If you’re new to the world of yoga, getting past the lingo can be a little daunting.
Hatha? Bikram? Ashtanga? Did someone say beer and yoga? And what’s all the fuss about goat yoga?
Whilst there are many styles to choose from, picking the right one for you can take some research. We’ve done the hard work to help demystify the more popular types of yoga. You’ll be ready to try your first class in no time!
CRACKING THE YOGA CODE
With over 5,000 years of history behind it, more traditional forms of yoga have now morphed into the seemingly endless number of styles we encounter today (have we mentioned doga yet).
Virtually all yoga types will improve your strength, flexibility and balance. However, some will focus more on aligning, strengthening or calming the body. Whether you're a beginner or looking to take your poses to the next level, we’ve gone through a few styles to help you pick your new favourite.
ALIGN YOURSELF WITH IYENGAR, HATHA OR BIKRAM
If you’re a beginner, Hatha is definitely the perfect starting point for you. A traditional style, Hatha incorporates straightforward poses, breathing and meditation at an unhurried pace.
Love Hatha but want a bit more of a challenge? Bikram Yoga may be the perfect next step. Bikram incorporates traditional Hatha yoga (it uses the exact same 26 postures and two breathing exercises each class) with heat. It’s practiced in a room warmed up to an ideal 35–42 °C (get ready to sweat!). This style is designed to increase flexibility and promote alignment in the body.
One class that could be perfect for you is at Virgin Active, called Yoga Align. Just as the name suggests, we’ve taken learnings from these yoga schools focused on alignment and created a class that’s all about aligning your body in each yoga pose. It’s a perfect beginner's class while also offering a challenge for your mind, body and soul. Try our online class now.
FLOW YOUR BODY AND MIND WITH VINYASA, STRENGTH OR FLOW YOGA
Feel like speeding things up a bit? You’re ready to try something with a little more flow. In a Vinyasa, Strength or Flow Yoga class you’ll focus on coordinating your movements with your breath flowing seamlessly from one pose to the next (think Chaturanga to Upward-Facing Dog to Downward-Facing Dog).
These classes not only have the general benefits of yoga but, also can increase your heartbeat and turn very quickly into a good sweat sesh. You might find these classes focus a little less on zen, and a little more on being active. Turns out chaturanga pushups are a thing.
If this feels right to you, Virgin Active offers Yoga Flow classes, which focuses on strength and flow, challenging your body more but also focusing on breath and mindfulness.
CALM DOWN WITH YIN, CALM OR RESTORATIVE YOGA
Ready to chill out? Yin is definitely for you. Named for the calmer half of the ‘yin and yang’ dynamic, this style will direct you into sweet release poses. You’ll stay in one pose for up to five minutes to allow for a deeper stretch and time to, well, chill.
Another calming style to help relieve pain and stress is Restorative Yoga. Typically involving only five or six poses and props, this style will allow you time to really rest in the poses.
No, you won’t work up a sweat in Virgin Active’s Yoga Calm classes but, you will sink into peaceful relaxation. Go ahead, set aside time for you, to listen to your yoga teacher’s calming voice and finally. Just. Relax. Login to our online classes for your next zen time here.
READY TO PICK YOUR YOGA STYLE?
Now you’re more familiar with different yoga styles, it’s time to hit the mat. At Virgin Active, we’ve made yoga classes easy by grouping our most popular classes into three categories: Align, Flow and Calm. Don’t be shy, login and check them out for yourself.