There are many different yoga styles today and it can be a little confusing which one is the right one for you.

The yoga poses won’t necessarily be different, it is the intensity and the intension that changes. But what remains the same is the importance of your breath, the body awareness and mindfulness that makes yoga different from other forms of exercise.

Some of the styles you might come across:

At a Vinyasa flow class you will be flowing through the poses with the guidance of your breath. The word vinyasa means place in a special way. This is a dynamic class that will move and energise your entire body, focusing on alignment and finding balance and you will leave feeling stronger and more flexible. 

Slow Flow is a fluid practice that connects the breath and movement in a slow and steady pace, that cultivates mindfulness and presence supporting all skill and experience levels.

Ashtanga vinyasa is a dynamic practice developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It follows the same sequence of  yoga poses/asanas in a precise order. As you are flowing through the sequence, focusing on your breath, gaze/drishti, and energy locks/bandhas, you are creating a moving meditation. This is a very dynamic practice, that builds inner heat that helps detoxify the body, while making you strong and flexible, and increasing your physical and mental discipline.

Yin Yoga was introduced by Paul Grilley in the late 1980’s  targets the deep connective tissues: the ligament, the joints, the bones and the fascia. The fascia surrounds our muscles ( and organs ) providing the framework of our body! 

At a yin class we find stillness in passive long holds, allowing the mind to quiet down. When we put a tissue under stress, the body will respond by strengthening it. This is the principle of every form of exercise. While the muscles benefit from repeated contractions, the connective tissues will respond to a long, steady and gentle stretch. But a yin class will certainly take you out of your comfort zone, teach you to stay calm, steady and focused despite the mind’s urgent pleas to leave is one of the great benefits of a regular yin yoga practice.

Restorative Yoga 

During a restorative yoga class you will feel completely supported and relaxed, diving in to the parasympathetic nervous system. We set the body up into different forms/poses, which are supported with props such as bolsters, blankets and blocks, so we can surrender into the moment, without needing any muscle tension to hold the pose, or feeling any discomfort. The poses then held for minutes at the time giving you the opportunity to turn inward, and tune in with your mind. The practice will leave you grounded and at ease.

Yoga foundations / beginner yoga is focusing on building strength and learning safe alignment. An often playful practice, that encourages you to discover your own yoga journey.

Prenatal Yoga: A gentle adaptation of traditional yoga poses to keep your every-day changing body fit and strong and prepare you for the labour and birth. Pregnancy is a very special time in a woman’s life. It is a time to slow down and tune in with your body and emotions, and connect with your baby in your tummy. Also the perfect opportunity to meet other expecting mamas and share your journey.

Baby and Me yoga: A safe and gentle way to start exercising after childbirth. Learn baby massage, gentle games and exercises for your baby to support his/her development. Through playful and gentle sequencing you will move your body from head to toe. 

Therapeutic Yoga classes: While we can say that most yoga classes have therapeutic effects, yoga therapy sessions are focusing on a specific outcome using the tools of yoga. Like you might find yoga therapy classes for supporting mental health and well-being, cancer care, cardiovascular health… One of my next blog will dive deeper into the differences between yoga therapy and your every-day yoga classes. 

These are a few styles of classes you might have seen in your local studios. I encourage you too give a few different classes a try to discover your own journey. Some days you might feel like going to a dynamic vinyasa flow, but others days a soft and supportive restorative class is what you are craving. I most days practice Ashtanga vinyasa, and some days I enjoy a slow restorative or yin class very much.

Leave a Reply