women

What is it?

A relatively new style of yoga founded in 1997 by California-based John Friend, anusara has a strong spiritual element to it and is influenced by Iyengar in its focus on correct alignment. Anusara literally means ‘flowing with grace’ and is an uplifting form of yoga that emphasises flowing, heart-opening postures.

Anusara -  A relatively new style of yoga founded in 1997 by California-based John Friend

Anusara -  A relatively new style of yoga founded in 1997 by California-based John Friend

What to expect

An energising yoga class experience that works your body deeply, so you will sweat. Classes have an emphasis on bending, rotating and twisting the spine, along with striving for correct alignment. Be prepared also for chanting, breath work, meditation and music (both modern and yogic!) so your mind is fully engaged along with your body.

Best for

People wanting a deep workout that’s guaranteed to lift your mood and introduce you to yogic philosophy in practice.

Teacher’s tip

A good anusara teacher will make your body feel lean, stretched and opened, and also talk about ways to apply your practice to your everyday life.

Sivananda

What is it?

Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda who developed it in the middle of the 20th century, this is a slow, considered form of yoga designed for health and wellness. Its emphasis is on balancing postures with breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation.

Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda

What to expect

Classes start and end in Corpse pose (or Savasana, where you lie on your back), which is also practised between the more challenging postures to ensure the body is relaxed after working hard. Breathing practices are done at the start of the class, and only 12 basic postures are then practised, with the aim of opening the energy channels in the body.

Best for

Anyone wanting more serenity and a yoga experience that balances the fundamentals of breath, meditation and chanting with a simple posture practice.

Teacher’s tip

Sivananda is a great choice if you’re interested in finding out more about yogic diet and philosophy.

Yin

What is it?

Founded by chi kung expert Paulie Zink, yin yoga holds postures still with long, slow breathing to work deeply into connective tissues, promote circulation and help release energy blockages.

yin yoga - Founded by chi kung expert Paulie Zink

Yin yoga - Founded by chi kung expert Paulie Zink

What to expect

The emphasis is on stretching and opening your muscles, so postures are held for up to five minutes, and you may only get through 12-15 poses in a 90-minute class! Classes are deeply relaxing and often done with the lights down.

Best for

Anyone feeling burnt out, with injuries or illnesses to restore their energy.

Teacher’s tip

Named after the ‘yin’ of ‘yin/yang’, this is great to do as well as a more dynamic yoga practice or alongside a weight or aerobic training programme to deeply stretch your muscles.

Jivamukti

What is it?

Founded in 1984 by artist David Life and former dancer Sharon Gannon, jivamukti is a vigorous form of yoga that emphasises dynamic moves through postures, coupled with a focus on Indian philosophy.

Jivamukti - Founded in 1984 by artist David Life and former dancer Sharon Gannon

Jivamukti - Founded in 1984 by artist David Life and former dancer Sharon Gannon

What to expect

A combination of flowing ‘vinyasa’ postures (with hands-on adjustments for alignment from teachers) along with breathing, meditation, Sanskrit chanting, philosophical discussion and deep relaxation.

Best for

Anyone wanting to take a challenging flowing class where they can learn how to apply yogic philosophy to their life.

Teacher’s tip

There’s often gorgeous music playing in classes – anything from chanting to a five-piece band!

Kundalini

What is it?

It uses active and passive postures to awaken ‘kundalini’ energy, the life force that, in yogic philosophy, is believed to be stored at the base of your spine.

Kundalini

Kundalini

What to expect

Rapid, repetitive movements that can be different from regular postures. Chanting and meditation is included and the teacher may play a gong and sing.

Best for

Anyone interested in experiencing the more esoteric and spiritual side of yoga.

Teacher’s tip

The release of kundalini energy has been practised for centuries. You may be surprised by the power of this practice and become emotional during or after a class – this can be a great release.

Bikram

What is it?

A series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises are done in a standard order in a hot room over 90 minutes. The intense heat warms muscles and joints and encourages increased mobility and flexibility – and sweat, lots of it.

 
Bikram - A series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises are done in a standard order in a hot room over 90 minutes.

Bikram - A series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises are done in a standard order in a hot room over 90 minutes.

What to expect

Classes are usually crowded with mats close together at busy times. Studios are bright and teachers often blare out instructions through a microphone. Bikram practice can help shape your body and release excess weight, but you need to practise around three to five times a week. Make sure you talk to your teacher about injuries or medical conditions you have before you begin.

Best for

Anyone who wants to feel they’ve really worked out. Although Bikram yoga can help elevate your mood, the spiritual aspects of yoga are rarely mentioned.

Teacher’s tip

Wear as little as possible! Most people tend to wear shorts and tank tops to help them keep cool. Take a towel and a large water bottle. As people tend to sweat so profusely, you may want to bring your own mat.

For a complete guide to yoga, grab a copy of H&F’s new Shape Up with Yoga MagBook. Written by a qualified yoga instructor, the step-bystep guide offers all the advice and tuition you need to practise at home, including 50 top poses, tailored workouts and a six-week beginner’s plan. Shape Up with Yoga is available online at magbooks.com $11.

 

 

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