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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA?

There are many different types of yoga. Here we include information about the most popular types of yoga in the West​. We hope to offer you all these types of yoga eventually so keep an eye out on this page to find out what you can practise with us.

HATHA

The mother of all yoga, hatha forms the basis of the series of postures we today call 'yoga' in the Western world. Although it is a style on it's own, it birthed other styles you will read about beneath.

It combines postures - asanas - with breathing technique - pranayama - and meditation - dyana. Don't be intimidated by the idea of meditation - you aren't forced to sit and do it, it's just a cool thing you end up doing by mistake when you do the moves.

What a class will be like:

  • You will enter into various positions and hold them to both work and stretch your muscles

  • Pace: as you hold still in the positions, it is gentler than other styles like vinyasa but still a great workout

ASHTANGA

A derivative of hatha, ashtanga yoga is a series of postures done in the same order each time.

What a class will be like:

  • You will hold positions like in hatha, but for a shorter period of time

  • Pace: a lot quicker than hatha; intense and powerful, but if you're reasonably fit you should be fine

VINYASA (FLOW)

Vinyasa uses the same postures as ashtanga, but mixes the order up. It is more dynamic than ashtanga and hatha because you flow from one posture to the next, matching your breathing to your movement.

What a class will be like:

  • Due to moving the whole time, this is the most 'exercise'-style yoga

  • Pace: pretty fast - closer to ashtanga than hatha, and you will certainly raise your heartbeat and sweat

IYENGAR

Iyengar yoga focuses on alignment. That means getting each bit of your body where it should be, and ensuring you maintain that lovely posture. BKS Iyengar, the guy who developed it, introduced the use of props to help you hold those positions. It also involves inversions like headstands.

What a class will be like:

  • Iyengar follows a monthly rotation, and you will do different poses each week.

  • Pace: slower  than others because you take time getting into the right position. But it will still challenge you when you realise how hard it is to actually hold your body in the correct posture!

JIVAMUKTI

This style uses vinyasa flow sequences, but adds chanting and meditation. It is known as a more spiritual style of yoga. It is combined with other aspect such as compassionate living through vegetarianism, studying yogic teachings, and listening to your body through music, spoken word, or even silence.

What a class will be like:

  • Physically challenging in the style of vinyasa, but interspersed with chanting and meditation

  • Pace: will vary between being quick-paced for the movement, and still and calm for chanting and meditation

MANDALA VINYASA

.A mandala is a geometrical figure which represents the universe. In mandala yoga you you will perform vinyasa sequences that take you in a full circle around your mat. This style is based on the 4 elements. Each element matches an area of your body - earth - hamstrings; water - hips and groin;  air - backs; fire - thighs. The postures you hold  are said to bring you closer to nature.

What a class will be like:

  • It usually begins with a short yin practice (read below)

  • You then have the same physical challenge as vinyasa yoga while moving in circles

  • Pace: moderately fast

YIN

This is the 'sigh of relief' class. If you are super stressed, relax with some yin yoga and you will leave feeling like a different person. Whilst 'yang' yoga refers to the more active styles of yoga we read about above, 'yin' yoga offers the opposite, and is passive. This means you will enter a position, stretching the deep connective tissue and joints, and calming your mind. The positions are specially designed for you to relax into, and you will hold them anywhere from 45 seconds up to 5 minutes.

What a class will be like:

  • You will usually relax into 4 or 5 poses, stretching each side of your body. Sometimes there will be music. The lights are often dimmed

  • Pace: calm and slow. Fidgeters challenge yourselves to relax and sit with your thoughts

RESTORATIVE

This style does exactly what it says on the tin. While yin focuses on stretching, in restorative yoga you will lie face-up or face-down in a position supported by props. This helps you hold a position for longer, and promotes physical, emotional, and mental relaxation. It gives you a chance to practise being still, which can be difficult for many; but everyone can do it.

What a class will be like:

  • Like in yin you will just hold a few poses on each side, this time lying down. There is more focus on 'opening' the body than stretching. As you are still you might get cold so keep your socks and jumpers nearby.

  • Pace: calm and slow.