Did you know that there are several different types of yoga, each with its own particular benefits for the body, heart, and mind?
Based on the teachings of ancient yogis, Ashtanga was popularised in the West by K Pattabhi Jois in the 70s. It’s rigorous, following a particular sequence of postures and linking each movement to the breath.
Ashtanga yoga is a powerful tool for tuning your body, improving balance, coordination, and focus. It’s swift and intense and will instil a sense of rhythm while you increase your grasp of how your body flows and moves.
A generic term, Hatha yoga refers to any type that teaches physical postures, so almost all classes these days are a form of Hatha yoga.
Think of it as robust exercise not just for your body but your mind as well and look forward to increasing balance, flexibility, and strength and reducing stress levels.
Developed and then introduced to the world by B.K.S. Iyengar, this style of yoga is a very meticulous one where you’ll pay a lot of attention to finding the proper alignment for each asana. Props are widely used in these classes too, so arm yourself with the necessary blankets, blocks, bolsters, chairs, and straps.
Its emphasis on getting the asanas exactly right means you’ll be strengthening the muscles you use for posture, your back, core, and legs. Smaller muscles that are often ignored become much stronger with style.
This kind of yoga is derived from Kundalini, which is defined in Vedantic culture as the energy that lies inactive at the base of the spine until it gets activated and intentionally channelled upward through the chakras in the pursuit of spiritual perfection.
You’ll find a focus on breathing exercises, mantras, and physical poses with this branch of yoga and a strong emphasis on meditation.
If you are more interested in the spiritual side of yoga than on physical exertion, then Kripalu is probably right up your alley. You’ll concentrate on deep relaxation, meditation, pranayama, and self-reflection instead of bending your body into the many different shapes asanas come in!
The aim is to destress your mind so that your body can achieve perfect health and you can enjoy more self-awareness.
Restorative yoga is a wonderful way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Also referred to as Yin yoga, these classes use blankets, blocks, and bolsters to prop you into passive poses so your body can reap the benefits of these without your having to exert much effort.
A good Restorative yoga class can be as rejuvenating as a nap and you’ll often find them offered on Friday nights, at the end of another long week for most of us!
Vinyasa yoga classes are known for fluid practices requiring intense movement and there’s a focus on smoothly transitioning between poses, linking your breath to each movement.
This style will increase your endurance and strength while improving your balance, fitness, and stability.