I’m a novice when it come to Yoga but am keen to get to grips with it. In preparation I decided to find out more about the different types of Yoga out there and there is truly something for everyone.
It’s surprising how many there are and I’m certain there are many more than this around the world! From gentle alignment and calming to poses on a paddle board on water – there is bound to be something in this list which you will peak your interest.
If like me you’re interested in Yoga but don’t really know where to start, this blog may just help you decide which you’d like to try and give you the motivation to take your first step towards a healthier more centred you!
What are the Different Types of Yoga
Here’s what I found out about a number of different types of yoga, together with links for any of you who want to delve a bit deeper!
Is a physical practice which combines yoga, healing arts and acrobatics, you may have seen images of people seemingly doing balancing yoga poses with a partner, that’s Acro Yoga. These three styles form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community. Sounds like fun!
You can find out much more by clicking on this link AcroYoga
A dynamic, physically demanding practice which synchronises breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. Ashtanga yoga, with its many vinyasas (movement syncronised with breath), is great for building core strength and toning the body. Prepare to sweat as you briskly move through a set sequence!
If this sounds of interest you can find more information here Ashtanga Yoga Leeds
Most forms of yoga in the West can be classified as Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.
More recently, hatha is most often used to describe gentle, basic yoga classes with no flow between poses. Expect a slower-paced stretching class with some basic pranayama breathing exercises and perhaps seated meditation at the end. Hatha classes are a good place to learn beginners’ poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.
You can find out more about the benefits of this type of yoga by following this link Yoga for Beginners
Hot Yoga (Bikram)
Any style of yoga practiced in an intentionally heated room can be classed as Hot Yoga. Including Bikram Yoga, Forrest Yoga, Baptiste Yoga, and CorePower Yoga. In these classes, temperatures anywhere from 85 degrees to 105 degrees Fahrenheit are said to help you sweat out toxins while you work toward increased strength and flexibility.
You will more usually hear it referred to as Bikram but as this is a registered trade mark not just anyone can use this name. Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga.
This article will give you some more detail and advice on how to prepare for your first class Bikram/Hot Yoga
This style of yoga pays close attention to anatomical details and the alignment of each posture, it is the practice of precision. Poses are held for long periods and props are often used. Iyengar yoga is designed to cultivate strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness, and can be therapeutic for specific conditions. B.K.S. Iyengar founded Iyengar Yoga, again it derives from Hatha Yoga but B.K.S. Iyengar created this style to focus on precision and alignment.
It is said to be a “softer, classical style of yoga” which makes it good for beginners. Here is a link to some frequently asked question on Iyengar Yoga and you can also find a list of qualified teachers.
A physical, ethical, and spiritual practice, combining chanting, vigorous, flowing hatha yoga, vinyasa-based physical style with adherence to five central tenets: shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsa (nonviolence, non-harming), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation). It’s said to stimulate both physicaly and intellectually and emphasises bringing ancient teachings to life in a contemporary setting. Jivamukti was founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon.
I actually found it pretty hard to find any detailed information on this style of Yoga, there are classes in the UK and if you follow the link it will give a little more information:- Jivamukti Yoga
This is Lucy’s yoga of choice, I’ve also done a few sessions and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, incorporating movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras. The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness.
You can find out more about this style of yoga by following this link to Lucy’s Kundalini Blog
Power Yoga is a fitness-based vinyasa practice. It has many of the same qualities and benefits as Ashtanga yoga, including building internal heat, increasing stamina, strength, and flexibility, as well as reducing stress. Teachers design their own sequences, while students synchronize their breath with their movement. The original Power Yoga was developed and founded by Beryl Bender Birch, but is now a term used to describe many vigorous vinyasa styles.
Want to learn more? Then I’m happy to oblige, simply click this link Power Yoga
What a fabulous idea, anyone who has been through pregnancy and the many physical and mental changes it can entail, would probably agree that having an exercise class which can help support you mentally and physically is a god send!
Prenatal Yoga is a practice uniquely designed for pregnancy, it can help support mums-to-be emotionally and physically. With an emphasis on breathing, stamina, pelvic floor work, restorative poses, and core strength, Prenatal Yoga can help you become more resilient during and after pregnancy.
Here’s a great article from The Mayo Clinic, which will help you understand if Prenatal Yoga is right for you Prenatal Yoga.
Restorative yoga provides healing for the body and the mind. It is especially useful when you need to eliminate fatigue and stress that result from your daily activities. It can also help you recover from illness and injury or overcome emotional depression and anxiety.
I’ve added a coupe of links here, one which explains more about this style of yoga Restorative Yoga courtesy of Fitday.com and an article by Eric C. Stevens on the Breaking Muscle website, which gives his first hand experience of taking a class and made me want to give it a try – Restorative Yoga – what is it and why should I do it.
SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga
Yep seriously! Yoga on a paddleboard on water, definitely a different type of yoga! They say you learn something new every day and I certainly have today.
SUP yoga is the art of practicing yoga while paddle boarding. It’s a practice that brings a sense of joyful freedom to an otherwise earth-bound yoga practice. Typically you use your breath, focus, along with the muscles of the body to steady yourself in yoga poses. You use most of those same skills and muscles when you’re doing stand up paddling. Additionally, poses on a SUP board tend to give a greater challenge to the quadriceps, shoulders, arms, and knees – and especially the core area – because of the modifications to create balance in the pose.
When most of us think of Tantra (or Tantric) we think of sex, however, this ancient practice is actually a powerful combination of asana, mantra, mudra, and bandha (energy lock) and chakra (energy center) work that you can use to build strength, clarity, and bliss in everyday life. By harnessing and embodying the five forces of Shakti, the female deity that represents creativity and change, Tantric Yoga suggests we can move through the world with more confidence and contentment.
When I searched for information on Tantra Yoga the vast majority of the information I found leaned toward the more westernised sexual teachings (all very interesting) and may be just what you’re looking for, this article goes into detail about a Tantra Relationship Workshop – I don’t think I could convince Mr P to attend! This second one gives an overview of what you would learn at a Tantra Yoga retreat Tantra Yoga Retreat.
In Vinyasa yoga classes, students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Ashtanga, Baptiste Yoga, Jivamukti, Power Yoga, and Prana Flow could all be considered Vinyasa yoga.
This style is sometimes also called flow yoga, because of the smooth way that the poses run together and become like a dance. The breath acts as an anchor to the movement as you to flow from one pose to the next in time with an inhale or an exhale.
Vinyasa yoga allows for a lot of variety, but will almost always include sun salutations. Expect movement, not just stretching. Whether the class is fast or slow, includes inversions, or is very alignment-oriented will depend on the individual teacher and the particular style in which they are trained. Some classes include some warm up stretches at the beginning while others launch straight into standing poses.
If this style of yoga appeals to you why not take a look at this site on Vinyasa Yoga.
Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues (which we are calling the yang tissues). Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Which makes it a great way to maintain flexibility as you get older.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed finding out about all these different types of yoga and am rather in awe of what some people are able to do with their bodies!
Out of all of them I think I would need to start with Hatha, to get a basic understanding of yoga but then I would love to have a go at Acro and SUP, although I’m not going to try the latter until I have mastered balancing!
When I eventually get my backside in gear and go to a class I will let you know how I get on!