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What style of Yoga is right for me ?



Yoga can be traced back to ancient scriptures, dating back to over 5000 years ago. With its roots firmly grounded in Hinduism and Buddhist teachings Yoga has certainly stood the test of time.


Between its first appearance and now there have been refinements, additions and break away groups resulting in the ‘Yoga’ we know in the Western world today. When we refer to Yoga with our friends and families we are often referring to Asanas, which is only one limb of the Yoga teachings. The asanas are the physical movements related to Yoga, these too have gone through transformations and editions resulting in various ‘styles’ of Yoga. So what are these styles and what can you expect when you walk into a class.



Vinyasa


So you have arrived at a class titled Vinyasa, what can you expect ? Vinyasa, also sometimes fondly referred to as ‘cardio Yoga’ is dynamic in nature. You can expect lots of dynamic movement, flowing from one Asana ( pose ) to another through sequences, each movement matched with the breath. Vinyasa is great for someone who wants to move, maybe get a little sweaty and feel that the muscles are being pushed out of their comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong though, you do still get the meditative benefits of Yoga but generally this happens through the movements and flows. By matching the breath patterns to the movement you are still achieving the calm meditative state we are all searching for when it comes to a Yoga practice but without having to think about it. From a personal perspective I enjoy Vinyasa, having battled with anxiety my whole life, if I lie in Savasana and attempt to calm my mind, that is exactly when my ruminating thoughts find a gap to really get going. I find myself calm after a Vinyasa class without having to try too hard.


However, it is not ideal for someone with impaired movement functionality such as major injuries, however, many Yoga instructors should be able to offer modified flows for minor injuries or smaller problems.


Yin

If Vinyasa is our movement hero Yang, then Yin is its Ying. Yin is a much slower-paced style of Yoga, mainly focusing on seated or supine poses that are held for a long period of time. Not much sweating going on here, but certainly great for deep stretching and some inner focus work. Generally, the Yin teachers are much more likely to bring in some chakra talk, inner world focus and guided meditations into the practice. Great for beginners who want to move slowly through the poses. The inflexible can be propped, padded and made to feel comfortable as well, all while finding the great inner peace.


Hatha

Hatha is generally a broad term used to describe slower paced Yoga sequences. This ‘umbrella term’ according to Healthline is a style of yoga where “you move your body slowly and deliberately into different poses that challenge your strength and flexibility, while at the same time focusing on relaxation and mindfulness.” This general term can be used to describe many of the styles we may find in YouTube searches, when you've seen Yoga on TV or you allow the idea of 'Yoga" to pop into your head, you are probably thinking about Hatha.


Ashtanga

Ashtanga is hectic but beautiful! Ashtanga revolves around a set sequence of poses, the classes are physically demanding but it feels great to progress and watch yourself achieve poses you weren't able to, when you first started. I like to think of Ashtanga as a way to set SMART goals in Yoga and a nice way to benchmark your progress. Each time we do the same sequence we get better at it. Aside from this, its repetitive nature and again matching the breath and movement, means that generally after an Ashtanga session you feel revived and revitalised.


Certainly not for the Yoga newbie (nor for the faint hearted) but if you have been doing Yoga for a little while its certainly worth giving an Ashtanga class a go.


Kundalini

Kundalini is one of the ‘physical’ asana practices that brings in an equal share of spiritual teachings as well. It revolves around freeing the energy from the base of the body, through the seven chakras and out of the ‘crown.’ This is achieved through physical movement, chanting, singing and meditation. Kundalini is not a class for a non-spiritual Yogi and some may feel slightly out of place at these classes however, if you are open to the spiritual side of Yoga these classes can be truly transformative. "The practice of kundalini is filled with really challenging breath exercises coupled with asanas and meditation," says Caley Alyssa.


Power Yoga

Power Yoga, also sometimes referred to as ‘gym Yoga’ is focused primarily on the physical movements, asanas, and can be a great way to build and develop strength in different areas of the body. Much like Ashtanga, this style of Yoga can get tough and sweaty however, in contrast to Ashtanga there is no predetermined sequence but rather open to creative practice from instructors. I personally love to teach and be taught Power Yoga due to the amazing feeling of physical strength that comes from regular practice but if you are looking for inner peace this is probably not where you are going to find it. Perhaps combining a Power sequence with a restorative or Yin ‘cool down’ and a mindfulness meditation in Savasana can check most aspiring Yogis boxes ?


Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga, although non-traditional, has gained momentum in the recent past. This style makes use of silk hammocks suspended from the ceiling. The hammocks can both support or challenge the body during variations of traditional Yoga poses. Most noticeably the inversion asanas (think upside down), can be assisted by these hammocks. Thus making certain poses accessible to some who may have not had the confidence to try them sans props. I, for example, am too nervous to do full headstands and other inversions even though I've been practising Yoga for over 13 years but when assisted with the aerial silks, I feel invincible and adventurous. Although, Aerial is probably not for everyone, those who don’t like being upside down may be challenged here.


So while we have delved a little deeper into each of the main styles of Yoga currently on offer, it doesn't necessarily cover how each style will make you feel as an individual. My best advice is to give a few styles a go, see what works for you and what doesn't. I firmly believe that there is a style of Yoga for everyone, we may just need to work through a few first. I’d love to hear from you, comment with your favourite style on our social media pages or pop me a message.



What styles of Yoga have you tried ?

  • 0%Vinyasa

  • 0%Kundalini

  • 0%Ashtanga

  • 0%Yin

You can vote for more than one answer.



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