Exercise trends are constantly changing and adapting, while the newest workout fads continue to come and go. Yoga, however, is one workout regime that has stood the test of time – remaining one of the most popular practices in its 5,000-year history. However, with over 100 different yoga styles practiced around the world, from the peaceful hatha to the high-intensity power yoga, it can be difficult to know where to start, or which style is the best for your needs! That’s why The Doc has compiled the rundown on 9 of the most-popular-yoga-styles today!
Yoga’s popularity can be attributed to its ability to combine muscle strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation. It’s a total mind-body workout! And the perfect choice if you want a holistic approach to mind, body, and strength.
There are also significant health benefits to indulging in yoga, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease as it benefits breathing, lowers blood pressure, and can also improve posture. Yoga is also great for those who are pregnant or have arthritis; as yoga doesn’t put additional pressure on the joints and can keep you relaxed, strong, and in shape. Read about more of the health benefits of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation here.
While yoga is good for people of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels; there are different styles that are better suited to different people. After all a 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need or want, the same things from their yoga workout. Just like someone who is flexible may not practice yoga the same way as someone who is more muscular and stiff.
Hatha is all about the basics with slower movements that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. It is also one of the six original branches of yoga which means nearly all types of modern yoga take influence from this style. Expect a slower paced stretching-focused class with basic breathing technique and perhaps a seated meditation at the end.
Hatha is a good place to start for yoga newbies and those who want to work on their alignment, learn relaxation techniques, and build strength and flexibility.
A challenging but orderly approach to yoga. Consisting of six established (and increasingly strenuous) series of sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat meant to purify the body. You’ll perform the same poses in the same order each class and move through each of the six levels as you continue to make progress. This style is particularly great for building core strength and toning the body.
Best for: Those who appreciate routine, progress, and a challenge.
Translated as ‘arranging something in a special way’, Vinyasa or ‘Power’ yoga links movement and breath together like a dance. You won’t linger long in each pose, and the pace can be quite quick so get ready for your heart rate to rise. This practice was developed from the traditional ashtanga system to appeal to aerobic crazed Westerners. It is a great style for HIIT and cardio lovers, runners, and endurance athletes.
All about precision and detail, and your body’s alignment. Because each position is held for a long period of time; props including blocks, blankets, boards, and wall straps, are used to help you work within a range of motion that is safe and effective. It is also the reason that Iyengar has earned itself the nickname of furniture yoga! Iyengar is appropriate for all ages and abilities.
Prepare to sweat. Bikram consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heating to approximately 40 degrees Celsius and 40% humidity. This is done to not only warm up the body but also to assist with circulation, promote detoxification, and provide optimum conditions to improve the body’s internal systems. Each posture is designed to stretch and strengthen the specific muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints that are needed to perform the next movement. This method also stimulates organs, glands, and nerves to move freshly oxygenated blood around the body and restore everything to working order.
The heat provides a challenging environment, increases your strength and stamina and allows you to work safely into each movement. However, rest when you need to and be sure to hydrate beforehand.
Hot yoga is similar to Bikram in that it is practiced in a heated room. However, instructors aren’t constrained to 26 poses. The heat will make you feel like you can move deeper into some poses compared to non-heated classes.
Best for: Hardcore sweat lovers. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class.
Kundalini is a focus on repetitive and invigorating physical exercises coupled with intense breath work, chanting, singing and meditating. The goal is to break through your internal barriers; releasing the untapped energy residing within you and bringing you a higher level of self-awareness.
Best for: Those looking for a spiritual practice beyond a workout.
Yin yoga or Taoist yoga is a quiet, meditative practice. Poses are held for several minutes at a time; and are designed to target your deeper connective tissues, restoring length and elasticity to your body. They also perfectly compliment other styles of yoga, referred to as yang yoga. Yin poses are passive letting gravity do all the work so your muscles can relax.
Best for: People who need to stretch and unwind.
This mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds, allows your body to experience deeper relaxation. You may spend as many as 20 minutes in each pose using the strategically placed equipment. Think blankets, bolsters, and yoga blocks. Soothing lavender eye pillows are also used to help you relax even further into each pose. It is a great way to clear your mind and meditate yourself anew, and perfect for everybody.
If you need help with your health (beyond your ideal yoga style) than The Doc’s nutritionally balanced menus might be right for you. We want to meet your body’s needs with tailored programs that focus on achieving and maintaining long-term good health – not just weight-loss. Book in with one of our Docs and start next Tuesday.
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