From the playful child’s pose to the strength of the warrior, weaving in a daily yoga practice is a perfect way of inviting flow into your spirit. Even just taking a short time each day to commit to the body, to clear the mind and bring it back to the breath can work wonders on our mental and physical health. But with so many different styles of yoga – how do you know which one to pick? From Ashtanga to Yin and Vinyasa, here’s how to whittle down the style of yoga to match your soul…
Vinyasa is all about the breath flow and moving the body in a fluid and graceful manner. This is the style of yoga you want if you are looking to build upon your flexibility and to tone the body. The stretches are normally dynamic and energizing (think Sun Salutations and Warriors), and there’s lots of movement involved. Vinyasa is for those who want to move, stretch and feel the flow of energy – perfect for morning sessions.
Fast and challenging, Ashtanga yoga picked up the pace back in the 1970s. Originating in India, this style of yoga calls on six asana poses. Breath, pose, and visualization play a big role in this style of yoga. For those seeking to build on their strength, lengthen their leanness and to push the body to the place of active practice then Ashtanga could be the answer. Be prepared to practice often, to be sore, but to thoroughly feel the rewards both mentally and physically.
We live in a highly yang society and sometimes we need a bit of yin to help balance us out. Yin Yoga is all about the gentle flow, the long hold, and the big pause. Each pose is held for a long amount of time, the practice is often done in sweet meditative silence, and there is little movement. For those who want to invest their time in a yoga practice that instills deep calm and cuts out the chaos, this is a dreamy in-depth choice.
The awakening yoga, the one that invites you to move and meditate, Kundalini is often used by those who want to open their seven chakras and invite the cleansing healing flow to move from the crown to the root. Kundalini is a process that leans heavily on the spiritual side and asks you to enter with an open mind.
Hatha yoga is a glorious choice for beginners who want a gentle easing into things. This style of yoga is pretty gentle and tends to focus more on the movement as opposed to the breath and meditation. Hatha makes for great foundation learning, helping you to learn how to move your body into asanas. As Hatha lays the foundation for many kinds of yoga (from Bikram to Yin) it does make sense to kickstart your yoga journey with this one.
Bikram yoga can be intense. It came into being in the ’70s and was born from Bikram Choudhury who created a style of yoga to be practised at high temperatures. This hot yoga style is supposed to be practised in a room where the temperature is high in humidity and hitting the 105F. Why the heat? It is supposed to help flush toxins from the body, keep the blood flowing, and put the yogi into a high state of pure joy.
Which yoga style do you love best? Share your favorite yoga styles in the comments and why that style works for you.