Last week I asked what your first yoga experience was like and shared tips to help those who may be apprehensive about starting a yoga practice or possibly thinking yoga isn’t for them.
I mentioned that yoga is a very personal practice, there are so many styles out there ranging from athletic to more passive, restorative. It’s worth taking time to experiment to see what feels good for you and your body.
According to some
So here are some common terms used to describe 7 yoga styles to help you anticipate what you might expect from the class.
Based on ancient yoga teachings, Ashtanga was brought to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 1970s. It’s an athletic style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures synchronising breath and movement. It is the inspiration for all vinyasa-style classes. Traditionally, Ashtanga is taught ‘Mysore’ style, meaning you learn a series of postures at your own pace in a group setting with a teacher guiding you when necessary. There are also teacher-led classes. Since one pose flows into another, it becomes like meditation in motion, as the practitioner learns to focus the mind and simply observe without judgement.
Hatha is often used as a very broad term to cover any of the physical practices of yoga. Classes are usually gentle, slower-paced, alignment focused with no flow between poses. You may practise seated meditation at the end. It can be a good introduction to the most basic yoga postures but don’t mistake gentle for easy. My first yoga practice was Hatha. I felt so good afterwards, more relaxed, flexible and stronger over time and I enjoyed most of the postures but in my particular class, there was always one ‘peak pose’ that would challenge my mind and body every single time! Mostly my mind, I discovered!
The room is heated so expect to sweat a lot. The heat warms the body from the outside just as yoga postures (asanas) warm the body from the inside. The idea is that you may go deeper into a pose than you normally would and classes are physically challenging especially with the heat. The practice is designed to work your body, requiring full concentration, releasing toxins and stress. The idea is to create a fit body and mind to unify the physical self with the spiritual self.
One of the most traditional styles of yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. It is very precise with a very strong emphasis placed on correct alignment. Movement is slow, only a few poses are
Many vinyasa classes are based on the Ashtanga approach as poses flow from one to the other
Focusing on maintaining mobility in the deep connective tissue (fascia and ligaments)
It is worth experimenting different styles so you can find one that suits your body, physical condition and resonates with you. Regular practitioners often switch it up, perhaps incorporating a restorative or yin yoga in their more physical weekly routine.
Which styles have you tried or would like to try?
For a taste of vinyasa come and join these yoga classes. Ideal before you go to