When it comes to exercising, yoga has grown hugely in popularity over the past few years as more and more people become aware of just how great it is for your body and mind. It works to improve strength and flexibility, increase body awareness and focus, boost the immune system and encourage relaxation and correct posture alignment.
As a newcomer to yoga, it can be overwhelming deciding which type of class to go to. Some types of yoga are fast-paced and vigorous, while others are slow and methodical; some are more focused on physical poses, while others put the emphasis on philosophy or spirituality; some are very relaxed and open to interpretation, while others are stricter and follow a pattern or routine. With hundreds of variations of yoga available, how are you to know which class will work best for you and help you achieve your goals?
To give you some direction, we’ve put together this guide to help you pick the right practice for your body and its needs.
Hatha Yoga is the traditional Indian name used to describe a set of practices that are intended to prevent physical problems, heal existing ones and maintain overall health and wellbeing. It aims to achieve balance between the body and the mind through the use of physical poses, breathing techniques and meditation.
These classes are all about the basics and are fairly slow-paced, requiring you to hold each pose for a few breaths. Generally considered a gentler form of yoga, Hatha can still be surprisingly challenging, as you build resilience and strength by holding poses. That being said, Hatha classes are good for a beginner to try out first, particularly if you’re starting yoga over 50.
Vinyasa yoga is not only meditative but also physically challenging. A very ‘flowy’ class, you’ll move though a dynamic sequence of postures, focusing on correct breath control as you work.
In most Vinyasa classes you move fairly quickly through the classes and the pace is quick, so get ready to sweat as your heart rate rises. With faster movement and a continuous pace, Vinyasa yoga is good for those who want a physical workout that will get the heart pumping.
This form of yoga has eight components: morality; ethics; posture; breath control; sense control; concentration; meditation and absorption. It consists of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses.
This is a good class for people who like to follow guidelines and a set routine, as you tend to perform the same poses in the exact same order in each class.
Hot Yoga takes place in a heated studio, helping to provide a deeper muscular workout, aid with poses and increase intensity where required. As the body is warmer, you should be able to go deeper into poses – just don’t take it too far and give yourself an injury. A fast-paced class combined with extra heat might be a bit intense for some, so take it easy and remember to stay well hydrated.
Hot yoga will help to boost the immune system, encourage relaxation and correct posture alignment, and is perfect for those looking for an intense sweat session.
This form of yoga is known for its use of props – including belts, blocks, and blankets – as aids in performing postures, helping you work within a safe and effective range of motion.
Iyengar is characterised by great attention to detail and precise focus on body alignment in each pose. Unlike in Vinyasa, each posture is held for a long period of time. Slower and more focused on the detail, it is a good class for those who like to understand the body and get a good grasp of technique. This class is recommended for those who are more experienced.
A playful and tough Yoga class, Core Yoga has all the elements of a normal yoga class: striking a balance between relaxation and activity and strengthening and lengthening your muscles. But here the focus is on strengthening your core: the abs, back, waist and buttocks.
Good for those with specific injuries looking to strengthen their core muscles.
In this class you’ll experience a powerful and dynamic form of yoga. Positions are short and powerful enabling you to improve cardio endurance and your ability to focus on one activity for longer periods of time.
Good for those looking to build strength and tone the body.
This unique class blends basic Pilates exercises with the postures and breathing techniques of yoga. A truly relaxing experience that will help you de-stress while improving flexibility and strength.
Good for those looking to increase core strength and increase flexibility.
Fitness Yoga concentrates on movement, breathing and transitions from one posture to another and progression. Moves and postures are sequenced together to the beat of music, making transitions seamless and graceful.
This is a good class for those looking to increase their cardiovascular fitness while getting a sweat on.
Try out a range of different types of yoga at your nearest David Lloyd Club and find the one that works best for you! Book now.