Have you ever wondered what yoga classes you should choose? Many students ask for recommendations on what would be best for them and my answer is usually to try them and see how you feel.
The main objective of Yoga is to stop our suffering. To stop the suffering we have to help our body, mind and spirit to work in unison and harmony. And, most importantly, we need to try and stop the fluctuations of the mind.
There are a few paths to achieve this. Most yoga practices help you relax and improve your strength and flexibility.
Sometimes the choice will be a matter of personality as to what will be more suitable for you, sometimes it will be a matter of physical capacity, age, time of day, etc, that might make you choose one style over another.
This is great! There will always be pros and cons because Yoga is just like life: rich and multi-layered.
The origins of the different types of yoga vary in terms of where and when they were created and introduced to the general public. There is Ashtanga yoga (Yoga flow), Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, Raja Yoga… there are too many styles to list them all.
These schools of yoga differ in terms of the poses and techniques to get there.
For instance, Hatha yoga originated in 15th century India and was originally used to make the body a bit more supple and purify the mind before meditation. Ashtanga yoga is faster paced, the Asanas or postures tend to be linked and there is a criterion as to what goes after what.
Hatha yoga aims to help you concentrate the mind and open your nadis, or energy channels around the body. Asanas are held for a longer number of breaths and the postures are not necessarily linked. Hatha is sometimes recommended for people that are just starting with Yoga, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easier, it’s just slower.
In the video below you can experience a slower class, focusing on breathing and a little bit of Yoga Philosophy, introducing Swadyaya, self-study.
Vinyasa yoga can be more demanding physically and mentally than Hatha. Asanas change quickly and it is useful to have some knowledge of the names of the Asanas to keep up.
Ashtanga yoga was originally created to train military men. You can be certain that an hour of it will increase blood flow, works your cardiovascular system to create heat, and take you places you didn’t know you could get to.
However, Vinyasa has evolved, branching off into many schools and sub-styles.
You have to remember that it’s your Yoga. Many different paths can take you to the same destination. You can find your own way by trying out different styles and reflecting upon it at the stat and the end of the class, and maybe also the day after.
I am a great advocate of journaling to know what works and get clarity on how we feel.
Try it for yourself!
My one-hour flow classes are Ashtanga. The morning classes tend to be more of a Hatha style and on Fridays, we have the blissful Restorative class of Yin Yoga.
You can get details on all the classes I teach on the calendar
You can also try some recorded classes on my Youtube channel, remember to subscribe!
Here is a Yoga Flow video: