What’s your Yoga Style?
Thousands of people turn to yoga every day for the calm and clarity that it brings to mind and body. But when it comes to the lingo, this back-bending, barefoot fitness tradition may seem anything but simple. Have you ever tried to find your Yoga style?
There are countless different styles of yoga, and their names can be confusing to newcomers. Do you secretly ponder the Sanskrit words on your class schedule? Are you afraid of attending the wrong class and being in over your head? Never fear– the following cheat sheet will have you talking the talk, and walking the walk into the right class.
Hatha yoga traditionally refers to any physical practice of yoga. In most yogi circles nowadays, ‘Hatha’ is known as a basic and gentle style of yoga perfect for beginners, with plenty of stretching, meditation, and postures (‘asanas’) that change at a slower pace.
This is a term used to describe a faster-paced yoga. In Vinyasa classes, you can expect rhythmic, focused breathing and a series of asanas that change quickly, flowing into each other. Vinyasa is great for those who like a more rigorous workout.
Ashtanga promises a very high-intensity workout, and has become one of the most popular schools of yoga worldwide. A typical session is non-stop, and structured around six series of asanas that increase in difficulty.
A westernized branch of Ashtanga established in the United States in the late 80’s, the term was coined to encourage an understanding of yoga as a dynamic and challenging fitness option. The poses are designed to flow and get yogis’ energy up.
‘Raja’ means ‘king,’ and so this could be called the King of Yogas. This philosophical style centres on focused awareness of consciousness. An emphasis on breath control harnesses energy, bringing mind and body together as one. You can expect to hear the sound ‘Om.’
Dynamic Yoga practice blends traditional asanas with movements from Tai-Chi and Karate. It was developed from Eastern influences in China and Tibet before yoga was popularized in the West. The asanas are in synch with a philosophy based on the elements of Air, Water, Earth and Fire.