The ancient practice of yoga was developed in India over 5,000 years ago as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice. There are many health benefits associated with yoga, such as stress and tension relief, decreased anxiety and inflammation, as well as increased heart health. This philosophy has evolved into various styles of practice, meaning that there is a type of yoga for every kind of person.
If you’re a beginner…
Then Hatha yoga is a great way to ease into the world of yoga. This type of yoga practice combines a series of body postures (known as asanas), breathing techniques (called pranayama), and meditation (referred to as dyana) to create an invigorating yet relaxing routine for the mind and body.
It is performed at a slower pace and makes use of props such as straps, blocks, boards, and chairs to help individuals achieve the correct alignment and posture. This type of yoga helps us get accustomed to the various poses used in yoga and is perfect for the lesser fit or injury-prone people.
If you’re looking to meditate…
Then Yin and Restorative yoga are a perfect match. Yin yoga incorporates Taoists principles of embracing flow by using more passive postures to release tension and stored up energy in the hip, pelvis, and lower spinal regions. This type of yoga requires patience as some stances can be held up to 20 minutes at a time, allowing the body to slow down and the mind to become meditatively quiet.
Restorative yoga is also very similar in the way that certain poses are held for long periods of time in order to calmly open the body and relieve tension associated with trauma or illness. Around six poses are performed per session and, much like Hatha, Restorative yoga can also use blocks and straps to help us gain a deeper stretch.
If you’re looking for a sweat
Then Bikram yoga is what you’ve been waiting for! Bikram yoga, otherwise known as hot yoga, is performed in a sauna-like studio that is set to over 40 degrees Celcius with 40 percent humidity. Over and above the external heat, this practice picks up the pace by performing up to 26 poses, as well as two breathing exercises, per session. This type of yoga has many health benefits; including deep stretching, increased stamina, and an effective detox because toxins are flushed out of the body through sweat.
If the external heat is a little too much to handle, we recommend trying Power yoga. Sometimes referred to as ‘gym yoga’, this energetic fitness-based yoga style is a high-intensity practice that builds muscle, increases flexibility, and burns calories through vigorous movements and challenging postures.
If you’re wanting to focus on the breath…
Then Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga is the solution. Vinyasa, otherwise known as movement or flow, yoga focuses on the importance of breath as poses transition into one another in a fluid and synchronized manner. Over and above the weight-loss benefits, Vinyasa yoga helps us stay present as we take on a new pose with every inhale and exhale.
Ashtanga is similar to a Vinyasa practice in the way that poses are synchronized with the breath. However, the primary difference is that Ashtanga is made up of a six pose sequence that can be repeated at an increasingly rapid pace, which creates a more methodical practice.
And, if you’re looking for a lifestyle…
Then look no further than Jivamukti. This type of yoga is also Vinyasa styled with an added physical and intellectual intensity, where practices are often themed and include readings from yogi texts, chanting meditations, and stimulating music. Jivamukti can be translated to ‘liberation while living’ and encourages us to apply the philosophies of yoga to every aspect of our lives, encouraging a more present and peaceful existence.
We hope that this list has given a clearer idea of which type of yoga may be right for you. Perhaps one style may have caught your eye or you have been inspired to try out all of them; either way, we wish you well on this physical, mental, and spiritual journey into the world of yoga!