Yoga doesn’t have to be grueling or difficult. There are many styles of yoga that focus on relaxation, connection and slowing down. Here are three types of ‘slow’ yoga.
Slow Flow Yoga
What? During slow flow yoga, the basic techniques follow one after another in a smooth, calm rhythm, which is determined by your breathing. By bringing attention to your breathing and connecting your movements to it, you increase your power of concentration. You can see slow flow yoga as a kind of moving meditation. Out of your head, into your body.
Why? During slow flow yoga you work on building strength, finding balance and improving your concentration. If you do it regularly, your posture improves and you can find peace more easily by bringing your attention to your breathing.
Who? This style is suitable for people who like to be active, but who, in power yoga, tend to lose themselves quickly in competitive behavior with themselves or others. For people with a lot of fire, slow flow yoga is a great way to find more peace and connect with their bodies.
Noteworthy Ujjayi, also known as ‘victorious breath’ or ‘ocean’s breath’, is used during slow flow yoga. If you execute this breathing correctly, it will create strength, balance and relaxation in your body.
What? Yoga Nidra is guided relaxation lasting from 30 to 45 minutes. The teacher leads you to a conscious deep sleep, in which you gain access to your conscious, subconscious and unconscious minds. The goal of this ‘yogic sleep’ is total relaxation of your body and mind. In the beginning it is difficult to lie with your eyes closed and not fall asleep, but it becomes easier if you do it on a regular basis.
Why? During Yoga Nidra, you reach a meditative state without having formally meditated. After even one lesson you’ll notice the benefits, such as stress reduction and better sleep.
Who? From children to the elderly. The only thing you need to be able to do in Yoga Nidra is to lie on the floor.
Noteworthy For people with sleep problems, Yoga Nidra is a good way to get to sleep. You can also practice this form of yoga yourself very easily at home; you’ll find plenty of sessions on iTunes and YouTube.
What? Sivananda yoga is a form of hatha yoga. Every form of hatha yoga is about connecting yin and yang, the sun and the moon, the masculine and the feminine principle—with all of the associated qualities. Connecting the active (yang/masculine) and the restful (yin/feminine) creates an optimal balance. In Sivananda yoga, the spiritual aspect is emphasized a bit more. Each class starts with an opening mantra, ends with a closing mantra and consists of twelve asanas always carried out in the same order, with the first pose being the headstand.
Why? You learn a lot about the five basic principles of yoga: proper nutrition (vegetarian), correct postures (asanas), proper breathing (pranayama), proper relaxation (savasana) and positive thoughts and meditation (Vedanta and dhyana). With all of these added up, you end up feeling nice and rested.
Who? Everyone who is looking for a nice mix of peace, philosophy and challenge. Noteworthy Besides the asanas, the focus is on the yogi lifestyle. Not many other yoga forms pay attention to mantras, to thanking the masters and to the magic of the body in every lesson.
- More forms of slow yoga can be found in Issue 26.
Text Fleur Baxmeier Illustration Ruby Taylor