Hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga… Have you ever felt a little lost with all the different types of classes offered? Rest assured – here is a short guide that will help you find your way through the wonderful world of yoga and choose the right style for you.
Main types of classes offered
Hatha is an adaptive and more generic type of yoga, which includes several forms of yoga. The different exercises emphasize the body, mind, and the link that connects them – the breath – to enable yogis of all levels to integrate the postures progressively at their own pace.
Vinyasa is a more dynamic practice of yoga where participants are invited to flow from one posture to another at a rapid pace for a more demanding practice, in which muscular strength is called upon in the same way as the breath.
Restorative yoga emphasizes the use of objects and tools – blankets, straps and blocks, for example – to support the body throughout long postures, encouraging relaxation and ease of the entire body.
Ashtanga, a form of “power yoga”, is an intense and fast-paced practice involving more rigorous and muscular postures, which enables yogis who practice it to improve their coordination, endurance, strength and flexibility all at the same time.
Kundalini is a more spiritual variation of yoga, which places breathing at the heart of the practice to awaken the awareness of the self through the breath and its coordination, as well as meditation and mantras.
3 steps to find your favourite style
1. Establish your objectives.
Do you want to get back in shape, relax or lose weight? There are many as reasons to practice yoga as there are styles.
2. Trying is believing… or not.
Yoga is a particularly subjective physical activity. Like a restaurant for your body and mind, it is up to you to decide what type of meal you want to eat and in what type of atmosphere! Be curious and "taste test" several styles before you make up your mind.
3. Talk to a professional about it!
Nothing beats good advice from a resource person with certified training. Yoga instructors are not only there to guide you in your postures – they also make themselves available to direct you in your search, trials, and errors. And, just like in school, some teachers delight us more than others. Don’t hesitate to meet a few in order to find you “soul mate”!
Now that you know everything about the different styles of yoga and how to go about determining the right type for you, all that’s left to do is step foot – and sometimes both feet and hands! – on a mat. Have you tried more than one style of yoga? Which one was your favourite?