Your Body, Your Yoga - Class Styles

Updated: Aug 16, 2021


Stepping into a new fitness or self care routine can sometimes be a little overwhelming, we feel called to try something new, we might try it and love it, we might try it and dislike it but we have to keep on exploring until we find something that resonates!


I was never into 'fitness' until I found Yoga, what drew me to yoga was actually the meditation side, then after attending a few classes I became hooked on the focus, the benefits of getting strong and flexible at the same time and the final relaxation at the end!

I practiced religiously for two years straight before completing my first teacher training and have never looked back since. I teach many different styles and somehow they are always influenced by my own experience through my personal practice, they have an underlying foundation of emotional connections and philosophy. I like students to understand why they do what they do in class and what you practice on the mat can quite literally translate to life off the yoga mat.


Here are a few Yoga 'Styles' you may have heard of with a little breakdown to help you gain a little more insight of their qualities. To help you have a well rounded practice I always recommend trying all of them, variety is the spice of life after all! After a few explorations you will soon find a style that just 'makes sense'.


VINYASA FLOW YOGA

Vinyasa is a very common style of yoga that you may have unknowingly practiced! Vinyasa comes from the word Nyasa which translates as 'to place', within Vinyasa yoga we place the body from movement to movement, pose to pose, layer to layer guided by the breath. It is a continuous flow that unites the movement to each breath. We move with intention whether this is slow or fast, strong or within stillness. It honours the ebb and flow of life. You may have also heard it called a Yang practice, which means, movement, heat, flow. The opposite to Yin!


Benefits:

Increases flexibility & mobility in the joints.

Boosts circulation and can help detox the body.

Faster paced classes can increase the heart rate, boosting your cardio!

Unites the body and breath which calms the mind.

Strengthens the core, as well as every other muscle in the body!

A continuous flow brings us into a dance like practice, it can be very expressive which helps you to release held in stresses and emotions.

It brings you into the present moment as you're always focused on what your body and breath are doing!



ASHTANGA YOGA

One of my all time favourites! Ashtanga yoga is where Vinyasa was born, it's a continuous and challenging practice where we move through a specific sequence. The sequence can come from any of the series of Ashtanga (there are 5) commonly taught in a studio you will find series 1, it has an opening flow of Sun Salutations A+B, standing poses, seated poses, backbends and inversions. Every time you practice you repeat the same sequence, this instills deep discipline and you can feel your focus and drive increasing. I love the challenge and this was a practice that was a huge influence on my personal journey for many years. Ashtanga translates to 'eight limbs' in which you can find guidelines or philosophies of life, this is something that I abide by in life and teach within all of my classes!


Benefits:

Brings focus, discipline and purification to the body and mind.

Strengthens the WHOLE body.

Builds a strong sense of purpose and dedication.

Brings inner strength and clarity.

Its challenging, dynamic and will make you sweat.

The primary series takes about 90 minutes to complete so you will work incredible hard, it's all worth it!

Lengthens and strengthens muscles and keeps you young at heart.



YIN YOGA

One of the most beneficial of practices, Yin yoga primarily works with stretching the connective tissues, fascia, ligaments and joints rather than muscle. We will still feel a strong sensation of a stretch but rather than actively stretching we are still within this practice. We can use bolsters, pillows and props to support the body for long periods of time. You will often find about 5-6 postures within an hours yin class, all of these postures may target areas surrounding the pelvis, spine, upper body and shoulders. Once we settle into the pose we will rest here for 5,10 even 20 minutes. As the body relaxes this will increase the length of the connective tissues. Yin yoga is a practice that works closer to the core (bones) of the body, very similar to acupuncture it helps us to release deep held emotional stress and tension. You will honestly feel completely relaxed, sleepy, restful and completely open in more ways than one after a Yin class, it just may take a little while to get used to the sitting with discomfort!


Benefits:

Calms the mind and activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Increases flexibility.

Stretches the connective tissues (think of a tough spider web coating the muscles).

Increases the lung capacity.

Reduces stress and anxiety.