Which Type of Yoga is Best for you?
Yoga is thought to have originated over 4,000 years ago somewhere on the Indian continent. Over the years it’s developed into various different disciplines and philosophies. With all the great health benefits – stress-relief, metabolism boosting, toning, anti-ageing and immune boosting – it’s hardly surprising that so many of us love to do it.
With there now being so many different styles of Yoga to explore, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s a list of some of the most popular practices which will help you decide the type of yoga that’s best for you.
Hatha Yoga is the most widely practised yoga style in the West and is great introduction to the discipline if you’ve never done it before. The term ‘Hatha’ is a general term that covers many of the physical aspects of yoga. It’s slow, gentle and combines physical exercises and postures. It also incorporates breathing techniques and meditation.
Best for: Beginners and those who want to wind down after a long day.
A bit like doing Yoga in a sauna with lots of very sweaty people! Hot Yoga can take place in up to 40°C and at least 40% humidity – almost like replicated the heat of India, where Yoga originated. This type of Yoga is extremely popular and people find the idea of working out in heat a very attractive challenge. It is thought that hot yoga has the ability to give your heart, lungs, and muscles an even greater workout
Best for: Anyone looking for a challenge but preferably who has attended yoga before as hot yoga can be any style of practise in heat
Like Hatha, Vinyasa is a general term that is used to describe many different types of classes. Vinyasa tends to provide a varity of changing poses – no two classes are the same. Vinyasa is also called ‘flow’ because of the continuous flow of movements from one pose to another. Each movement is matched to the breath which is where the word Vinysa comes into play. ‘Vinyasa’ means ‘breath-synchronized movement’ and so this type of yoga is just that.
Best for: Someone who likes to move and wants a faster paced yoga.
This is also referred to as ‘Power Yoga’ and requires constant movement – it’s not for the faint hearted. It combines strength and cardio and there is a constant movement from one pose to the next making it very physically demanding. It’s become popular over the past few years because of it’s athletic demands and many ex male and female athletes practice it.
Best for: The fittest of fiddles. Perhaps best to start with a different type of Yoga and build yourself up to Ashtanga yoga.
This type of yoga has become a celebrity favourite recently with stars like Russell Brand and Demi Moore being followers. The name ‘Kundalini’ refers to the energy of the ‘Root Chakra’ which surrounds the base of the spine. You will focus on your core and abs and around the spine mostly in this type of yoga as it aims to free up this energy.
Best for: Those interested in the spiritual aspect of yoga due to its focus on breathing, meditation and chanting.
Iyengar Yoga is a school of Hatha yoga that usually focuses on a different theme for each class such as strengthening your knees, aligning your spine etc. You practise each posture very precisely and accommodates everyone, giving them an understanding of what each move is doing for them. There are props used such as chairs, wooden blocks, harnesses, cushions and straps that makes it interesting.
Best for: This type of yoga is good for anyone with an injury and for people looking for a more methodical type of yoga.
This is an extremely relaxing type of yoga that is great for those who want to de-stress and chill out. There is more lying down than in many other practices and focuses on connecting your mind with your body. You can sometimes hold poses in Restorative Yoga classes for up to 10 or 20 minutes.
Best for: Those looking to relax and quieten their minds. Great for those who have trouble sleeping.
Some believe that prenatal yoga is the best type of exercise for Mums-to-be as it helps develop good breathing habits. It keeps the core strong, helps posture and pregnancy aches and pains. Postnatal Yoga is an good and gentle way to get back to fitness after giving birth and considers all the physical changes within the body in order to demonstrate safe practise. Best for: Expectant mothers (pre) and new Mothers (post)
Yin Yoga s a slow-paced style of yoga, with asanas (poses) that are held for longer periods of time than in most other styles. The typical length of time in which each pose is held is around 2 minutes, but this can vary depending on the level of difficulty. Best for: Those looking for deep relaxation and release of tension and tightness in the muscles, joints, ligments and tendons.
InstructorLive offers a range of Yoga classes and teachers to guide you through. Here are some of the classes on offer below:
Beth Win teaches:
- Asana Mindful Yoga
- Reset-Renew: Daily Yoga Practice
- Monks Method
- Yoga Core Connection
- Yoga for Better Posture
- Yoga for Better Sleep
Susan Yu teaches: