Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.
You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.
~ Dr. Seuss
When it comes to yoga, I’ve always had a wandering eye. I’m attracted to different styles, fresh methods and new research. I love the variety yoga has to offer and the fact that I never stop learning from it. It was one of the biggest motivators for me to quit my job last year and dedicate myself to traveling, writing and yoga. I knew the yoga world had so much to offer and I wanted to get out there and experience as much of it as possible. I felt like as a yoga teacher I could offer more to my students if I had a breadth as well as a depth of knowledge to draw upon. On my travels so far, I’ve done classes with teachers of Yin, Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini and Hot yoga and there’s still many more types I want to try.
I’m often surprised, in fact, when people say that they don’t like yoga. I mean, for a start, really? How can anyone not like yoga? What’s wrong with them? Jokes aside, though, there are so many different styles of yoga out there, I honestly believe that there’s something to suit every personality, body type and mood.
Ashtanga All Day
I went through a six-month period of trying to “settle down” and commit to a more disciplined yoga practice. During this time, I practiced the primary series of Ashtanga yoga six days per week. And I have to say, I did feel the benefits. My strength and flexibility both improved significantly, I found a mindfulness and focus in my yoga practice like never before and I learned a lot about myself. I must admit, though, I still squeezed in some extra Yin yoga practice every week; I felt my body and mind needed it to balance the dynamism and power of the Ashtanga approach. (Learn more in Yin Yoga: 4 Benefits of Surrendering to Your Yoga Mat.)
Going With the Vinyasa Flow
But then I started traveling and rediscovered the joy of taking different yoga classes again. I found myself practicing Vinyasa yoga regularly and I loved the creativity of its sequences. Every morning was different. I’d flow through the class, never knowing what was coming next and I’d be faced with all these new challenges and different ways to move. Bird of paradise pose, standing splits, handstands: My body loved it, and I felt energized and excited by yoga in a way that I hadn’t for a long time.
Balancing in Hatha or Yin
I’ve now made peace with my yogic infidelity and I’ve come to believe that, like the Dr. Seuss poem, there are different days for different types of yoga. On days I’m feeling overstimulated and I’ve been rushing around too much (which, to be honest, is most days), I need Yin yoga. The long, deep holds help me to find balance and center myself again. When I’m feeling tired, I like Hatha yoga. I can take my time to feel my way into postures and let myself mentally arrive back in my body. (Learn more about this traditional style of yoga in The History of Hatha Yoga.)
On days when I wake up and feel the need to move, I love a dynamic, vinyasa flow practice to get my blood pumping and burn off some excess energy. And if I’m craving familiarity and comfort, I revert to my Ashtanga primary series practice. I know the practice will work its magic on my body and mind, and I love that I don’t have to think about what to do next. It just happens.
My Best Days Are Still to Come
But, most of the time, I simply come to my mat and see what happens. I love taking the time to tune into my body and mind and see what it’s asking for on that particular day. I find that the less I try to control it, the more satisfying my practice. More often than not, I’m surprised at what I end up doing. I might begin my warm up not really feeling like doing much at all, but once I start, the practice seems to generate its own energy and flow. Or I’ll begin feeling agitated and moving quickly, and find that by the end of the practice I’m melting into long, grounding forward bends and hip openers.
What’s next? I’m really keen to try Aerial yoga. I have a feeling it might be just the thing to brighten up mundane Monday mornings...