If you are interested in starting yoga but you’re unsure as to which different kinds of yoga are out there and what they are all about then hopefully this will help you! As there are so many different kinds of yoga, I have given you a little list of a few that are out there.
Vinyasa in Sanskrit (the original language of yoga) means “flow” and if you’ve already heard about a “yoga flow” or “vinyasa flow”, this is what we’re talking about. We’re talking:
Concentrating on your breathing and moving according to it. So, you’re moving through different asanas during your practice, connecting them with your breathing e.g. you may be in plank pose and exhale into downward dog.
Vinyasa uses different kinds of yoga and is more athletic, so you’ll have a fair bit of variety so you won’t get bored of doing the same poses. And because of this variety, there are some yoga teachers out there that mix up their lessons with matching music to a certain flow- pretty cool!
I love vinyasa yoga, it may sound pretty chill, moving as you breathe, but it really does push you, make you work, sweat, and it challenges your strength and balance. Although you’re not holding poses for too long, it’s still great for building your endurance and as time goes on you’ll see and feel a change in your body where certain poses won’t be as difficult anymore or you’re not desperate to change to the next asana.
Traditionally, Hatha is known to be a slow kind of yoga where you hold certain poses for a few breaths before moving on to the next one. If you’re up for taking it slow and stretching out, this is for you.
Bikram is sometimes called the ‘original’ hot yoga, and it focuses mainly on 26 different postures and breathing. Typically, this kind of yoga is practiced in a hot room, so naturally, it’s a fairly sweaty form of yoga (even though others make you sweat too!)
It was initially more of a celebrity-branded yoga so you may come across a few celebrities that have documented/ commented on it. But if you wanna build up a good sweat as you yoga it out then this is for you.
Very slow kind of yoga that uses a lot of props e.g. bolsters, blankets, straps, chairs, blocks.
Less movement than vinyasa, however, this incorporates more movement than yin ( a little bit of info about it next). This will help build flexibility without pushing your body too hard and to be honest, being in these poses really can give your body the rest it needs. A different kind of rest than sleep- you use the props to relax in comfortable positions, e.g. putting a blanket under your hips/ lower back in savasana (corpse pose/ lying down) to release any tension in your back.
In the picture above there is an example of what bolsters look like. Now you can use these to lie on or perhaps imagine if you’re building flexibility in your legs. You’re lying down on your back and your legs are separated out to the sides in the air. You cant really relax here because your legs cannot go all the way down to the floor. What you can do is pop a bolster under each leg to support you. This way you are still stretching and increasing flexibility without straining yourself to keep the pose- you can relax and breathe into it. Another example would be, if you suffer from back pain, when lying down in savasana/ corpse pose, you can place a bolster under your knees to relieve and stress on your back.
Super slow yoga that uses props and involves remaining in the same poses for up to 5 minutes (maybe longer!). This will help you reduce stress, anxiety and helps you develop flexibility.
If you’re up for trying out a class then here are some tips:
1. Drink mucho (a lot of) water during the day so that you’re super hydrated and ready (especially for a hot yoga class)
2. Try not to eat too close to the lesson time- 2 hours before and just snack on a banana or something (especially for a hot yoga class)
3. Arrive on time- give yourself time to get comfortable in your surroundings, have a chat with new people etc
4. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in but also careful on the layers- if you’re going for hot yoga/ Vinyasa you will get hot, and you will sweat
5. Keep an open mind! If it’s your first time, try not to come in with too many expectations, let the class take you where it will
6. Listen to your body! If you’re experiencing pain you need to stop/modify the pose. Do not overdo your workout or it could lead to injury
As I have mentioned, yoga is a journey that is also to do with physical fitness. So no matter which kind of yoga you choose, with time you will notice how your body and your mind will develop and change. Not just by being able to do certain poses but you may just be slightly less stressed, or tired or perhaps more happy because you’ve been giving yourself some ‘you’ time every so often.
I hope this helped give you a bit more insight into some different kinds of yoga, if there are any requests for future posts e.g. if there’s anything, in particular, you’d like to learn/ hear about then please, let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading