women

Whether you want a slow, static practice or an energetic, flowing workout, there’s a style of yoga to suit your goal       

From the precision of classic Iyengar classes to the athleticism of ashtanga, there are more types of yoga to choose from than ever before, so you’re sure to find a method to suit you.

Find The Best Yoga For You

Find The Best Yoga For You

In ayurvedic medicine – the ancient system of healing practised in India – it’s believed the type of yoga you’re most attracted to is the type you least need. For example, stressed out, high-energy types are often attracted to the challenging poses of ashtanga yoga, but often what their constitution needs is the relaxing effects of gentler yin yoga.

First, you need to learn the basics of yoga (similar in most styles) in a beginner’s class, then you can start trying different yoga classes. Look for classes that challenge you but leave you feeling relaxed after. See how your body looks and feels after a month of regular practice. Your energy should increase, you should feel calmer, begin to see changes to your body shape and feel muscles you haven’t felt in a while! If this isn’t happening, try a different class.

Read on to discover the right type of yoga to suit your goals and body type, from Iyengar for a deep stretch to calming hatha.

there’s a style of yoga to suit your goal

There’s a style of yoga to suit your goal

Hatha

What is it?

Hatha means ‘energetic’ and it is the basis of all forms of physical yoga. Its primary purpose is to move prana, or energy, through the body using held postures and breathing.

Hatha means ‘energetic’ and it is the basis of all forms of physical yoga.

Hatha means ‘energetic’ and it is the basis of all forms of physical yoga.

What to expect

Classes usually last for 60-90 minutes and include breath awareness, a warm-up to open your joints and muscles, and prepare and open your body; a series of postures held for anything from one to 20 breaths; relaxation, breathing and perhaps some meditation at the end. Postures are usually slow and deep and not as dynamic as styles such as ashtanga or anusara.

Best for

Anyone who feels stressed, tired or wound-up. Hatha yoga provides a firm foundation for anyone looking to feel better.

Teacher’s tip

Opt for a six- to-eight-week beginner’s course to teach you the fundamentals of breath and alignment so you can join in classes with confidence.

Iyengar

What is it?

Developed in India by BKS Iyengar, this style is all about alignment and the finer details of postures. It uses props such as blocks, chairs, bolsters and ropes to help release and align your body in postures that are held for six to 20 breaths or even longer. It’s challenging but deeply effective.

Iyengar - Developed in India by BKS Iyengar, this style is all about alignment and the finer details of postures

Iyengar - Developed in India by BKS Iyengar, this style is all about alignment and the finer details of postures

What to expect

There are no sun salutations in this precise system and teachers may give instructions abruptly, so don’t take it personally! Some classes focus on a few postures to correct your alignment, which will then affect your practice overall. Expect to feel muscles you didn’t know you had.

Best for

People who love detail and precision and also want to stretch deeply.

Teacher’s tip

Make sure your teacher’s correctly accredited as this system needs specialist knowledge. See iyengaryoga.org.uk.

Ashtanga

What is it?

Created in 1948 by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, another of yoga’s modern founding fathers, ashtanga involves a series of around 50 postures practised in order. Sometimes referred to as ‘power’ or ‘vinyasa’ yoga, it’s a dynamic, flowing sequence that creates heat in the body and leaves you feeling sweaty, stretched and invigorated.

Ashtanga - Created in 1948 by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, another of yoga’s modern founding fathers, ashtanga involves a series of around 50 postures practised in order

Ashtanga - Created in 1948 by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, another of yoga’s modern founding fathers, ashtanga involves a series of around 50 postures practised in order

What to expect

Up to seven rounds of two types of sun salutations make your body hot, then a series of challenging standing, sitting, twisting, inverted and supine postures are held for five breaths each. Classes are rarely less than 90 minutes long and can sometimes run to two hours.

Best for

Sporty types, those wanting to get into shape quickly, anyone who likes to sweat and those who thrive on routine and structure.

Teacher’s tip

People with competitive, type-A personalities are often drawn to ashtanga yoga. Be careful not to run before you can walk. Don’t mimic experienced ashtanga yogis in your class – they do astoundingly pretzel-like postures that require strength and skill.

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