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The Right Yoga For You

Have you ever thought to yourself  ‘right I am going to take up yoga’ and before you know it, you are presented with so many different names, types and approaches and suddenly the whole thing has become totally daunting and foreign! Then your mind skips forward and you imagine the instructor saying ‘and now…move into a Half Lord of the Fishes move…and breathe’ and you freak out because you have not got a clue what that is! Fear not though because here is a little overview for you on the different types out there and what each type is good for:

1. Hatha Yoga. Hatha yoga focuses a lot on the breath and is designed to align your skin, muscles and bones thus helping to improve the flow of energy through your body. Classes are often slower paced and are a great place to start if you are a beginner – intensity can vary however.

2. Bikram Yoga This is one that lots of you are probably familiar with – it’s all about the heat.  Classes are done at temperatures well above 40°C and they say that the higher temperature allows for a deeper stretch. It is also great for those wanting to recover from injury. Classes can be full on and work around 26 different poses. Top tip – dress in loose clothing and stay hydrated as you are gonna get sweaty!

3. Iyengar Yoga A form of Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga uses props (like wooden blocks, straps, harnesses & cushions) to help with precision and reducing the pressure on the body. It is therefore great for those recovering from injury and can be practiced both by beginners and advanced students. With such focus on precision, it is a good place to start for beginners.

4. Vinyasa Yoga Vinyasa yoga is all about movement and regularly changing poses. It is often just referred to as ‘flow’ and also focuses on the power of inhaling & exhaling.  Constant, almost dance like movement can mean you get a little sweaty while the focus on breath can have a calming influence on the mind. You will need to concentrate on the movements though if you are a beginner – don’t let that put you off though.

5. Kundalini Yoga Kundalini is perhaps the most spiritual of yoga styles and requires both mental & physical attendance. It is all about focusing on the base of your spine to relieve pressure and build strength.  Be prepared for dancing, jumping, deep breathing, long poses & work on your core and abs. This one is not for the faint hearted but is known to help with health, fitness, strength and general happiness. Practice encourages you to let go and unlock your barriers.

6. Ashtanga or ‘Power’ Yoga This is one of the more physically demanding yoga practices. It requires constant movement. It is great if you want to tone up the body and get a little cardio action in there. The aim is to produce intense internal heat to detox the muscles and organs. Results are improved circulation, a strong body and a calm mind.

7.  Anusara Yoga Another form of Hatha Yoga Anusara is another spiritually based practice with a focus on ‘the celebration of the heart’. It envcourages you to look inwards and see the light within you. Again there is a focus on alignment  and breath while props are sometimes used too.

8.  Jivamukti Yoga Jivamukti teaches that yoga is more than just physical exercise but is for spiritual development too. Classes involve meditation, chanting and can be quite physically intense. It also promotes a certain way of life which includes vegetarianism and kindness to all animals – it is perhaps the most diverse of yoga practises.

It really depends what you want to get out of a class – if it is a real work out, go for Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Bikram. If you want something that encompasses both a workout and a more spiritual approach then Anusara, Jivamukti and Kundelini are the ones to choose from. Be prepared and take your own yoga mat – try this one Our other top tip if you are taking on a sweatier class is to get a hot yoga towel – this will mean you can get a good grip and wont slip around on your mat. Love this one

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