Yoga is fast becoming one of the most popular fitness genres in the country thanks to due the myriad benefits it offers, which include amazing flexibility, great posture, de-stressing, as well as developing long and strong muscles.
However, many people remain a bit unsure about which type of class is ideal for them. So in the same way as you will find a little card in your favourite box of chocs outlining the flavours, here’s our simple guide to selecting the perfect yoga class for your needs.
Hatha – designed to create equilibrium between the the mind and body by means of various poses and breathing, clearing energy flows promote health and flexibility. It is a more relaxed method of yoga involving a variety of poses to increase flexibilty and strength. It is ideal for beginners all the way up to those at advanced level and tends to be favoured by people who enjoy the relaxation benefits yoga offers, because it is especially good for dealing with stress, quite apart from the physical benefits it confers.
Lyengar – this is a therapeutic form of yoga, concentrating on posture, spinal alignment and helping to improve physical afflictions and illnesses. This type of regime differs from other forms of yoga in that it employs various pieces of equipment like blocks, straps, chairs and blankets to help users reach and maintain poses and postures. It is great for a broad range of participants, from those just starting out, those recovering from injury and people who want to participate in a gentler style of yoga.
Ashtanga – this is very popular in the fitness industry these days. It involves a great deal more aerobic conditioning than hatha, helping to increase stamina and durability, but it also offers other benefits like detoxing, spinal alignment as well as having an invigorating effect on the mind and body
Bikram – this is probably the most popular kind of yoga at the moment, one we are seeing practiced just about everywhere, involving the temperature in the club or other room where the workout is taking place being cranked up to the max and where the switch from one pose to another is much more athletic and explosive in nature, as you can see from the video below. You are going to sweat a lot during these classes so a towel and lots of water are essential if you want to avoid becoming dehydrated. This type of class is aimed at a reasonably fit person and is not recommended for absolute beginners, pregnant women or people suffering from ailments exacerbated by heat. If in doubt, speak to your doctor and the instructor for their advice before going to the class.