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Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian philosophy that combines breathing, diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation to
give your mind, body and soul a workout.
However, it seems a new ‘type’ of yoga comes on the scene every week so we have decided to have a look at the most popular types to make things a little clearer.
This yoga practise is faster than many types as you rapidly, flow from one pose to the next with each inhale and exhale. It is based on six established poses that can be pretty strenuous if done correctly. You go from the primary series, second series, third series, and so on with each series of poses linked by the breath. This co-ordinated movement of breath and pose is called a ‘vinyasa’.
Also knows as hot yoga, Bikram is all about yoga being practised in a sauna-like conditions and has become increasingly popular over the past decade. Whatever the weather is outside, when you take a Bikram class the temperature is turned up to 105 degrees which in turn tends to create an environment of around 40% humidity. Created by Bikram Choudhury, this practise is made up of a series of 26 basic postures and each one is performed twice.
As one of the six original ‘branches’ of yoga, Hatha is a universally popular yoga practise and enjoyed by thousands. Classes tend to take a classical approach with time spent on getting breathing and basic postures right. If you want a balance of effort and relaxation, this could be a good starting point.
Named after the founder B.K.S. Iyengar, this is considered to be a purist form of yoga. Blocks, boards, harnesses and straps are often used in classes to help students get into the perfect position. Practised by people of all ages and abilities, Iyengar yoga focuses on precise alignment and exact sequencing, but do not be fooled, it isn’t an easy option.
Power or Vinyasa
This is a pretty active and athletic style of yoga and is based on Ashtanga. Unlike Ashtanga, power yoga doesn’t follow the exact same sequence of poses and you may find the style changes with the teacher. After the class you will feel like you have moved and worked-out, so remember to take a little time to reflect and mediate afterwards.
Yoga during pregnancy has become quite ‘a thing’ and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Teachers create classes based on specifically adapted poses that help women in all stages of pregnancy. As well as aiding relaxation and breathing, yoga can help keep muscles strong during pregnancy and give them the strength and energy to return to normal once the baby has been born. Always check the credentials of the teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga Teachers and if you experience any pain during a class, stop and consult your GP or out of hours service.
This is less about working out and more about relaxing and taking stock. Time will be spent doing four or five simple poses with blankets, bolsters and lavender oil being used to deepen relaxation levels. Many people feel that this is like a psychic cleansing of the mind and leaves them feeling feel brand new and refreshed afterwards.
Why not try out a class or two and find a yoga that is right for you?