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I am currently doing the Strong Lifts program (pretty similar to Starting Strength). My hips and shoulders are giving me trouble when doing squats and the overhead press. I want to increase mobility/flexibility in those joints, but overall body flexibility is desired.

I have never done any type of Yoga. So which type of Yoga that focuses on flexibility/mobility would you recommend to a beginner?

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2 Answers 2

Below is a list of popular yoga styles which are probably available where you live. But of course there are a million approaches to yoga these days so it's not possible to list them all. Also it depends very much on the teacher and how much personal assistance you can get. It's always better to go to a small class with a skilled teacher.

Iyengar Yoga - Focuses on precise alignment in poses, and uses many 'props', blocks etc. This might fit your goals as well as it is quite safe because of the strong anatomical focus.

Ashtanga Yoga - A very dynamic style that gives the quickest results in flexibility and strength. The first posture series of ashtanga yoga has a strong focus on opening up the hips and hamstrings. However, I would not necessarily recommend it to you as it contains a lot of bodyweight strength elements which might conflict with your lifting goals (if you want to get bigger). There's also a higher risk of injuries.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga - Usually focuses on mobility, and improving circulation, rather than strictly flexibility. Poses aren't held for long, so it's less boring. Usually it's based on ashtanga so there's a good balance between strength and flexibility. However, there're many teachers and each approach it slightly differently so it's difficult to tell what you'll get.

Bikram Yoga - A fixed series done in a hot room. Focuses on flexibility, there isn't really much strength involved at all (at least compared to ashtanga). It probably meets your expectations, but I'd only recommend it if you do not have any cardiovascular problems (the hot is hard on you). Also, it is very much commercialized, the rooms are usually full so you'll probably get very little personal attention.

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How would yoga prevent you from getting bigger? –  Lego Stormtroopr Aug 19 '13 at 23:07
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In the same way any other movements that challenge strength interfere with recovery. Unless the OP is either already easily doing things like hand-stand-pushups and pistol squats for high reps, or purposely goes to a class below his or her level that is not challenging, Ashtanga series will challenge strength. –  Affe Aug 20 '13 at 17:22

I started practicing yoga regularly (2-4 times a week) a little over a year ago, and quickly found that Warm Vinyasa Flow Yoga was the best for me when it came to increasing flexibility. The warmer temperature allows me to loosen up a bit quicker, and the quicker, repeated flows allow me to notice a difference in my flexibility between the start and finish of class.

As BKE mentioned above, all instructors have different styles, so it's important to try a few different teachers to see which techniques are most beneficial for you.

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