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Which style of Yoga is for you?

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

So, you have decided to take the plunge into the big unknown into the world of yoga classes. But where do you start? How do you know your yin from your ashtanga?

What we need to remember is that Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice. Different types of yoga are more beneficial for different people.

So, with all the choices out there, where do you start? Don’t lose your ujjayi breath (yogic speak for that ocean wave sounding inhale and exhale), carry on reading and all will become clear.

Hatha Yoga

Let’s start with Hatha, it’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths.

Hatha is perfect for beginners as classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. The Sanskrit term “hatha” refers to any yoga that teaches asana (physical postures).

These classes are good for beginners due to the slower pace.

Vinyasa Yoga

This is my kind of style of practice, in Vinyasa means flow and this dynamic practice links movement and breath together in a yogic dance.

Vinyasa is a quick flowing class which is sure to raise your heartrate, often set to music Vinyasa is great for movement.

Vinyasa is good for those who enjoy HIIT training, running and those who enjoy continuous movement, the classes are great for those who find it harder to still the mind as the quick sequences and breath work, flow together beautifully to create a dance in the present moment.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a challenging yet methodical approach to yoga. Ashtanga consists of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat.

Ashtanga performs the same poses in the same order in each class. Some classes will have a teacher calling out the poses, while Mysore style classes require you to perform the series on your own.

These classes are best for the perfectionists amongst us who will enjoy ashtanga’s strict guidelines and routine.

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is exactly what is says on the tin; yoga in a heated environment. The heat will make you feel that you can get deeper into some poses compared to a non-heated class, it can be easy to overstretch, so don’t push beyond your capacity.

These classes are best for the heat lovers amongst us who love a tough workout that leaves them drenched in sweat. There are beginner hot yoga classes out there.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is very popular with celebrity’s, this style of yoga is mentally challenging and looks very different from your typical yoga class.

You’ll perform kriyas (repetitive physical exercises) coupled with intense breath work, while also chanting, singing and meditating. The goal of Kundalini yoga is to break down your internal barriers, releasing the untapped energy within you and bringing you a higher level of self-awareness.

This style of yoga is best for those seeking a more spiritual practice with its emphasis being on breath work and spiritual energy.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram is a sweat class consisting of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity.

All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence, so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. This is a vigorous class in a heated environment so remember to take it easy if you are new to this style of yoga or you may end up feeling a little lightheaded.

Bikram is popular with people who gravitate toward a set routine. Beginners may enjoy these classes due to its predictable sequence.

Yin Yoga

And last but not least is our beautiful slow flow yin yoga. Yin is perfect for those wanting to calm and balance your body and mind.

This is calming zen practice is the opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga. Poses are held for 2-5 minutes at a time and it is a deeply meditative practice. The aim of Yin is to target your deeper connective tissue and fascial network, restoring length and elasticity.

Yin often uses props so that your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked.

Yin Classes are best for those of us who need to slow down, stretch and unwind. Yin classes may not be suitable for those suffering with anxiety and deep depression who may benefit more for a faster paced class.

I hope that this quick run through of the different styles of yoga classes has been helpful. Should you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.

Sending you love and light.


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