’s a great option for a patient who has never practiced yoga before but would like to try it out. Hatha yoga is also good for the client who could benefit from lower stress levels as this particular yoga has a very calming effect when practiced routinely.
Iyengar Yoga: If you have a client who is new to yoga and injury-prone, this may be the best yoga option for them. The reason Iyengar yoga (also known as Ansura yoga) is beneficial because the leaders have biomechanics training. Therefore, they can help your client modify the positions to meet their physical needs, thereby reducing the risk of any type of damage. Note that there is a spiritual aspect to this type of yoga, so you may want to let them know, in case this doesn’t appeal to them.
Kripalu Yoga: This type of yoga is also good for the beginner or any client that wants to learn all about yoga as they practice the poses. In Kripalu yoga, they will be taught everything on how it works, how to breath, and how yoga enhances you physically. It also teaches to pay attention to your body throughout the poses so you become more aware of the effect that each one has on you.
Power Yoga: Like Ashtanga, Power yoga is highly physical in nature since there is no rest between poses. The only difference between the two is that there is no chanting prior to doing the poses, making it a suitable alternative for the person who is in fairly good physical shape but doesn’t want a spiritual experience. It’s kind of like yoga-aerobics because it gets you in good shape mentally and physically.
Yin Yoga: With Yin yoga, a lot of the poses are performed slowly on the floor and held for quite a few minutes. That makes this one a good recommendation for a client who has the ability to get down on the floor fairly easily but could benefit from deeper stretching. Because of the longer stretches, it is also beneficial to clients who could use some quiet time so that their mind relaxes right along with their body.
These are just a few of the different styles of yoga, as well as the people they are likely to help most. Now you can recommend the perfect one for your clients to help them reach higher levels of health and wellness.
- “The Benefits of Yoga.” American Osteopathic Association. http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/yoga.aspx. Accessed September 14, 2015.
- Novotney, A. “Yoga as a practice tool.” American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/11/yoga.aspx. Published November 2009. Accessed September 14, 2015.
- “Yoga History.” University of Florida. http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/fall05/levy/history.html. Accessed September 14, 2015.
- Carmichael, C. “Yoga: The Secret Workout of Highly Successful People.” LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/yoga-secret-workout-highly-successful-people-chloe-carmichael-ph-d-. Published January 20, 2015. Accessed September 14, 2015.
- Pevzner, H. “Welcome to yoga.” Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20659887,00.html. Accessed September 14, 2015.
- “Types of Yoga.” Women’s Health. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/yoga/types-of-yoga. Accessed September 23, 2015.
- “Which Style of Yoga Is Best for You?” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/which-style-of-yoga-is-best-for-you. Reviewed May 25, 2013. Accessed September 23, 2015.