There are so many different types of yoga it’s hard to know which one will suit you best. It’s important to have a basic understanding of what’s on offer so you can choose the right one for your fitness level and your personal goals. Here is a quick guide to the different yoga styles.
Although it can be challenging, this style of yoga does have a sense of humour. A vinyasa-style practice, Anusara yoga is light-hearted, positive and fun and the focus is on expressing yourself to your fullest ability through the poses. Another good yoga style for beginners as you can go at your own pace.
If you think yoga won’t make you raise a sweat, Ashtanga yoga will change your mind. This style of yoga moves rapidly through a non-stop series of yoga poses and uses a special breathing technique to calm the mind and control the flow of breath through the body.
Otherwise known as Hot Yoga, this style of yoga is practiced in a room above 37 degrees with 40% humidity. Be prepared to sweat! It involves a series of 26 basic yoga poses that are each performed twice.
Hatha yoga by definition refers to a set of physical exercises, which speaks to most types of yoga you’ll find today. Hatha yoga classes are a great option for beginners as they offer a basic and traditional approach to yoga poses and breathing techniques.
If attention to detail is your thing, Iyengar yoga may be perfect for you. This style of yoga is detail-oriented, with an emphasis on precision and alignment. It’s a slower paced yoga and as such, is a good one for beginners. As with restorative yoga, Iyengar yoga uses props to help you perform the poses correctly.
A gentle form of yoga focussed on self-empowerment and an awareness of what your body is capable of. Kripalu yoga begins with slow movements and moves through three levels of deeper mind-body awareness and longer held postures and meditation.
Kundalini refers to ‘spiritual energy’ located at the base of the spine, like a coiled snake. This form of yoga is more philosophical than others and focuses on releasing this energy through poses and breathing techniques.
One of the most athletic forms of yoga, Power yoga (often called ‘gym yoga’) is well suited to those who like to work up a sweat. It incorporates poses as in Ashtanga but does not follow the same sequence. Power yoga focuses on strength and flexibility.
As it’s name suggests, prenatal yoga combines a series of poses carefully adapted for expectant mothers to keep them fit and strong throughout, and post, pregnancy.
Restorative yoga is a relaxed form of yoga that concentrates on stillness and a calmer state of mind. The use of props such as pillows, blankets and straps, support and align the body as you ease into each yoga pose – no need to strain yourself trying to hold unnatural poses!
Sivananda takes a holistic approach to yoga focussing on finding balance between exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet and positive thinking. It’s a slower paced yoga typically of the same 12 basic poses each time and classes may include chanting.
Viniyoga is a highly personalised form of yoga where poses are adapted to suit your needs and abilities. It’s common for viniyoga teachers to work one-on-one with students to achieve the desired outcome of this style.
Also called flow yoga, Vinyasa is a gentle form of yoga that moves from one yoga pose to the next, in an almost dance-like fashion, focussing on inhaling and exhaling. Ashtanga, Anusara, Bikram and Power Yoga are all forms of Vinyasa.
If you like meditation and have a lot of patience, Yin yoga may be the one for you. The focus is on the lengthening of tendons and ligaments to increase circulation and improve flexibility. It’s a slow-paced, meditative style of yoga where poses are held for longer periods of time. Yin yoga is commonly practiced to complement other forms of yoga or exercise.
Now it’s time to get bendy!