Whilst yoga has become particularly popular in recent years, it is considered to be an ancient practice, stemming back thousands of years. Throughout this time, a number of different styles of yoga have been created, making it easily accessible to everybody.
A common misconception is that you have to be a flexible, slim-built, health addict to go to yoga, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are classes to cover all levels for all people, from beginner who has never stepped foot in a yoga class before, to yoga novice who has travelled the world working on their practice.
There are countless styles of yoga, including hybrid forms that take elements from each of the major styles. This article aims to outline 9 of the most popular kinds in order to prove how inclusive it is.
Hatha is an excellent style for beginners and one of the most popular forms. It is often a slow-paced class in comparison to others, meaning those who attend the class have plenty of time to relax into various postures and feel confident in doing so. The slow-paced style, which covers a great number of postures, allows you to really focus on your breath and enter a meditative state.
Iyengar involves holding poses for a long time and is slightly more advanced than Hatha. The poses are often more complex and can take longer to grasp. Part of the detail in these poses comes from a focus on alignment. This means that students have to pay a greater deal of attention to ensuring individual body parts are correctly aligned. The holding of poses allows for students to go deeper into given postures. This is often assisted by props that both intensify movements and make them safer to hold.
As well as focusing on physical movements, Kundalini yoga makes sure equal attention is given to spirituality. The spiritual elements that are not necessarily involved in other forms of yoga include meditation, chanting and mantra. This style is more fast-paced, channelling core strength whilst moving deeply into postures and controlling the breath. One of the main focuses of Kundalini yoga is releasing energy in the lower spine. This makes this class great for those who have tension in the lower back.
Ashtanga yoga is not necessarily suitable for beginners. It involves performing sequences of postures that can be challenging to perform if you have not experienced them before. Whilst yoga-goers are encouraged to go through movements at their own pace, the nature of Ashtanga in its flowing style between each position can make it hard to keep up with.
Vinyasa places a great deal of focus on coordinating your breath with movements. Emphasis is also placed on flowing between poses and postures. This style tends to vary from teacher to teacher. Some focus on creating and repeating sequences that contain a great range of different poses. Others focus on repeating shorter sequences in which poses are held for longer.
Bikram can be pretty intense, as it involves sequences with an extremely large number of postures that are performed a number of times. Not only does it involve tricky sequences, but it also takes place in humid rooms at high temperatures. One of our co-founders loves Bikram Yoga and there are plenty of places where you can go for classes in London.
Yin yoga is another great style for beginners, or just for people that fancy a more laid-back class. This style involves a lot of simple seated poses held for extended periods of time and is great for relaxation.
This style of yoga is extremely relaxation-centric. It focuses on a small amount of postures for a longer period of time throughout the class. As in many classes, modifications are suggested in order for participants to make postures easier or more challenging based on individual preferences. Props are also used so that participants can relax further into poses.
Anusara yoga places focus on individual body parts and the specific ways they should be moving. The classes often have frequent breaks in which poses are clarified to students. This is a great class to encourage mindfulness and certainty in the way poses should be executed.
Which is your favourite type of yoga? Drop us a comment 🙂