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What yoga?

I've have been talking to lots of people recently about yoga, and many of them have been confused about the different styles of yoga and which one is right for them. Perhaps you too are interested in yoga but you don’t know your Hatha from your Vinyasa or your Rocket from your Iyengar?


The good news is that there is a style of yoga to suit everyone, whatever your body type or temperament, so here I thought it might be helpful to give you overview of some of the main styles of yoga to clear the confusion and hopefully help you to find a style and class that makes your heart sing!


Hatha Yoga

Rather than being a style of yoga as such, Hatha describes any kind of yoga where poses (asanas) are practiced. Hatha Yoga refers to all the other styles of yoga that are grounded in a physical practice. Hatha Yoga is a great place for beginners to start as they are usually slower-paced than other yoga styles and have a classic approach to breathing and exercises.


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is a style of yoga characterized by stringing postures together so that you move from one to another, seamlessly, using breath. Vinyasa classes offer a variety of postures and no two classes are ever alike. The variable nature of Vinyasa Yoga helps to develop a more balanced body as well as prevent repetitive motion injuries that can happen if you are always doing the same thing every day.


Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar and focuses on alignment as well as detailed and precise movements. Iyengar students perform a variety of postures whilst controlling the breath. Poses are mostly held for a long time whilst alignment is adjusted. Props are an integral part of the Iyengar practice to help students deepen their poses and perfect their form. Although students won’t be jumping around you will definitely have a workout and will feel incredible open and relaxed at the end. This style of yoga would suit those who like to work methodically and those who may have injuries.


Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga involves a very physically demanding sequence of postures and is therefore definitely not for the beginner. Ashtanga starts with five sets of a sequence called Sun Salutation As and then 5 Sun Salutation Bs and then moves into a series of standing and floor postures. It takes an experienced yogi to really love this style.


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is the most athletic style of yoga. Vinyasa means to “place in a special way” and was adapted from Ashtanga Yoga in the 1980s. In Vinyasa classes the movement is coordinated with the breath and movements flow from one pose to another. If you are looking for an energetic class which maintains focus on the breath and alignment this is the one for you!


Yin Yoga

This is a slow-paced style of yoga with seated 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 be an excellent meditative practice that will help you find inner peace.


Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga focuses on relaxing after a long day and stilling the mind. This style is focussed on body relaxation and you spend more time in fewer postures throughout the class. Many of the poses are modified to make them easier and more relaxing. Many props are used during the practice to support you and help you sink deeper into relaxation. When you are looking for a restful practice to help you wind down restorative yoga is a great place to go.


Hot Yoga

Hot yoga describes a number of different styles of yoga with one common element – they are all practiced in heated rooms with temperatures of approximately 40 degrees. Classes are also often held in a room with an elevated humidity level. The style is strongly influenced by a philosophy that believes hat practicing in an artificially heated space will more quickly and effectively generate the benefits associated with a yoga practice.


Rocket yoga

Rocket yoga was founded by Larry Schultz in San Francisco in the 1980s and is a fast-paced and dynamic style of yoga. It is based on the Ashtanga Yoga method. It has a wide celebrity following, each class is 75 minutes long and students are able to modify or alter traditional poses when they are stuck on them. This allows the practice to be more accessible to those who wouldn’t otherwise by able to practice the traditional method.


There are many more yoga styles, but hopefully this has given you an overview of some that may help you to get started on your yoga journey. Have a think about what you are looking to get out of a yoga class, experiment with different classes and teachers and find one that suits you. I’d love to hear how you get on!


Love and light,

Sarah.xx

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