In today's wellness-focused world, yoga has gained significant popularity. It is used as a holistic approach to achieving physical and mental well-being. With its origins rooted in ancient India, yoga combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote harmony and balance. However, with numerous styles of yoga available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. In this blog, we will explore various types of yoga to help you discover the perfect fit for your needs and preferences.
Hatha Yoga: Building a Strong Foundation
Hatha yoga is the foundation of all other style of yoga. It focuses on practicing individual postures (asanas) and breathing practices (pranayama). Typically it is a slow, gentle and beginner-friendly practice allows individuals to learn each pose without having to worry about transitions or trying to “keep up”. If you're new to yoga and seeking a slower, relaxing style of class Hatha yoga is an excellent starting point.
Vinyasa Yoga: Flowing with Energy and Movement
Vinyasa yoga, also known as flow yoga, is a dynamic and fluid style of yoga that combines breath with movement. It involves transitioning smoothly between poses, creating a continuous and intelligent flow. Vinyasa classes are often energetic and can be more physically challenging. If you enjoy a more active and faster-paced class that will strengthen your body, vinyasa yoga is the right choice for you.
Iyengar Yoga: Honing Precision and Alignment
Iyengar yoga is a style of yoga created by BKS Iyengar. It emphasises precision and alignment in each pose with the use of props such as blocks, straps, and blankets. If you appreciate a detail-oriented practice that helps enhance your body awareness and posture, Iyengar yoga is worth exploring. This style of yoga will allow you to learn and master each pose with precision and proper alignment.
Ashtanga Yoga: Embracing Discipline and Strength
Ashtanga Yoga, created by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, follows a specific sequence of poses, focusing on strength, flexibility, and breath control. Known for its intensity, this style is suitable for individuals seeking a physically demanding practice with a structured routine. If you thrive on discipline and enjoy pushing your limits, Ashtanga yoga could be your perfect match.
Bikram Yoga: Sweating it Out in a Heated Room
Bikram yoga, also referred to as 26 + 2, takes place in a heated room, typically around 105°F or 40.5°C, and follows a specific sequence of 26 poses. The heat is believed to facilitate detoxification and flexibility. If you enjoy practicing in a warm environment and prefer a predictable routine, try a Bikram yoga class.
Yin Yoga: Finding Stillness in Each Pose
Yin yoga is a slow-paced and introspective style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, such as ligaments, joints, and fascia, instead of focusing primarily on the muscles. It is a passive practice that involves holding poses for an extended period, typically ranging from one to five minutes or even longer. If you are looking to cultivate stillness in your practice Yin Yoga is the way to go.
Restorative Yoga: Relaxation and Stress Relief
Restorative yoga provides a gentle and soothing practice that uses props to fully support the body in each pose. This style promotes deep relaxation and stress relief, making it ideal for individuals seeking rejuvenation and tension release. If you wish to unwind and restore your energy levels, Restorative yoga offers a nurturing practice with zero effort required.
No such thing as “One size fits all”
There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach when it comes to styles of yoga. Know that it is not possible to go to a class that is for everyone is very important. Instead realise that there are many different styles of yoga and there certainly is a style to suit everyone when you know what you are looking for. Regardless of age, fitness level, or personal preferences you will find the right practice for you. Exploring different types of yoga empowers you to find a practice that resonates with you on physical, mental, and spiritual levels. Whether you seek a vigorous workout, a meditative experience, or a gentle and restorative practice, yoga holds numerous benefits for overall well-being. Remember to honor your body's needs and choose a style that aligns with your goals and intentions. So, embark on your yoga journey and discover the transformative power of this ancient practice.
About the Author
Paula Mitten is an internationally recognised yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer. She’s the creator of Durga Yoga Online, a Yoga Membership offering live and recorded short dynamic flow yoga classes. Paula is a teacher of teachers, teaching yoga for 18 years and facilitating teacher training since 2011. Having practiced many styles of yoga over the years Paula's passion is for vinyasa flow. She encourages self exploration and inner belief in her students and is committed to building a yoga community of support, connection and generosity. To try a short practice with Paula, go to her YouTube channel and take one of her free classes