If you’re anything like us at the beginning of your yoga journey, you might not know the difference between each style of yoga, let alone which would suit you best. Use this quick bite size guide for an easy breakdown of each style.
Most yoga styles can be referred to as ‘Hatha’, it simply means the practice of physical yoga postures. Typically a Hatha class will be a gentle introduction to basic yoga poses, a slower but physical practice of correct form, great for beginners.
A dynamic and continual flowing sequence of postures, helping with flexibility, focus, conditioning and muscle development. Vinyasa can be a fairly active practise which uses the breath to help move deeper into a pose. A good class for beginners.
Based on Vinyasa this is a vigorous fluid practice. A fast and intense flow which builds inner heat, strength and flexibility. This is the class for you if you’re looking to improve fitness, prepare to break into a sweat!
A rigorous style of yoga involving a very structured sequence of postures, linking every movement closely to breath. Ashtanga is physically demanding, a cardio based workout for fat burn, not the best for beginners.
Based on Ashtanga, this is a fast paced and structured practice, but students have more freedom and are encouraged to experiment or modify positions to suit their own body. Physically challenging this isn’t the best class for a beginner to start.
Jivamukti is equally a physical and spiritual practice. It’s Vinyasa based but centred around your relationship and connection to the earth. Incorporating a spiritual commentary from the teacher, this style of yoga helps development of body and mind through a challenging physical practice.
A combination of movement, meditation, dynamic breathing and chanting, Kundalini is a spiritual practice used to awaken energy and consciousness. Quite different to a Vinyasa based class, it is designed to tap into the energy system located at the base of the spine and involves long periods of time spent in postures and challenging breath work.
The origin of hot yoga with classes that usually last 90 minutes in an artificially heated room. A 26 pose sequence in humidity of 40 degrees is said to help increase fat burn. It’s sweaty so come prepared with a towel and lots of water.
The term ‘hot yoga’ generally tends to mean a class that takes place in a heated room, the actual style of yoga (and room temperature), will vary between studios.
A slow paced class where poses are held for long periods of time, typically anywhere between one to five minutes. Yin practice is designed to help release tension in connective tissues to activate change in your body. Over the long term it will lubricate joints, release muscle fascia and increase flexibility. It can also be challenging on an emotional level as the postures work to release emotional blockages.
Similar to Yin, Restorative is a slow class where poses are held for long periods of time, working through only a handful during a class. Bolsters, blocks and blankets are used to help achieve the correct posture while you work to heal your body and mind simultaneously aiming to find inner balance and clarity.
Described as a yogic sleep, Nidra requires no physical movement. The student lies and listens to a teacher’s verbal instruction, letting their mind wonder as the practice takes you to a state of consciousness somewhere between awake and sleep. This is a great class to switch off, reduce stress and restore, no previous yoga experience is necessary.
As with the actual style of yoga, there are many types of teachers, each with their individual ways of delivering a class. So now you have an idea of which type of class you want to try, you can find a teacher you love.