Yoga styles can be confusing for a beginner trying to choose the right class. Can you explain the different types and who they’re best for?
Here’s the lowdown on the differences:
Hatha is a great introduction to yoga and the poses - it’s practised at a calm pace and works on general movement, alignment, breath and relaxation for the body and mind.
Vinyasa is a little more fast-moving, with fluid movements. It can vary from low to high intensity, and music sets the tempo. Vinyasa in Sanskrit means 'flow'. This will give you more of a cardio workout and the sequence will vary every time.
Ashtanga is much faster and physically demanding, for more advanced Yogis. Each movement is specific to an inhale or exhale and there is a pace. The order and the length of time you spend in a pose is the same every time, so it can feel a little regimented if you’re not used to the style.
Iyengar is prop-heavy, and almost every pose uses a chair, block, strap or blanket - it's a very supportive practice, and great for those with health conditions or disabilities. It’s usually a small class or one-to-one. The poses are held for longer, but you move in and out of each one by breaking it down and applying the props; less cardio more strengthening.
Jivamukti is much more of a spiritual practice. Meditation and chanting set the class, along with application of poses held vs. flowing sequences.
What should I look for in a teacher?
Someone who can offer an honest, thoughtful and supported practice. Their goal should be making yoga accessible to everyone.