Yoga is becoming more and more popular among people who adopt healthy lifestyles. Some of the increasing popularity has to do with its reputation for being a great exercise that helps relieve stress. Finding a class used to be simple – your choices were limited because there weren’t as many people who were interested in taking up yoga. But as the number of yoga practitioners increases, so does the variety of classes and styles. The question is, how do you know which type of yoga is best for you? Here are some of the most popular yoga styles to consider.
If you’re a complete novice in yoga practice, then this is the perfect fit. Hatha’s poses are straightforward and casual. You perform a pose, come out of it, then do another – it’s as simple as that. Props and blocks are used to support your poses and to help you get the right alignment. You can grasp all the yoga basics here, whether it’s how to focus on breathing, relaxation or meditation. Hatha is essentially a gentle yoga routine that’s attainable for those who are just beginning to walk the yoga world’s long and winding road.
Looking for a challenge? Then you should give Ashtanga a try. This vigorous yoga style is ideal for athletes, since it focuses on moving from one pose to the next without rest. Ashtanga aims to generate heat in your body by performing a series of poses that become increasingly challenging as the class progresses. You can also practice Ashtanga for weight loss, since an hour of practice burns around 500 calories.
Derived from the calm half of “yin and yang” Chinese philosophy, this style requires you to move slowly into passive floor poses, which mainly work the lower part of the body, and stay there for up to five minutes to allow for a deeper stretch and greater relaxation. Yin yoga is particularly beneficial if you want to relieve pain and stress, as you’ll be practicing with meditative music and paying extra attention to breathing. If you’re exhausted or overstimulated, then Yin yoga is a perfect match for you.
Iyengar style helps your body recover from injury. Instructors are trained in biomechanics, and so have the expertise to understand which positions are most likely to cause injuries, and how to modify them by showing modification moves and using blocks and props to alleviate the intensity of the poses. Intervals between moves are longer, allowing you to perfect your position and avoid putting too much strain on the body.
Commonly referred to as hot yoga, Bikram is performed in a room heated to approximately 40 degrees celsius. Bikram helps rid your body of toxins – you’ll start sweating almost instantly, flushing out impurities through the skin. A traditional Bikram class focuses on repeating the same 26-pose routine in order to enhance your meditation. Practicing in a heated environment also elevates your heart rate, which makes the body work harder and in turn helps to develop strength and flexibility. Don’t forget to stay well hydrated before and after taking a Bikram yoga class!
Want to take advantage of yoga’s benefits? Unsure of what class to pick? Get in touch today and our experienced yoga instructors will be happy to help.