We’ve rounded up some of the most common yoga practices to help you demystify the various types and what they involve so you can go forth and find your perfect practice.
We consider ourselves dedicated yogis — after all, there aren’t many activities that give you a great workout while putting equal focus on your emotional health. Since yoga is all about accepting where you are and finding an exercise that’s best for your body and needs, there is, naturally, a wide range of different styles, from what you might traditionally think of to the more spiritual. We’ve rounded up some of the most common yoga practices to help you demystify the various types and what they involve so you can go forth and find your perfect practice.
Essentially all yoga class you’ll find fall under the umbrella “hatha yoga.” Encompassing almost every type of modern practices, hatha is one of six original yoga branches. If you see it advertised, it should mean your bread and butter class — think traditional postures and breathing techniques.
Ashtanga classes are highly structured, moving through asana series where each student must master the pose in each series before moving to the next. Yogis transition from pose to pose with each inhale and exhale — linking breath and movement this way is called a vinyasa (and ashtanga is the predecessor of vinyasa yoga). This can be an intensive practice and is not necessarily recommended for beginners.
This is your standard hot yoga class. With the temperature cranked over 40 degrees and 40 percent humidity, it’s known to be great for weight loss, as well as improving circulation and boosting your metabolism. The heat can also help loosen your muscles so you can go deeper into certain poses.
This is ashtanga adapted for Western health nuts. Instead of following the same sequence of poses, vinyasa, or power, varies from class to class and teacher to teacher. The flow will be rapid, integrating aerobics with ashtanga.
The yin to your yang — in this case, the relaxation to your strength-building routine. Also known as Taoist yoga, yin is a quiet, passive practice that emphasises lengthening muscles by sustaining postures for several minutes. You’ll get a deep stretch while cultivating a meditative breath.
Kundalini (or “serpent”) yoga is a bit different than your traditional flow. This practice focuses on stimulating the life force found at the base of your spine, which is imagined as a coiled serpent. Poses will be invigorating, aiming to awaken this energy supply and send it throughout your body. Many yogis believe it helps with spiritual growth and allows us to tap into our full creative potential.
Perhaps less common, this practice is a great one for those of all levels and ages. Also known by its moniker “furniture yoga,” it was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar and draws on props like straps, blocks, and harnesses to help you perfectly achieve an asana. It prioritises alignment over building up a sweat, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy — if you’re looking for something a little gentler, we’d still recommend sticking with yin.
The best complement to a yoga practice? Our Soulara plant-powered meals, which are as delicious as they are nutritious to help you feel healthy, happy, sexy, and strong. Namaste to that.
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