Yoga is a practice that is thousands of years old. With various formations and types, it’s a practice that’s easy to pick up. It even pairs well with other meditative activities. But if you’ve never done yoga before — or you’re just stuck in the same old routine — it can be hard to figure out just where to begin or how to push yourself further in your journey.
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To get you started, we’ve got a roundup of 10 stories that focus on the various kinds of yoga you can do and offer ways you can elevate your yoga techniques at home and on the road.
1. Position yourself
Picking a yoga practice that’s right for you can be a challenge, and not all yoga is done in the same way. Hatha yoga, for example, is a general style that mixes standing and seated poses while focusing on your posture and breathwork. But vinyasa yoga quickly flows from one pose to the next, like an ever-flowing meditation. Plus, some yoga classes are performed in heated studios, offering their own unique set of challenges. Yoga instructor and retired pediatrician Johanna Goldfarb, MD, explains in this story how to pick the right yoga class for you.
2. Trauma response
Yoga isn’t just about physical exercise — it’s also about centering yourself and healing your mental and emotional well-being. This is especially true if you’ve experienced any sort of trauma. Trauma-informed yoga, according to yoga therapist Paula Brown, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is designed to help you slow down in a safe space, focus on the present, connect with your inner thoughts and become more aware of what’s happening in your body.
3. Coming clean with your mat
Diehard yoga practitioners may tell you that you should clean your mat after every use, but should you really? Goldfarb’s advice may shock you. Plus, there’s a difference between cleaning your personal mat and disinfecting the well-shared mat at your local yoga studio after every use.
4. Product placement
Sometimes, you just need a helping hand. These essential yoga props from Goldfarb will not only make some positions more manageable, but they’ll also help you reach your own personal goals for flexibility and awareness.
5. Easy squeezy
We all have to start somewhere, so why not start your yoga practice by modifying those really challenging poses with alternative methods for beginners. Whether you’re brand new to yoga or you’re a longtime yogi who just needs to get a leg up, these modifications from Brown can help.
6. Getting up right
Some yoga poses are more suited for morning practice because they’re energizing and focused on boosting flexibility. If you’re looking to get your day started on the right foot, these eight yoga poses from yoga therapist Judi Bar, E-500 RYT, are sure to get you fired up.
7. Twist and shout
Flexibility is good for you on and off the field. Whether you’re bending over to get something out of your kitchen cabinet, or you’re running late to the bus stop, flexing your muscles and strengthening your reach can make daily activities much easier to accomplish. These 14 yoga techniques from Goldfarb will help you feel more flexible in no time.
8. Hip, hop, hooray!
We tend to hold a lot of tension in our hips and lower back — especially if we sit working at a desk all day. These 10 hip yoga poses from physical therapist and certified yoga instructor Patti Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, RYT-200, can help focus relieving some of that tension in the major muscle groups that surround your hips.
9. Rest easy
A few meditative minutes at the end of your day can make a huge impact on washing away all the stress from the day and allowing you to climb into bed primed for a good night’s rest. These 10 bedtime yoga poses from Bar are a perfect way to round out your daily routine.
10. On the move
We all love a good vacation. But when you’re stuck in a car or on a plane for long periods of time, you can end up feeling stiff and tense by the time you reach your final destination. If you’re in need of quick relief in a pinch, these five seated yoga poses from Bar will help you loosen up while you’re on the road.