The different yoga styles and classes can be overwhelming when you are starting out. Here is a short guide to help you navigate your way around the different yoga approaches and classes. If you’re unsure about which classes to choose ask us and we will assist you.
Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath. The method stresses the importance of daily practice of a set series of movements. There are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences, which the student progresses through at their own pace. Ashtanga yoga classes are often taught in the Mysore style. In this style, practitioners are encouraged to memorise the sequence they are working on, then individually work through the sequence during the class. The teacher comes around to adjust and support, rather than guiding the individual's practice. In this way, the students set their own pace consistent with their ability, but practise in the company of other students and with the encouragement of their teacher. Ashtanga yoga, sometimes referred to as ashtanga vinyasa yoga, is a style of yoga that was developed by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya in the 20th century.
Best For: those who want a strong practice to a set sequence of poses. You’ll get a deep understanding of particular poses week after week. The poses will remain the same but your practice will progress as you develop a deeper understanding of them.
Teachers: Andy Gill
HATHA & YOGA NIDRA
The practice of hatha yoga focuses on total mastery of the physical body including all bodily functions, and emphasises and promotes spiritual and physical wellness, including disease elimination.
Hatha yoga, helps to balance the mind, body and chakras (centres of energy) through specific asanas (postures) and controlled, meditative breathing that complements the physical movements of the body.
In yoga philosophy, hatha yoga was originally considered to be a preparation for spiritual yoga practice as control over the physical body is believed to assist in developing control over the mind and spirit.
Hatha is a Sanskrit word that can be broken down into two smaller words: ha, meaning ‘sun’, and tha, meaning ‘moon’.. The word may also mean ‘willful’ or ‘forceful’.
Yoga nidra instills a sense of relaxation through deep rest and meditation.
Best For: Beginners, or anyone who wishes to move a little more slowly in their practice for deep relaxation and gentle opening stretches.
Teachers: Jemima Croker, Laurent Roure
Kundalini yoga is also called the ‘yoga of awareness’. The primary aim of this style of yoga is to awaken the kundalini energy, which lies coiled, serpent-like, at the base of the spine. Practitioners use breathing exercises, physical postures, chanting and meditation to unlock this energy. When released, this energy moves from the base of the spine through the seven chakras (or energy centers) in the spine.
Kundalini yoga is a combination of specific kriyas (practices) and meditation aimed at raising the kundalini energy. The main part of the class is the kriyas, which combine postures and breathing techniques and end with a meditation and chant.
Best For: Kundalini is open to all levels and uses breath control and meditation alongside postures to evoke a strong energy and to stimulate the senses.
Teachers: Kwali Kumara
Largely based on the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar, Restorative Yoga is used to ground and centre the body and mind. A session typically involves a small number of poses each held for up to five minutes, sometimes more, using props to support and assist the practice.
Best For: Anyone whose energy reserves feel depleted or when anxiety and stress levels are running high.
Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body. From the Sanskrit ‘to place in a special way’, Vinyasa aligns a deliberate sequence of poses with the breath to achieve a continuous flow.
Because Vinyasa practice puts a strong focus on sun salutations, most classes will focus heavily on this sequence. The continuous movement of Vinyasa reflects the impermanence of all forms and the necessity of accepting change to achieve balance and completeness.
Best For: Vinyasa Flow is open to all levels, you will learn a wide range of different postures. Classes move from a more dynamic warm up to slower breath controlled stretches.
DYNAMIC VINYASA FLOW
Dynamic Vinyasa Flow is a continuous sequence of postures with an emphasis on the synchronisation of motion and breath. Though style, pace and intensity may vary, the practice always encourages meditation through movement. This is an uptempo class with a strong and sweaty flow.
Best For: A faster paced Vinyasa which will likely see you break a sweat, accompanied by breathing and meditative stretches to cool down.
Teachers: Dannii Jordana, Will Wheeler
Yin yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative spiritual discipline of yoga. In yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues (such as the ligaments) rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas (postures) are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement.
Yin yoga has its roots in China, unlike the more popular and active yoga disciplines, which originated in India. It was founded on the Taoist theory of yin and yang – opposite concepts that, together, represent balance. Yin is stable and passive, while yang is changing and active. The yin poses, therefore, are passive and performed while seated or in a reclining position. The poses are held with the muscles fully relaxed, allowing time and gravity to deepen the stretch and target the fascia. The time spent holding these asanas is similar to meditation.
Best For: Those who want to increase or maintain flexibility at a slower pace
Founded by Sharon Gannon and David Life in New York in 1984, Jivamukti is a relatively new form of yoga. Classes use a strong, dynamic flowing movement with a unique focus woven into each session. Jivamukti is a multi-faceted practice that goes beyond asana (postures) with chanting, yogic philosophy and readings all set to uplifting music.
Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior classes are designed for busy people who only have an hour to practice. The class is fast paced and invigorating and is certainly a “get-in-shape” class. The structure is a fixed set sequence instructed in a vinyasa style. It is a fully balanced class which includes asana warm-up, chanting, setting of intention, surya namaskar, standing poses, backbends, forward bends, twists, inversions, meditation and relaxation. The teacher focuses on keeping the pace moving and does not stop to give spiritual discourses. Since the asana sequence is always the same, a student will pick it up quite quickly after only a couple of classes.
Best For: Those who seek a practice which combines a flowing set of postures with some of yoga’s spiritual teachings. Jivamukti is faster paced, with some optional chanting and set to immersive music.
Teachers: Amy McDonald