I can see why people get intimated starting yoga. First there is an idea that you need to flexible and bendy, you don’t. Then once you are by that blocker you are bombarded by so many types of yoga classes you don’t know where to start! Or worse still you start with an Ashtanga class! Which would probably put you off yoga for life if it was your first class.
At yoga studios, gyms, church halls and during the pandemic online, the choice on offer is huge. Ashtanga, Iyengar, Forest,Flow,Vinyasa, Yin, Detox,Kundalini,Bikram, Hot Yoga, Restoritive,Yogilates! and the list goes on, I am sure you get the point if you have ever looked.
Wether you have dabbled in a few different classes, or a beginner, finding the right class for you and the right teacher is vital, as this is what will keep you coming back.
Hatha yoga is the root of all modern classes in the west, You will find teachers who only teach Hatha yoga like myself. Generally, Hatha yoga is slower and more mindful, but it can also be practised a bit faster, holding poses longer, and this resulted in all of the other names for classes starting to appear. It also gives people an idea of what was going to happen in class, but it can be confusing. My advice is to start with a Gentle Hatha class and then try a few others to see what suits you best.
Below is a short list and description of some of the classes.
SOME WESTERN CLASSES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Flow Yoga or Vinyasa – This is hatha yoga where you will move faster from pose to pose
Restoritive and Yin – Time will be spent getting into the poses, taking time to notice breath, letting gravity help with the stretches, You will be in these poses for 5 or more minutes.
Dynamic or Power Yoga – Like flow, you will move fast between poses, holding for longer.
Detox Yoga – Hatha yoga with lots of twists, massaging the kindneys and liver.
Hot Yoga – Similar to Bikram, but not sticking to the 26 poses, a flow class in heat.
YOGA CREATED BY INDIAN YOGA TEACHERS
Ashtanga – This is not a western form of yoga, this was created by K. Pattabhi Jois and in the 1940s and is a strong form of yoga, a set series of postures.
Bikram – Created by Indian Yoga Teacher Bikram Choudhury. Yoga practiced in heat, 26 poses in same order, practised in a room heated to 40C. Loved by many, but be careful with this one as you are open to injury as you are way more flexible in the heat and can push yourself too far.
Kundalini yoga -Swami Sivananda is noted introducing this yoga to the world in 1935. This is a revitalising form of yoga, based on Hatha poses, including breathing exercises, meditation and chanting.