What are the different types of yoga – and which one is right for you?
Yoga is an ancient collection of physical and spiritual exercises that work to improve the body and the mind.
Originating in India, yoga has now become a staple of Western fitness – with boutique studios popping up all over the country.
You only have to take a quick look at the number of Lululemon-clad women walking to their local gym on a Sunday morning to know just how popular it has become.
But how many of us actually understand the kind of yoga that we’re practicing? If you’re a beginner, the sheer list of different yoga options can be completely overwhelming.
We asked MoreYoga instructor and studio coordinator Becky Crepsley-Fox for an explainer on the different types of yoga – to help you find the perfect class to suit your needs.
This class is brilliant for beginners.
Hatha is a general category for most yoga styles and includes the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises).
It is slow-paced, allowing you to spend the perfect amount of time in each posture to learn the correct techniques.
This is a wonderful ‘all levels’ class.
Linking the breath to movement is the key, designed to build heat, endurance, flexibility and strength.
Using sun salutations (also known as surya namaskar) as a template to heat the body and focus the mind.
This is a more advanced variation of a vinyasa flow class.
A fast-paced class with an emphasis on strengthening work, inversions are sometimes practiced too.
Also known as the eight-limbs form of yoga, this is a dynamic practice formed out of a traditional series of postures.
It is structured to start with sun salutations followed by standing sequence, seated sequence and then closing.
Rocket has its roots in ashtanga. This dynamic practice was created to get you there faster.
By adding inversions and arm balances, a more intense standing sequence plus lots of extra strengthening poses.
How to practice yoga at home safely
Always warm up. Every yoga class starts with breathing, stretching and smaller postures that articulate the spine, create space in the body and stretch the fascia to prepare you for your practice.
Start small. There is no point jumping into inversions or some of the more ‘Instagram-able’ poses. Especially if you don’t have trained eyes keeping you safe.
Nail the basics. Some of the simplest postures are the most difficult to do, and the easiest to do incorrectly. It’s important to get the essentials correct before progressing to a more challenging practice.
Anna Clifford, yoga instructor
This class incorporates meditation, chanting and sometimes philosophy alongside a fiery yoga practice. Expect hands-on adjustments and a creative flow.
Based on the teaching of Sri Dharma Mittra, a beloved and renowned yogi master, this is a devotional graceful practice. It is a strong practice but at a slower pace than the power classes.
Expect lots of backbends, twists and inversions with a variety of options to choose from. Finishing with a blissful relaxation and pranayama.
This practice is a moving meditation that empowers the whole body on a physical, spiritual and mental level.
If you love the restorative vibe but you need a bit more of a challenge, Yin is for you.
This class is formed of mainly seated or lying down postures. Holding the postures between two-seven minutes (or even longer). This is to get that deep stretch in key areas such as the hips and shoulders.
Using props to support you as you relax into the stretches. A must for those seeking to balance their practice with rocket or ashtanga.
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