Body, Soul

How to find out which style of Yoga fits to you

Right now there are a  zillion different styles of Yoga, most of them with funny names and undefinable meanings. Because of the sheer number of them it’s easy to get confused about which style would fit to you.

If  you want to find out your perfect style you have to find out what exactly it is you want to gain from your Yoga practice first.Try getting clear about the following questions before you read the guide:

Do you want an intense workout or do you just want to relax?

Do you want to calm your mind and relief stress or is it more important for you to build strength and flexibility?
While most Yoga practices give you all of these benefits, some target the strength and flexibility aspect more, while others focus more on relaxtion, so it is important to know what you’re up to.

If you are clear about what you want and want to find out which Yoga style is best for you, read this explanatory guide on the most popular styles of Yoga. 

  • Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is “the original Yoga” and very ancient. It describes all the asanas (poses) out which the new styles teached in the west are made of. Although in this way most Yoga styles are Hatha Yoga styles, there are also specific Hatha Yoga classes.
In Hatha Yoga we perform different asanas, suited to the student. The poses are hold for some time while focusing on the breath, before we release and adopt another posture. Because there is no specific sequence to be followed, Hatha Yoga classes are never the same and can target completely different objectives. 

πŸ‘ The main focus of Hatha is always to strengthen and stretch the body in order to achieve the best state of health possible while balancing mind and body. Therefore, Hatha Yoga is beneficial for everyone.  

You simply have to try out different classes because depending on the teacher, it can be too easy for some and too strenuous for others. That’s why I recommend trying out different teachers before you commit to one class.

  • Ashtanga

Ashtanga Yoga is a style that was popularized by Pattahbi Jois (search for his teachings on YouTube, they are amazing) in the 70s, but relies on an ancient system. It contains 7 complete Yoga sequences in which the asanas (poses) are linked by vinyasas, meaning that you flow from one pose into the other, which makes it more intense. Ashtanga Yoga is a difficult practice, containing many difficult asanas, but it is really nice to see how you evolve trough this practice because the sequence stays the same and you follow it strictly. This means that you practice the same flow every time which leads to fast progress. 

πŸ‘ Ashtanga Yoga is perfect for you if you want an intense workout and like strict guidance. It’s good for the ambitious Yogis, who like to make progress and be able to see where they are on their Yoga journey. Because it’s so repetitious, it can also relief stress and calm your busy mind.

πŸ‘Ž I would not recommend Ashtanga to those who just want to relax, as it is very physically demanding.

  • Power Yoga

Just as Hot Yoga is the “westernized” form of Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga is actually a less strict form of Ashtanga Yoga. Benefits and contraindications are the same, but the sequence and asanas are different and it is not that strict.

  • Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhry about 30 Years ago and is one of the most popular Yoga styles right now. During Bigram Yoga, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises) and 26 asanas are performed in a specific order. All of this happens in a room heated to 40 degree Celsius, which will have all parts of your body dripping with sweat. Literally, all parts. (Did you now that the inside of your ears could sweat?!)

These are the different Bikram Yoga poses :

πŸ‘ Due to the heat Bikram Yoga increases your flexibility immensely and prevents stretch-related injuries. It is also very good for detoxing and losing weight, as you sweat everything out. Heat is also proven to have a calming and stress relieving effect, which makes Bikram Yoga a good choice if you want to rebalance yourself.

πŸ‘Ž It is not recommended to try Bikram if you have any illness that will make you faint due to heat, or if you are just in general too sensitive to sustain physical movement in a hot environment.

  • Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is actually very similar to Bikram Yoga, they just don’t stick to the sequence developed by Bikram himself, so they had to invent a new name but the benefits stay the same.

  • Vinyasa 

Vinyasa Yoga  or Vinyasa Flow Yoga is all about movement. In Vinyasa, you link all postures fluidly together with the breath so that you achieve a flow during the whole practice. 

πŸ‘ The flowing movement is amazing to restore balance between mind and body and really get you into a meditative space. Thereby, it is a great practice to relief stress and relax.

Furthermore, the constant movement makes Vinyasa Yoga a good workout which strengthens every part of the body, a good cardio workout and provides a good stretch.

Because Vinyasa Yoga can be practiced in so many ways it is suitable to everyone.

  • Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is also called restorative Yoga. In Yin we hold the different poses for a long time, mostly between 2-5 minutes. In this time we focus on “breathing into the stretch and letting go.
πŸ‘ Because we hold the asanas for so long, Yin Yoga is an amazing practice to build flexibility. Furthermore, it is extremely calming and helps with all kinds of stress related problems. In addition to that the deep stretch can help to release stuck emotions, as they are stored in tight parts of the body, as for example in the hips. Therefore, it’s the best practice to go for if you want deep relaxation.

πŸ‘Ž As you see Yin Yoga is very calm and thus not suitable for those who want an intense workout.

There are far more styles than those that I have listed here, but they all provide wonderful benefits for your whole being. I invite you to try out different classes and see which style you like most. You don’t even have to stick to one style, you can switch and change your practice as you like. In the end the most important thing is that you enjoy it and have fun! So start practicing and see what wonders Yoga can do for you!

What is you favorite style of Yoga? Do you like to visit classes or do you prefer to practice on your own? Let me know!
Namaste πŸ’œ

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Body

How to eat healthy

πŸ“Έ Header Picture by @livepurejenna
The right diet is an essential topic as we are literally made out of the things that we consume. Our cells are build from the nutrients that our food contains, so we know that we are better off eating healthy foods. But in a time where every kind of information is available for everyone, it is hard to discern myth from truth and most of us are confused when it comes to healthy eating.  

As it turns out there are at least some guidelines in which most scientists agree:

  • Plants are the most important food

They are rich in fiber nutrients and phytochemicals, which our body needs to stay healthy. Have you ever seen someone who claims that they are only eating raw fruits and vegetables? Many of those people seem to be glowing from the inside out. That’s phytochemicals at work there. For more information see this site.

  • We should eat lots of raw foods
  • We should avoid “bad” processed foods and refined sugar

Apart from that opinions differ so vastly, that it is nearly impossible to really set up one standard for a “healthy diet”.
Still, most of us know that we should avoid the “bad”, processed foods and opt for a natural diet. But there are so many trends concerning the “right diet” that it’s easy to get lost and confused. Diet is a very emotional topic. As the saying goes “You are what you eat.” When questioned about their beliefs about diet people are easily offended and therefore discussions about nutrition can get very heated and misleading. 
Furthermore, we tend to rely solely on outside information for what we should eat to be healthy. Which, in my opinion, is completely crazy. Most people would rather type everything that they eat into an app that should tell them how much calories they still need and which nutrients are missing, than simply check how they feel. I’m not saying these apps are completely useless, but they only provide general information for nutrients and are in no way suited to the person. Even if the app knows your weight and activity level, everybody is different and it’s not possible to determine your need for nutrition just by these two measurements. What just baffles me is  that we would rather trust some random statistic than our own body. This distorted belief and too much sugar, addictive chemicals and mental conditioning have left us completely out of touch with our inner wisdom. 

❗️In order to be healthy we need to reclaim the connection to our body. 

It is important to learn to trust that your own body knows best what it needs and that it tries to communicate that to you.
So how can we restore the connection to our body’s needs?

  • Listen to your cravings

Craving certain foods might be just a mental habit to numb certain unpleasant feelings (in that case you should try to work these feelings out instead of eating, try these techniques).
But most of the time cravings tell you that your body lacks a certain nutrient. For example, craving chocolate can indicate a deficiency in magnesium. If you want more information, checkt out this site.

  • Do this magical exercise to let your body tell you if it likes a food 

This might seem a little super stichious, but magically it does work. I learned this technique from the wonderful book “Finding your way in a wild new world” by Martha beck (an amazing book by the way!) and it really is an amazingly easy guidance excercise. So here is how it works:

1. Find out your body’s positive and negative sway reaction  

Stand tall and straight, directly over your feet. Repeat the word “pain” three times and see in which direction your body sways (this can be really subtle so stay attentive) This is your negative reaction. Then repeat the word “calm” three times and again see in which direction your body sways, this is your positive reaction.

2. Check if a food evokes a positive or negative reaction 

Take the vegetable or fruit in your hand and try to become really aware. Then see where your body sways to.

3. Eat the foods which evoke a positive reaction 

Simple as that. And enjoy it.

  • Get creative with healthy foods

Even if you are a person who doesn’t like vegetables, trust me there’s a way in which you will enjoy them too. You just got to find out what you like. There are so many ways. You can eat raw, steamed, mashed, put plants in (green) smoothies… the possibilities are endless, you just have to be creative.

  •  Eat when you are hungry

That may sound simple but in reality most people don’t do it. Sometimes we eat out of boredom even if we’re not hungry, other times we refuse to eat at all because we want to stick to some rule that we think will make us healthy. That’s crap, your body knows exactly when it needs food and when not. Listen to it, not to some guy on the internet.

These methods will reinstall a connection to your inner wisdom. On top of that there are some simple guidelines which will increase the benefit you get out of your food immensely:

  • Eat with awareness 

Being aware while you eat makes it easier for your body to digest the food, increases you connection with your body and will prevent overeating. Sometimes this can be hard as we are so used to eating in front of the TV or while using our phone, but trust me if you practice this for some time it will become easier and you will enjoy your food so much more.

  •  Celebrate every meal

It is amazing that your are blessed to eat this wonderful food that nourishes and heals your body on a daily basis! So every meal should be given the time and space it deserves. Feel grateful for this gift and enjoy it fully.

  • Eat with somebody

Try to celebrate your meal with somebody else. On top of the other benefits just mentioned this will also increase your connection and will make you feel nourished on a soul level.

  • Presentation matters

We are visual animals, so we choose the food that looks appealing to us. If you want your food to make you really happy, just arrange it beautifully. If you need inspiration, just head over to instagram, you will find the most mouthwatering pictures there.

(Just look by looking at this food I become way happier!)


Picture by @thrivingonplants
I hope that this will help you to reclaim you own inner wisdom! And remember, eating is a wonderful thing that should bring us joy, not stress.
So what kind of diet do you eat? Do you have any other tips about how to get back in touch with our bodies?

Namaste πŸ’œ