Yoga…sometimes this term can strike fear into a beginner’s mind but don’t worry – Today on the blog we decode the some of the most popular yoga styles to help you decide which one suits you best! Many yogi masters note that yoga is the practice of intention. But what does that mean? Your intention or reason for practicing yoga is unique to YOU! It can be anything from wanting to become more mindful to relieving pain, yoga is a unique form of exercise. We explain 5 yoga styles below…
Rather than being a style of yoga, Hatha is a general term that encompasses any of the physical styles of yoga. These classes are often a great place to start yoga as they provide an introduction to the basic poses in a relaxed setting. The word Hatha is the Sanskrit word for ‘Forceful’. The Sanskrit word Ha translates to ‘sun’ and Tha to ‘moon’, equating to Hatha being the yoga practice of balance. Hatha is also where almost all modern styles of yoga are derived from. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.
Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is a Sanskrit word for a phrase that roughly translates as “to place in a special way”. It is a style characterized by stringing postures together so that you move from one to another, seamlessly, using breathing. It is often referred to as ‘flow’ yoga. With this style, there is a lot of movement and variety so it is a good one to go with if you want to get sweaty! Vinyasa typically begins with a number of sun salutations to warm up the body for more intense stretching done at the end of class.
Ashtanga yoga is a more challenging style that centres on sun salutations as well as nine seated positions. It was one of the first yoga styles embraced by numerous western students and has been influential in the evolution of yoga in recent decades. The crucial difference is that Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. It is more physically demanding but is one for building core strength and toning the physique.
This refers to yoga practiced in a warm, climate-controlled room with temperatures typically at 40 degrees Celsius. When the heat is cranked up this increases the intensity of the class and for those less flexible practitioners, it can help loosen tight muscles. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes make use of these. Due to the heated conditions of the classes, you will be sweating profusely – so don’t forget a water bottle and a towel!
As the name suggests, restorative yoga looks to restore the balance of mind, body and soul. With this style, the yoga sequences involve a few poses (5/6 to be exact) held for extended periods of time which allows practitioners to open their bodies through passive stretching. These classes are usually very relaxing and their slower pace and soothing movements result in a refreshing and open feeling at the end of each session. The beauty of restorative yoga is that there is no muscular contraction involved which means you still stretch, but you relax fully in the stretch so that tension can slowly be released.