Workout Wednesday powered by
What it’s like: This is an ancient 6-series program rooted in traditional practices but popularized by Sri K. Patthabi Jois in the West in the 1970s. There are two styles of teaching Ashtanga yoga – led and Mysore. In Mysore-style classes, students who have memorized the series move at their own pace with one-on-one hands-on instruction from the teacher. Many followers of the practice will travel to Mysore, a city in southern India, to practice and train where the style originated. Led classes are ideal for beginners as the teacher cues poses for everyone to move through together. Each new series (primary, secondary and so on) builds upon the previous series and students don’t advance until the teacher invites them to do so.
Go if you want: A regimented, self-guided practice with room for growth into highly advanced postures
Where to find it in Charlotte: Okra Yoga and Y2 Yoga both offer traditional Ashtanga programs in addition to their regular classes.
What it’s like: Baptiste Yoga is a trademarked methodology created by Walt Baptiste in the 1940s and popularized today by his son Baron. The physical practice is a set series (the same sequence of poses every time) taught in a heated room. Baptiste also has a strong “self help” brand of yoga that pushes its 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. You’ll hear teachers talk about “standing in your power” and identifying your “true north alignment.”
Go if you want: A music- and mirror-free practice in a heated studio with a strong community feel
Where to find it in Charlotte: Yoga One is the only certified Baptiste affiliate in Charlotte. They have locations in Plaza Midwood and University.
What it’s like: Bikram Yoga is a set 26-posture sequence created by Bikram Choudhury. Poses are held anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds each with a focus on controlled breathing techniques. Classes should be taught in a 105-degree room at 40% humidity. Expectations for true Bikram classes are rigid and teachers must have completed an intense (and expensive, $12,000 – $16,000) 9-week training program in India.
Go if you want: A rigid, almost militaristic level of consistency delivered in a very hot room
Where to find it in Charlotte: Although you’ll find a number of “Bikram-inspired” studios here in Charlotte, Bikram Yoga Lake Norman is the only official certified affiliate in the area.
What it’s like: This prop-heavy yoga style utilizes straps, blocks, boards and harnesses to achieve “perfect” physical alignment. It was created by B. K. S. Iyengar who is widely credited with popularizing yoga in the West.
Go if you want: A strict focus on alignment with an aim for “perfection”
Where to find it in Charlotte: Phyllis Rollins, Erin Bailey and William McKee are the only certified Iyengar teachers in Charlotte and all three teach at The Yoga Center at 8th Street Studio.
What it’s like: Jivamukti is a more modern style of yoga created by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984. However, its foundation is rooted in more ancient yogic principles, focusing on five core tenets: shasta (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsa (non-violence), nada (music) and dhyana (meditation). It’s a more spiritual practice than a lot of the physical workout-style classes available.
Go if you want: A beautiful dance-like physical flow with a focus on meditation and spiritual alignment
Where to find it in Charlotte: Tai Dorn is the only Jivamukti certified instructor in Charlotte and she teaches at Okra Yoga.
Style: Power Yoga
What it’s like: Although Power Yoga is technically a trademarked style created and taught by Bryan Kest in Santa Monica, CA, the term is also used as a general umbrella to categorize a lot of intense, workout-centric physical yoga classes that don’t adhere to any one specific traditional style. Some traditionalists turn their noses up at it, but at their core, power yoga classes are still rooted in the same poses and philosophies that more traditional styles have relied on for centuries. The difference is that teachers are free to sequence poses however they see fit and classes are often taught to upbeat music.
Go if you want: A workout that pushes you physically but also delivers moments of zen
Where to find it in Charlotte: Y2 Yoga, Charlotte Yoga and Charlotte’s first forthcoming CorePower Yoga franchise are all examples of modern power yoga.
Not sure if it’s for you? Here are five common yoga misconceptions
If you’re going to try out any of these options, you should know that yoga is often misunderstood. Its benefits, however, are well known: increased flexibility and strength, improved balance and posture and stress relief to name a few. So is it right for you? Here are five yoga misconceptions.
• Yoga is only about deep breathing. The balance in yoga isn’t about just finding peace, but strengthening core muscles.
• I’m not flexible enough to do yoga. An instructor can help you with modifications or provide props to do poses correctly.
• I can get hurt doing yoga. One-on-one training with an instructor can be helpful when you first learn the yoga postures. Group settings can also be good, but let the instructor know you are new so they can spend extra time with you.
• Yoga is only for certain people. Many yoga studios offer classes suited for beginners, seniors or athletes.
• Yoga is expensive. There is only a little equipment needed and you can often borrow or rent a yoga mat.
Get more great advice from OrthoCarolina here.