Which Type of Yoga is Right for You?

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With so many classes on offer and so much contradictory information about each different approach, it can be difficult to know your Hatha flow from your vinyasa. It might not seem particularly important to know what class you’re going to or what the differences between them are, after all ‘yoga is yoga’. Right? Well, no actually. Different people thrive doing different routines, and while for some the challenge of a quick dynamic class is what they need, others could do with taking it down a notch. Despite much debate, yoga is a highly beneficial exercise, and if you incorporate the right class into your week, you will certainly notice the difference.

1.Hatha

Hatha comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘forceful,’ and for the avid yogi, it is less a distinct type of yoga and more an umbrella term, encompassing poses found in a whole range of yoga series. If you attend a Hatha class today, it is likely to be a gentle, slow moving, introductory class suitable for beginners with a wide range of abilities. Often you will see ‘Hatha flow’ advertised, where the ‘flow’ here means a slow and gentle progression between asanas (positions).

2. Iyengar and Anusara

Anusara yoga was founded by John Friend, a student of B.K.S Iyengar (the founder of Iyengar yoga), after practicing for many years. He supposedly developed this form of yoga as a response to some of the problems he saw within the Iyengar asanas. Generally speaking, these two types of yoga are similar and are largely focused on maintaining alignment and building strength. Iyengar poses are held for a longer duration, and an Anusara class will take you through them a little quicker.

3. Ashtanga

Ashtanga and its younger more virulent cousin Rocket Yoga, are powerful and quick practices not for the inexperienced yogi. They are dynamic, fast-paced practices that move through the asanas so fast you would be forgiven for getting left behind. If you stumble into one of these classes and you are not prepared, or even if you are a long-standing yoga bunny, be careful with any ache or pain that develops as it could floor you. Contact a clinic like FIT Physical Therapy and book an appointment at their St George Physical Therapy branch if you experience any discomfort. It’s best to acknowledge any pain, no matter how minimal you may believe it to be.

4. Kundalini

If you haven’t been to a class that involves chanting before, try Kundalini. It might feel quite strange at first, but the breathing techniques you will develop are different to any other type of yoga. Kundalini was developed to inspire the awakening of the spinal energy, and you will certainly leave feeling as though you have had a good stretch.

5. Vinyasa

Vinyasa is one of the most popular types of yoga, but like Ashtanga, it is a dynamic practice with fairly complex asanas that will not suit every type of person. As noted by many, one of the main problems with Vinyasa yoga is that you only get the great feeling from it when you go through the poses in a flow without breaking, yet making sure you are aligned properly is hugely important to avoid injury. Go through the poses with a teacher before you attend a class, that way you are sure to be safe and be able to keep up.

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