The various styles of Yoga
With so many different styles of yoga to choose from, it can be hard to know where to get started on your yogic journey. Each style has different benefits to offer, and they can vary in suitability depending on your existing ability! Read on to find out which type of yoga we offer and may be best suited to, and how your mind and body will benefit from embracing this spiritual practice.
Hatha is a traditional term used to describe any of the physical practices of yoga.
On the whole, Hatha Yoga is great for relaxing the mind, releasing tension from the body and improving strength and flexibility. Therefore you can expect to experience all of these results when you practice regularly.
There are many different types of yoga included under the Hatha label, and all are concerned with using your body in some physical way. There are some that are perfect for beginners and some that are better suited to those who are more experienced. As there are so many different types of Hatha Yoga it is impossible to say how difficult each individual will find a particular class.
In a Vinyasa Yoga class students will flow from one asana to the next whilst paying close attention to their breathe. It is one of the most popular forms of yoga practiced in the West.
Vinyasa means moving into a special place in a special way. The goal is to align breath and movement to reach an active meditative state or Vinyasa Krama.
Vinyasa Yoga has both physical and mental health benefits. The physical aspects of this practice help to energise the body, strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility, whereas mentally it can help to focus the mind and encourage clarity.
Vinyasa Yoga is accessible to all levels as there is something for students at every level of their practice. This also means that difficulty will vary from class to class.
Yin Yoga has a heavy focus on holding seated postures in order to strengthen and improve the muscles in this area. The poses are generally held for between one and ten minutes, and will provide both a physical and an emotional feeling of release.
Reduced tension in the joints, as well as improved flexibility, are noticeable results of practicing Yin Yoga. The relaxing meditative aspects of this kind of yoga can also contribute to an improved overall sense of peace and wellbeing.
Yin Yoga is suitable for everyone, and those who engage in high intensity sports, or those who experience high levels of stress during their day, can find relief for the body and mind through this practice.
The asanas involved with Yin Yoga are themselves not generally considered to be difficult, but the length of time that the poses are held could initially be considered difficult for beginners. However, as you persist with your practice your mind will soon adjust, just as your body will!
Kundalini yoga is open to all levels no matter what your yoga practice has been before, and for those who want to try something a bit different in their yogic practice.
Kundalini incorporates poses (asana), pranayama (breath work), mantra (chanting) and meditation. Many of the postures are designed to activate the naval and spine with the goal to build physical vitality, increase consciousness and awaken the flow of Kundalini energy.
There is a strong focus on stimulating and awakening the 7 chakras of the body to release energy and heal yourself.
After a Kundalini class you will leave feeling like you've gone to therapy, had a great workout and enjoyed singing with friends around you.
The many benefits of Kundalini yoga include elimination of back pain, ability to handle stress better and an increase of positivity around mind body and emotions.
As the name would suggest, Pregnancy Yoga is a style of yoga to be undertaken during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Yoga helps to promote relaxation, as well as improve flexibility and keep the muscles loose. It is specifically designed to support the body through the changes experienced during pregnancy. This type of yoga can also help to relieve the symptoms of common problems experienced during pregnancy, such as lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and sleep problems.
Because Pregnancy Yoga is designed to be a gentle and inclusive practice that any pregnant woman can participate in, it is totally suitable for absolute beginners and is generally not difficult at all.
This is a great way to help your children to relax and calm down whilst nurturing strength, flexibility and balance. It has also been proven to help with developing self-confidence and body awareness. Kids yoga is a great way to bond with your child and experience the joys of yoga and meditation with them, or it can be a way for you to have some alone time and leave them for an hour!
For a child to enjoy yoga the classes have to be fun and engaging. They can learn about and enjoy deep breathing techniques using fun exercises and experiencing yoga practice through a mix of stories, books, songs and games.
You might be surprised to see Meditation as a type of yoga, but the ultimate reason why we practice yoga exercises is to be able to meditate! If you find it hard to sit still for meditation, you could instead try sound healing meditation and find this more accessible to relax.
Or why not get gonged! Experience for yourself a Gong Bath and discover the internal healing as you reach deep levels of mental calmness and harness positive vibrations, which have been known to reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain and sleep disorders.
There are so many scientifically documented changes that occur in the mind and body when you meditate, which can help us navigate our way around a busy 21st century lifestyle.
Benefits including brain growth, increased immune function and decreased stress hormone production. The beneficial outcome of these changes are feeling less stressed and more energised.
When you’re stressed, the brain activates what is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. In this state, you instinctively sense danger and pre-empt something bad is about to happen. You move into ‘get things done’ mode and forget that the process is just as important as the outcome. But when you meditate you can reduce your stress levels and the 'fight or flight' response switches off.
As you make meditation a daily practice, you naturally find yourself more present, calm and curious. You realise that the real joy in life comes from being fully engaged in the present moment. The practice in itself creates the perfect conditions for your mind and body to rest. Your stress levels naturally reduce and brain function increases. You also begin to access a deeper part of yourself that is strong, stable and confident.
Feeling more relaxed and less under pressure, you’re able to meet life’s challenges with enthusiasm and creativity.
Developing a daily practice of meditation will grow your brain and cognitive ability that increases self-awareness and emotional intelligence. You then shift from living reactively and start living life creatively, enjoying life in the present moment without fear or stress.
Now that you know all the different styles of yoga, it's time to practice!
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