One of the most common doubts when you want to start doing Yoga is, what style is best for me, which suits my interests, skills and above all, which are the characteristics of each one.
Within the vast universe of Yoga, we can find many styles as over the years classical styles have been fused with other disciplines, thus creating styles for all ages, beliefs and tastes. However we will find some popular styles and those are the ones we are going to talk about today.
The question that we have to ask ourselves is, what is the benefit that I want to gain from practice?, if what you are looking for is something that takes away the tension of the day, or maybe you want to exercise or enjoy restorative practice… Let’s talk a little about each style and its characteristics:
- Restorative yoga: This style of Yoga is suitable for all people regardless of their age, usually postures are performed on the floor or seated and accessories are used as help for each of them. The main goal is to relax the body and mind by passive stretching, is a completely different experience to that of contemporary Yoga as the movement during class is little like the postures that are performed.
- Yin Yoga: The goal of this style is to hold postures for several minutes to progressively stretch the tissues around the joints and release blocked energy leading the person to a state of calm, helping the mind to focus and ignore the distractions of the outside world. It is a beneficial style as a complement for people who practice some kind of more demanding exercise such as cycling or athletics. Almost all postures are made on the ground and are focused on promoting mobility and flexibility.
- Ashtanga Yoga: If on the contrary you want a demanding practice, exercise and also sweat, the Ashtanga practice is for you. It is composed of 6 series and the idea is to be able to dominate each one before passing to the next, each serie is composed of sun salutations, standing and seated asanas and inversions, the idea is to be able to hold each Asana from 5 to 8 breaths focusing on the stability and posture of each one. Among the benefits of the Ashtanga we find, body detox, to build strength and gain flexibility, strengthening of the nervous system and improving stability among others.
- Vinyasa Yoga: This style also known as Vinyasa flow, consists of connecting different asanas during a sequence called Flow, where each movement is synchronized with breathing. What you can expect is a dynamic and fun class where each of the asanas won’t stay for long, each class is different and if you’re not a fan of monotony, this is the right style for you.
- Hata Yoga: Is the mother of all practices, unlike the Vinyasa style there is no connection between each pose and each one is held for a prolonged time for the body to assimilate each posture. It is an ideal style for beginners, as it helps to progressively understand the practice of Yoga in general. Generally the class will be accompanied by pranayamas, meditation and asanas which will progressively increase in difficulty between each class.
- Bikram Yoga: This style of Yoga is composed of 26 asanas that are performed in a closed room at 40 celsius degrees and 40% humidity. The idea is that each Asana is practiced separately by concentrating on breathing, the main benefits are the same that are obtained in other variants of Yoga, to which are added the greater vasodilation by heat. It would be something like adding a little sauna to the training, so it is also called Hot Yoga.
- Iyengar: This one also ideal for beginners because of the use of accessories such as chairs, pillows, blankets and straps, it helps to assimilate each posture more easily. Iyengar’s style emphasizes alignment, so there is a strict observation of the position of the spine, shoulders, hips and feet in each posture. Because there is a lot of emphasis on the particularity and needs of each individual’s body, the practice is highly therapeutic.
As I told you before these are just some of the Yoga styles that you will find in the many offers that contemporary Yoga offers, I hope you dare to try and give your mind and body the chance to find thousands of the benefits that this practice can bring!