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Aesthetic vs. Functional Yoga: Finding Your Path on the Mat

Colynn teaching several people yoga, them all in downward facing dog

Hello, Yoga Friends!

In our colorful world of yoga, there are many paths to explore. Today, let's chat about two distinct approaches: aesthetic yoga and functional yoga. As a middle-aged, queer, alignment-focused yoga teacher, I see beauty in both but also recognize their unique differences. So, grab your mat, and let's dive into what sets these two apart.

Aesthetic Yoga: The Art of the Pose

Aesthetic yoga is like the yoga you often see in magazines or on social media. It's visually stunning, with perfect poses and picturesque backgrounds.

Focus on Form:

Aesthetic yoga emphasizes the external appearance of yoga poses. It’s about achieving that picture-perfect pose that looks like a work of art.

Challenges and Considerations:

While it's beautiful to look at, this approach can sometimes lead us to push our bodies beyond their comfortable limits. It might also lead to comparing ourselves with others, which isn’t what yoga is truly about.

Who Might Enjoy It:

If you’re someone who loves the challenge of mastering complex poses and enjoys the visual aspect of yoga, aesthetic yoga might resonate with you.

Functional Yoga: The Body’s Wisdom

Functional yoga, on the other hand, is all about how your body feels in a pose rather than how it looks.

Alignment and Sensation:

This approach focuses on alignment and the internal experience of yoga. It’s about understanding and respecting your body’s unique structure and needs.

Benefits and Safety:

Functional yoga reduces the risk of injury and is incredibly inclusive. Whether you’re young, old, athletic, or new to exercise, functional yoga adapts to you.

Who Might Enjoy It:

If you're more interested in the health benefits of yoga, how it feels in your body, and personal growth, functional yoga might be your path.

The Middle Ground

The beauty of yoga is that it's not a one-size-fits-all practice. You might find yourself drawn to the artistic expression of aesthetic yoga one day and the body-awareness focus of functional yoga the next.

Listening to Your Body:

The key is to listen to your body. It’s okay to admire the beauty of a perfect pose, but it’s also important to honor your body’s limits and needs.

A Personal Journey:

Yoga is a personal journey, and your practice can be as unique as you are. Whether you lean towards aesthetic, functional, or a mix of both, what matters most is that your practice brings you joy, health, and peace.

Conclusion:

In the end, whether you choose aesthetic yoga, functional yoga, or a little bit of both, remember that the heart of yoga is self-discovery and self-care. It’s a practice that invites us to explore and embrace our unique selves, on and off the mat.

So, dear yogis, I encourage you to explore, experiment, and find the style (or styles) that resonate with you. And most importantly, have fun with your practice!

**

Happy Exploring,**

Your Yoga Guide on this Journey

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