- Mary Caldwell For the AJC
Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years, but it's enjoying newfound popularity.
In fact, it's among the top 10 most popular fitness trends for 2017, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
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Yoga emphasizes physical poses, breathing and meditation in an effort to clear the mind and strengthen the body.
It provides a total mind-body workout while strengthening your core, arms, legs, glutes and back. In addition, it stretches your muscles and increases your range of motion while also building strength and flexibility. Finally, yoga promotes a feeling of calmness and helps relieves stress and anxiety through deep breathing and relaxation or meditation.
One of the reasons why yoga is so popular is because it's versatile. It can be easily modified if you have an injury or condition, such as arthritis, that interferes with your mobility. Whatever your abilities and preferences are in terms of a relaxing session or a more high-intensity one, there's a type of yoga that will suit you.
Some of the most popular types of yoga are the following:
Hatha: This gentle routine combines a series of basic movements with breathing and is a good choice for beginners.
Bikram: Known as "hot yoga," bikram is performed in a room heated to approximately 105°. The same 26 poses, which emphasize steady holds, are performed in each class.
Vinyasa: This type of yoga is a series of poses that flow smoothly and fairly quickly from one to another. Each class is different, so if you like variety, this may be a good class to try.
Power: Power yoga burns calories and builds muscles, since it moves more quickly and includes more push-ups, squats and similar exercises.
Ashtanga: This vigorous style of yoga emphasizes a special breathing technique and has poses that become increasingly challenging.
Iyengar: Props can be used to help make the poses accessible, and the sequences of poses can be diversified.
Many yoga studios offer free introductory classes – or even a free week- so you can see how you like the type of yoga being offered, as well make sure your instructor is a good fit.
Studios that offer free yoga classes in Atlanta include the following:
Active Sol, 200 Bennett St. NW, Suite A, Atlanta. 404-236-YOGA (9642). www.activesolyoga.com.
Your first class is free, and you can then take all the classes you'd like to for 2 weeks for $25 or 4 weeks for $40 (new students only).
CorePower Yoga, five Atlanta locations, www.corepoweryoga.com.
CorePower offers a first week of yoga for free.
Yoga Samadhi, 27 Waddell St., Suite A, Atlanta. 678-231-1285. yogaatlanta.com.
Your first class is free at Yoga Samadhi.
Balanced Fit Life, 760 Confederate Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-551-4740. www.balancedfitlife.com.
An introductory class is offered for free.
In addition, once the weather gets warm, many instructors move out of the studio and into Atlanta's parks to offer free outdoor yoga classes.
The following is a county-by-county breakdown of some of the best yoga classes in metro Atlanta:
Marietta Bikram Yoga, 80 Powers Ferry Road SE, Marietta. 770-578-6555. bikramyogamarietta.com.
Hot yoga classes are offered, and they're designed to be challenging if you're already experienced in yoga but also appropriate if for beginners.
East Cobb Yoga, Olde Towne Athletic Club, 4950 Olde Towne Parkway, Marietta. 404-245-5530. eastcobbyoga.com.
Group classes as well as private instruction are offered, and you can also take a class in mindfulness.
Be Yoga, 105 Church St., Marietta. 404-642-1877. www.beyogaatlanta.com.
Be Yoga offers a wide variety of classes, including hot yoga, vinyasa and a yoga class for kids.
Vista Yoga, 2836 Lavista Road, Suite D, Decatur. 404-929-9642. vistayoga.com.
All classes include elements of hatha yoga, and prenatal and postpartum classes are also offered. Special events include a partner Thai massage cooking class that includes dinner.
Tough Love Yoga, 1530 DeKalb Ave. NE, Suite D, Atlanta. 404-919-1008. www.toughloveyoga.com.
Tough Love offers yoga classes for students of all ages and experience levels. They aim to make the experience accessible and affordable for everyone.
Decatur Yoga & Pilates, 431 W. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-377-4899. decaturhotyoga.com.
Decatur Yoga & Pilates has over 70 classes a week, and new students can take unlimited yoga and pilates classes for $35 for 30 days.
Roswell Yoga Life, 408 S Atlanta St. #157, Roswell. 770-299-1639. www.roswellyogalife.com
New students can take advantage of the $30 for 30 days deal. Classes include power + core yoga and yoga sculpt and flow.
onlYoga, 900 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 302, Atlanta. 404-537-2189. onlyoga.com.
Vinyasa and ashtanga classes are offered, and you can drop in for a single class, buy packages of 8, 12 or 50 classes, or purchase a monthly membership.
Lift Yoga, 501 South Main Street, Suite 101, Alpharetta. (470) 268–4362. liftyogastudio.com.
New students can have one month of unlimited yoga for $49. Classes include lift yoga flow, cardio yoga sculpt and vinyasa.
Yoga Dawning, 3449 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suite D, Suwanee. 678-699-9882. www.yogadawning.com.
Classes include mindful yoga, gentle yoga, flow yoga and restorative yoga. A class for people with Parkinson's Disease is also offered.
PranaHarmony, 1180 McKendree Church Road, Suite 203, Lawrenceville. 770-755-5344. www.pranaharmony.com.
PranaHarmony's first session introduces you to hatha yoga, and subsequent classes include raja yoga (which focuses on breathing) and jnana yoga (which emphasizes meditation).
The Yoga Source Studio, Fountain Square Business Center, Highway 78 and McGee Road, Snellville. 678-377-1991. www.theyogasource.com.
A basic hatha class is free for new students on Mondays. You can also try kundalini yoga, which is energetic and intense and closes with a seven- to 11-minute meditation.View full experience