The weight of the body is supported in a soft hammock for a deeper stretch and development of core strength. It is a playful form of yoga, with flips, twist, tricks, spinning and body conditioning in the air.
Ashtanga is a vigorous style of yoga which offers offers a series of poses, each held for five breaths with half a sun salutation to keep up the pace. You can either attend a regular class or the more traditional Mysore style (see below).
Anusara yoga is a more modern form of Iyengar, developed in 1997 by John Friend. It encourages a joyful approach to life.
A fast flowing 90 minute class aimed at creating a power mind in life as well as a powerful body in class. The class is performed in a heated room with a sequenced designed to condition the whole body.
Bikram yoga is for those who wish to sweat. It was created by Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s who has designed sequence of 26 yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles as well as compress and “rinse” the organs of the body. The poses are done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins. Every bikram class you go to, anywhere in the world, follows the same sequence of 26 poses. There is controversy surrounding the ability to copyright any sequence of yoga postures.
Iyengar and ashtanga yoga come from the same lineage – the teachers who developed these styles (BKS Iyengar and the late Pattabhi Jois) were both taught by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. Many of the asanas (postures) are the same, but the approach is different. Iyengar yoga focuses on the subtleties of correct alignment and makes use of props – belts, blocks and pillow-like bolsters – help beginners get into poses with correct alignment, even when they’re new to them, injured or simply stiff.
A graceful type of yoga where postures are interconnected as opposed to held and released before moving to the next.
Hatha yoga really just means the physical practice of yoga (asanas as opposed to, say, chanting). Hatha yoga now commonly refers to a class that is not so flowing and bypasses the various traditions of yoga to focus on the asanas that are common to all. It is often a gentle yoga class.
Founded in 1984 by David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti means “liberation while living”. This is a vinyasa-style practice with themed classes, often including chanting, music and scripture readings. Jivamukti teachers encourage students to apply yogic philosophy to their daily life.
An introspective form of yoga where challenging postures are held for longer. It places great importance on awareness.
Kundalini yoga was designed to awaken energy in the spine. Kundalini yoga classes include meditation, breathing techniques such as alternate nostril breathing, and chanting, as well as yoga postures.
Ashtanga yoga taught one-to-one in a group setting. Students turn up at any time within a three-hour window to do their own practice as taught by their teacher. This is my preferred style of learning yoga and, I think, the safest and most traditional. You go at your own pace, on your own breath.
Teachers lead classes that flow from one pose to the next without stopping to talk about the finer points of each pose. That way, students come away with a good workout as well as a yoga experience. If you’re new to yoga, it is a good idea to take a few classes in a slower style of yoga first to get a feel for the poses. Vinyasa flow is really an umbrella term for many other styles. Some studios call it flow yoga, flow-style yoga, dynamic yoga or vinyasa flow. It is influenced by ashtanga yoga.
A more vigorous type of ashtanga style yoga, often with advanced postures. Can be very invigorating and Sweaty!
Restorative yoga is all about healing the mind and body through simple poses often held for as long as 20 minutes, with the help of props such as bolsters, pillows and straps. It is similar to yin yoga, but with less emphasis on flexibility and more on relaxing.
A whole yoga lifestyle approach with moderate intensity poses, breathing and relaxation with a vegetarian diet and cheerful life attitude.
Yin yoga comes from the Taoist tradition and focuses on passive, seated postures that target the connective tissues in the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Poses are held for anywhere between one and 10 minutes. The aim is to increase flexibility and encourage a feeling of release and letting go. It is a wonderful way to learn the basics of meditation and stilling the mind. As such, it is ideal for athletic types who need to release tension in overworked joints, and it is also good for those who need to relax.
A gentle form of yoga that focuses on sun salutations as warm-ups before more vigorous stretching.
Athletic style, targeted at the group exercisers in gyms and health clubs. Mixes poses with sit ups and other exercises. Franchised in North America and Canada.