One of the most confusing things about yoga is understanding the difference between each style, primarily when each type of yoga consists of similar asana postures(aka yoga poses). Within this article is a breakdown of 8 most popular types of yoga to give you more clarity when choosing a style for yourself. If you need further visualization, there are a few other effective ways of finding out the form of yoga that suits you. You can either consider searching each style of yoga on youtube for instructional videos or visit a gym/yoga studio and request for recommendations on their basic yoga classes.
The reason why yoga has become so popular is for the physical and mental health benefits that come with regular practice, such as lowering stress levels. The various styles emphasize breathing patterns, balance, posture, flexibility, relaxation, strengthening, meditation, and proper alignment. Benefits that many athletes have found to improve their performance when combined with their own physical fitness training.
So, before you decide that yoga isn't for you because of that one trial class, press on and try the other styles. As they tend to have a range of pace and difficulty level, one is bound to match your fitness style and intensity.
Hatha yoga is the classic form of yoga that focuses on practicing different yoga poses. It involves holding postures and controlling movement at a steady pace to develop strength in your muscles and build up endurance. This essential practice helps you familiarize yourself with the many yoga poses used as a foundation of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Power yoga. Combined with breathing techniques, this beginner-friendly form of yoga is meant to calm the mind and the body to help you relax better.
Vinyasa is a form of yoga that is at a faster pace than Hatha Yoga. Rhythmic breathing is synchronized with the rapid flow in the transition from one pose to another. Also known as flow or power yoga, it is considered a more fast-paced, athletic style that strengthens the muscles and improves stability.
Ashtanga yoga is a predictable practice that consists of a few series of vinyasas, each series set has a fixed sequence of poses. These series tend to be vigorous, physically demanding, and increase in difficulty with its many vinyasas. Synchronizing with the breath, it naturally creates internal heat in your body, making you sweat. For beginners, ashtanga yoga gets easier over time with consistent practice and perseverance. It is excellent for toning the body, improving balance, and increasing strength in your core.
Bikram yoga, also known as a hot yoga class, consists of 26 poses done in a particular order for 90mins. The session is in a room with humidity of about 40% and a temperature of more than 40 degrees Celsius. This form of yoga is performed in such an environment to flush out toxins from your body as you perspire. Challenging the mind and body, it would be good to practice some of the other forms of yoga as a beginner before attempting this.
Iyengar yoga places great emphasis on proper alignment of asanas and requires the holding of poses for a longer time. It makes you focus on the precision of musculoskeletal alignment for each pose. Together with the use of props such as yoga blocks and belts, to name a few, this style of yoga accommodates injuries or internal imbalances and helps to improve overall posture. This is fantastic for increasing the strength of even the smallest muscles in various parts of your back, legs, and core.
Yin yoga is a slow-paced practice that makes you hold poses for an extended period of approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Its style is primarily to strengthen targeted connective tissues like ligaments and tendons for the improvement of overall joint circulation and flexibility. Don't forget to relax and unwind with yin yoga.
Sun Salutation integrates 12 linked asanas in a sequence and is very much like a warm-up. With deep breaths, you will transition through the 12 asanas, stretching the whole front and back of your body.
For those who enjoy a fusion, Aerial yoga combines yoga with pilates and dance. Suspended from a hammock, this style of yoga uses gravity and your bodyweight to engage your core. Your natural instinct to hold your body in position while being suspended in mid-air helps you gain strength, stamina, and flexibility.
With the many benefits presented by each form of yoga, it isn't a wonder why these styles are popular and practiced by many. Whether it's to tone your muscles for that fit look, increase flexibility for your run or gain strength in your back for your next weightlifting session, find the style that suits you best, and make sure to use the right workout mat. There's a style for everyone, and it can make your fitness journey incredibly rewarding.
Team Asana Singapore