Lots people have been asking me recently what all the different types of yoga mean, and which is the best for them. I’m lucky enough to live in London where there is a large variety of different classes available. Here is a bit of info about a few of the most popular styles, most of which i’ve tried a little of.
Bikram – Bikram is fastly becoming one of the most popular types of yoga. Classes are a series of 26 poses, in a sequence that never changes. The classes are taken in a room with a temperature of 105 degrees and a typical humidity of 40%. Bikram focuses on proper alignment and the classes are 90 minutes long. Your first time will probably be challenging, however as the sequence stays the same, it’s a really good style for beginners of yoga.
Vinyasa – Vinyasa yoga Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a physically active form of yoga. Usually called Vinyasa Flow, these classes are a flowing movement from one asana to the next with constant concentration on the breath. Vinyasa Yoga is great if you like a bit more variety, as classes normally differ each time.
Ashtanga – Ashtanga is the name given to the system of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga involves synchronizing breathing with a progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. this style of yoga is very physically demanding. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners.
Hatha – Hatha Yoga was introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, a yogic sage in 15th century in India. Its probably the most popular style of yoga as most other types of yoga, like Bikram, Ashtanga and Power yoga have originated from it. The word “hatha” comes from the Sanskrit terms “ha” meaning “sun” and “tha” meaning “moon”. Thus, Hatha Yoga is known as the branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites referring to the positive (sun) and negative (moon) currents in the system. It concentrates on the third (Asana) and fourth (Pranayama) steps in the Eight Limbs of Yoga. A Hatha class is usually a slow and relaxing, perfect before bedtime.
Sivananda – Sivananda Yoga sessions follow a specific sequence of postures, breathing and relaxation exercises. A Sivananda yoga class will stick closely to the teachings of the Yoga Masters swami Sivinanda and Swami Vishnudevananda. Whilst there is a strong focus on the exercises and physical benefits of yoga, there is also a strong focus on other aspects of yoga such as proper breathing, proper relaxation, healthy eating and meditation & positive thinking.
Iyengar – Iyengar Yoga was developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar more than 60 years ago. It promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. You usually move slowly into a pose in an Iyengar class and hold it for approx 2 mins, you then rest for a few breaths before slowly moving into another pose. The classes use props like cushions, straps and blocks to help you align yourself properly and also help less flexible people. Because of the slowness and the use of props Iyengar yoga is great for people who are recovering from injury, less flexible or older people.