Sticking with One Yoga Style vs. Doing a Variety of Yoga Styles

It is now almost a given that practicing yoga is good for the mind and body. The practice of yoga combines deep breathing, meditation and physical exercise, which improves the health of the body while reducing stress and helping improve mental focus. Most students of Yoga come looking for one or more of theses particular benefits and knowing how to best attain these goals can be daunting considering how many types of Yoga are offered. Although every yoga style can help improve the body and mind to a certain degree, each style has different benefits and methods of accomplishing the goals. Early on in one’s journey in yoga, I believe part of the fun and excitement is in the search for the  Yoga teacher, classes and style that resonates best and invites the enthusiasm and commitment that lead to success in the Yoga.

Exposure to different styles of Yoga and teachers has both benefits and traps for the student, Learning the breadth of this wonderful discipline with with the powerful practices is enjoyable and exciting. Each new insight or technique can seem to offer seen more benefits than the next and this can help to to offer a great view of how expansive  Yoga is and how it can be a support for so many of the challenges of life.

The risk of bouncing from one technique, teacher or style of Yoga to another to another and leaving when challenges begin can be the confusion, ineffectiveness and ultimately to disappointing results that happen when the promise of “quick and easy” results are derailed due to lack of consistent and persistent effort that helps overcome the obstacles in any endeavor. There then becomes the challenges of how to create a practice that has enough consistency and depth for one to make real gains in skill and benefits. The Buddhist have a metaphor that likens one who fails to persist in a consistent  practice despite obstacles and resistances as a well digger who digs many shallow holes and vainly expects to find waater.

So the balance of a strong committed practice and adherence to one style of r path is to be balanced with the flip side of this discussion: the question of whether there is enough variety of practices to keep the students interest and enthusiasm.

Below is a basic outline of some of the benefits and limitations of each approach.

Benefits of Sticking with One Yoga Style

Deciding to use only one style of yoga is a good choice because it allows a practitioner to master the style and get the full range of benefits associated with that particular type of yoga. According to Yoga Teachers of the Triangle Online (1), identifying the right style of yoga for personal goals and sticking with that style will result in feeling calm and invigorated.

The advantages of using only one style of yoga include:

  • Familiarity and satisfaction with each class
  • Mastering the movements
  • Getting the maximum benefit associated with the type of yoga
  • Moving and breathing at a preferred pace
  • Avoiding confusing between classes

By sticking to a single style of yoga, each class and each day of practice feels comfortable. The poses, pace and breathing techniques are comforting and cause feelings of serenity after identifying the right style of yoga for personal goals and interests.

Downsides of Only One Yoga Style

Although it is beneficial to use only one yoga style, it is possible that downsides might exist for some individuals. The possible disadvantages of using only one style include:

  • Limited growth on a physical level
  • Using the wrong style for personal goals
  • Getting complacent, which may result in accidental injuries

It is easy to assume at the beginning that using only one style of yoga will always result in benefits, but it is possible that personal goals and abilities will change. The style of yoga that is being used initially might not always be the best fit for future plans. It is also possible that injuries may occur due to complacency when the classes become a routine.

Advantages of Using Various Styles

Doing a variety of yoga styles may seem like a poor decision, but it can be advantageous for some individuals. In general, it is best to use a variety of styles until after identifying styles that are particularly interesting, sufficiently challenging and appropriate for personal fitness and mental health goals.

The benefits of using several yoga styles include:

  • Getting the maximum benefit to both the mind and body
  • Reaching fitness goals while maintaining meditative focus
  • Learning about different options that are available
  • Maximizing the crossover between styles

According to Yoga Journal (2), yoga styles do not fit into a neat category. Many of the styles have crossover techniques, poses and style elements. As a result, it is possible that using several styles of yoga can help improve fitness, mental health and spiritual goals.

Depending on the style of yoga, the specific focus of a class will vary. For example, some styles are slow and meditative with a focus on breathing and mental concentration. Other yoga styles focus on the physical aspects of poses and fast movements, which result in better fitness and flexibility. By practicing both styles, it is possible to get the maximum benefit of mental concentration, spirituality and physical fitness.

Disadvantages of Various Styles

Although various styles can benefit some individuals, it is not always the best approach for every person. The downsides of using various yoga styles include:

  • Getting confused during classes, particularly when the styles have similarities
  • Risking injuries during fast-paced classes
  • Getting involved in styles that are too advanced for current physical and mental condition

It is not always advantageous to use several styles of yoga at the same time. In some cases, it is best to stick to one style of yoga until meeting a specific goal and then changing styles if the original style is no longer suitable for future goals and plans.

Ultimately, it is a personal decision whether to use one style of yoga or various styles. For beginners, it may be best to try different options and select a specific style until after learning the poses and basic breathing techniques. More advanced practitioners may be able to balance various styles due to the amount of crossover that occurs in different yoga practices.

Enjoy the Journey!

Alan

(1) http://yttonline.org/styles.php

(2) http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/165