Your simple guide to some of the most popular styles of yoga
Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Restorative, Yin yoga, Power yoga, Bikram Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Kundalini Yoga... and even BEER and GOAT yoga!
How are you supposed to know what one to choose and which one is best for you, and what you can expect to get out of it?
Here's my simple guide for you & it comes with a downloadable cheat sheet! The guide will give you the info you need and the cheat sheet will be a reminder once you familiarise yourself with the styles :)
(scroll to the bottom to find the cheat sheet)
*** Hatha ***
A general term used to describe quite a gentle type of yoga practice. Poses are held for a few breaths. Great for a beginner as well as a more seasoned practitioner.
Pace: relatively slow
Aim: to introduce you to basic yoga postures
Leaves you: feeling looser, more relaxed, over time builds up strength
*** Vinyasa ***
More intense than Hatha yoga, as you tend to flow from one posture to another. Sequences are varied and include a combination of different postures.
Pace: generally fast paced
Aim: to move through in a continuous flow of sequences stringed together by the breath
Leaves you: often sweaty! but feeling energised and rejuvenated
*** Ashtanga ***
A traditional and rigorous style of yoga which follows a specific series of movements linked together by the breath, in the same order every time.
Pace: physically demanding
Aim: repeating the same sequence every time allows you to anticipate what movement is coming and really tune into how the body is feeling in a particular pose & what the mind is doing
Leaves you: feeling tired but blissed out too!
*** Jivamukti ***
A style that is expressed through 5 tenets, including chanting and meditation. Offers different types of classes depending on how deep you want to delve into other aspects apart from physical practice.
Aim: to allow you to feel more connected to the world and recognise the oneness in everything - their motto is 'enlightenment through compassion'
Leaves you: complete :)
*** Restorative & Yin ***
Two very similar styles where students get into passive poses using props like blankets and bolsters. Little effort is required as the body is supposed to open on its own.
Pace: very slow
Aim: to get into the deep tissue and calm the nerves
Leaves you: very relaxed
*** Power ***
A fitness-based vinyasa practice. Can be seen as a Western spin on Ashtanga. Involves a lot of jumping around.
Pace: very fast
Aim: to build internal heat and burn calories
Leaves you: very sweaty but happy since the fast pace flushes the endorphins into your system
*** Bikram ***
Held in artificially heated rooms, and just like Ashtanga follows the same sequence each time.
Pace: physically demanding especially with the heat factor
Aim: to sweat out the toxins
Leaves you: drenched but feeling accomplished ;)
*** Iyengar ***
A style that is very much focused on finding the proper alignment in a pose. This is achieved through the use of various props, such a belts and blocks.
Pace: rather slow as alignment is the primary focus
Aim: with a strong focus on alignment it is a great style to turn to when looking to recover from major injury or improve a chronic condition
Leaves you: feeling like you've explored your body in a whole new way
*** Kundalini ***
Similar to Jivamukti in how chanting, meditation and breathing are incorporated together with the physical practice. It is focused on the subtle energies in our bodies.
Aim: to awaken your kundalini (the energy and consciousness that is said to be coiled up at the base of your spine) and allow it to flow freely through all energy centres, known as chakras
Leaves you: can help with certain emotional blockages
*** Other Variations ***
This is a category into which all the new variations fall into. Please note they are not official styles of yoga.
These include; yoga whilst holding a bottle of beer, yoga with a gin glass, yoga with goats jumping around you, yoga with rabbits, glow in the dark yoga...and so on!
What yoga styles have you tried? And what ones would you like to try now that you know what they are about?
Share in the comments below!
If you're in Suffolk, why not come and try some of those styles with me!?
I cover the first 3 styles listed in the guide (Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga). Find out more here.
May you find your favourite style of practice! Have a good weekend and week ahead, friends.