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Exploring Different Styles of Yoga

Whether you’re new to yoga or have a longstanding dedicated practice, we thought we would shed some light on the vast array of yoga styles around today. Maybe one speaks to you as something you’d like to try, or if you’ve mastered one style, perhaps it’s time to branch out and try another? Classes range from restorative & meditative right through to physically demanding. The choice is yours.

Hatha yoga

The Sanskrit term “hatha” is an umbrella term for all physical postures of yoga. In the West, hatha yoga simply refers to all styles that are grounded in a physical practice. This physical-based yoga is the most popular and has numerous styles. Hatha yoga classes are best for beginners since they are usually paced slower than other yoga styles. Hatha classes today are a classic approach to breathing and exercises. If you are brand-new to yoga, hatha yoga is a great entry point to the practice.

Yin yoga

This is a slow-paced style of yoga with floor-based postures that are held for longer periods of time. Yin is a great class for beginners, as postures can be held from 45 seconds to two minutes. Yin can also be a meditative yoga practice that helps you find inner peace. The classes are relaxed, as you’re supposed to let gravity do most of the work.

Lyengar yoga

Iyengar yoga was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar and focuses on alignment as well as detailed and precise movements. In an Iyengar class, students perform a variety of postures while controlling the breath. Generally, poses are held for a long time while adjusting the specifics of the pose. Iyengar relies heavily on props to help students perfect their form and go deeper into poses in a safe manner. Although you won’t jump around, you will definitely get a workout and feel incredibly open and relaxed after an Iyengar class. This style is really great for people with injuries who need to work slowly and methodically.

Kundalini yoga

This practice is equal parts spiritual and physical. This style is all about releasing the kundalini energy in your body said to be trapped, or coiled, in the lower spine. These classes really work your core and breathing with fast-moving, invigorating postures and breath exercises. These classes can involve chanting, mantra, and meditation so enter with an open mind.

Bikram yoga

If you are looking to sweat in yoga, this is the style for you. It is named after Bikram Choudhury and features a sequence of set poses in a sauna-like room—typically set to 40 degrees with high humidity. The sequence includes a series of 26 basic postures, with each one performed twice.

Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa means “to place in a special way” and in this case yoga postures. Vinyasa is the most athletic yoga style. Vinyasa was adapted from Ashtanga yoga in the 1980s. In Vinyasa classes, the movement is coordinated with your breath and movement to flow from one pose to another. Vinyasa styles can vary depending on the teacher, and there can be many different types of poses in different sequences.

Ashtanga yoga

In Sanskrit Ashtanga is translated as “Eight Limb path.” Ashtanga yoga involves a very physically demanding sequence of postures, so this style of yoga is definitely not for the beginner. It takes an experienced yogi to really love it. Ashtanga has a set sequence of postures that can sometimes expect to be known, with students flowing at their own pace.

Each teacher, studio and style will add their own spin on things so make sure that you explore all of your options & break out of your comfort zone before settling into your own practice.


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