Unless you learn how to become a yoga instructor and study yoga in an in-depth way as part of your yoga instructor training, you won’t necessarily know that there are several different types of yoga, many of which offer a different style or pace and have a range of varying benefits, depending on your body needs. Of course, you might think you already know your Yoga from your Tai Chi, but Ashtanga? Anybody? Read on to find out more and to check on the best type of yoga for your body!
Satyananda is the gentlest form of yoga, which makes it ideal for beginners. Satyananda yoga has a focus on flexibility through slow stretches and also teaches deep breathing. It’s a very serene form of yoga which you might see practiced at yoga retreats and meditation retreats, as it has a real focus on stress reduction of both mind and body.
Hatha is also a great version of yoga for beginners, but as well as having a similar breathing and stretching focus as Satyananda, Hatha offers more extensive stretching exercises – although this is still a relatively low-impact form of exercise so it would not suit those looking for a more aerobic workout! As well as beginners, older adults who are looking for stress reduction as a benefit from their yoga sessions could find that Hatha suits them. You may find a yoga retreat which specializes in the teaching of Hatha, if you are particularly keen on really taking time out to try the de-stress benefits of Hatha.
Iyengar is one of the types of yoga which uses props such as blocks and straps in order to help maintain postures, as its precise focus is on body alignment, as well as to help improve balance. This type of yoga is particularly beneficial to those seeking the maximum fitness benefits, but also wishing to maintain a focus on relaxation and breathing. Although it’s certainly more rigorous than Hatha or Satyananda, it’s not a high-impact form of exercise and it won’t suit anyone looking for a calorie-burning aerobic workout!
Kundalini is a yoga workout which ups the pace a bit! The routines are faster paced and the poses include different methods of breathing throughout, including deep breathing, meditation and chanting. With that extra focus on spirituality and meditation, Kundalini is not ideal for anyone who feels uncomfortable doing this in front of others. Kundalini is often practiced in mediation retreats.
Bikram (Also Known As Moshka Or “Hot Yoga”)
Yes, the clue’s in that “hot yoga” label! The practice of Bikram literally takes place in a heated room which brings the added benefits of purification and developing stamina, as well as the other holistic benefits of regular yoga practice. As such, it offers a more intensive, whole body workout, ideal for those with high fitness levels who don’t mind breaking into a real sweat as they exercise! However, it’s worth bearing in mind that “Hot Yoga” is not suitable for anyone with health issues such as heart conditions or blood pressure problems.
Ashtanga (Also Known As “Power Yoga”)
Ashtanga is the higher impact workout for those who already have a certain level of fitness and are familiar with yoga techniques. Ashtanga offers a faster, vigorous workout which focuses on building strength and flexibility, as well as stamina and concentration. This is the version of yoga most popular with those hoping to lose weight as well as improve their overall fitness level, so it’s not suitable for those seeking the more spiritual, relaxed yoga experience! Who knew there would be so many different types? However, it shows the real beauty of yoga is that its range means that there’s almost certainly an ‘ideal’ type for you, whatever benefits you’re looking for, for both mind and body, so hopefully you’ll now be able to identify the ideal yoga retreat or class for your needs.