Ask the expert: which yoga style is right for me?
Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, there are many different yoga styles. Are you a beginner yogi trying to find your favourite flow? We asked Alice Avery, yoga & fitness coach for her personal input.
First of all, everyone can do yoga and yoga is good for all of us!
There are many different types of yoga and you’ll like one more than the other, however it’s good to mix it up. All types have their benefits.
We are happy to help you out and give a summary of the most well known styles:
Known for its “creative flow” and for linking breath to movement, this is one of the most popular types of yoga (and one of my favourites). Often classes with different intensities are offered, from gentle vinyasa to power vinyasa which means everyone can give it a go. During a vinyasa class you’ll flow from pose to pose more swiftly compared to some other types of yoga where you might hold certain positions and stretches for a longer time. After a vinyasa class you will feel like you've worked out, had a great stretch and found new peace of mind.
This is a more “traditional” type of yoga. On top of asana (the positions), every class must include breathing exercises and meditation. This is often included in a vinyasa class but is up to the instructor to decide if they want to include it or not. This type of yoga often holds certain poses for a longer amount of time which is strengthening but also great to really get into the poses correctly and improve alignment. After a hatha class you will feel spiritually enlightened and stronger than before.
Yin yoga might seem boring at first (that’s what I thought!) but it is fantastic for your body. During this type of yoga you will hold certain poses, mostly stretches for a longer time. This way you can tap into your body’s connective tissue which is great to help your muscles/body recover, let go and unwind. It also helps with flexibility which in turn prevents injury. This type of yoga is a great addition for all intense (yang & pitta) humans out there. After a yin class you will feel zen AF.
This yoga form has a set list of exercises, always to be repeated in the same order. People love the repetitiveness, it helps you to zone out and be completely in the practice, but it’s also great because you’re able to measure your own progress.
The poses get harder the further you get into the “series” and usually your instructor decides when you are ready to move on to the next one. Similar to vinyasa you are flowing through the moves which makes it a very physical practice, however there is no room for creativity here.
There isn’t even any music allowed during an Ashtangna class, so you’ll come out of class being in trance by the sound of your own breath, and proud when mastering a series and moving on the next!
In this yoga form you also perform a set series of moves, in the same order, only you are in a hot room so you will be sweaty. Bikram is slightly different than hot yoga which is also popping up all over and usually a form of vinyasa yoga in a heated room. Bikram is pretty strict: no music, no corrections given by the instructor, always the same. Personally, I don’t like Bikram’s series and wonder if it’s very effective. However I do love hot yoga… it feels like you can get deeper into the poses and you feel like a new person when you walk out of the studio.
There are plenty more styles like Kundalini for those of us who like chanting and breath work, Aerial yoga if you like hanging upside down, restorative yoga for an amazing de-stressing session, Iyengar yoga if you like using props, and so on.
I recommend everyone to try as many styles of yoga possible, and take a couple of classes by different instructors before you completely write off a specific form of yoga, or yoga in general. Find a class that fills your soul and makes you feel amazing because that’s what yoga is all about! A healthy mind in a healthy body. Yoga literally means union. Union between mind, body and soul.
Thanks a lot, Alice!
Want to attend one of Alice's classes?
Follow Alice online through @thealiceavery or in real life at Antwerpen yoga. Still not convinced for a yoga class? Try one of her indoor cycling or bodyfit classes at Sportclub Het Eiland.
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