YOGA STYLES & WHERE TO START
"THE NATURE OF YOGA IS TO SHINE THE LIGHT OF AWARENESS
INTO THE DARKEST CORNERS OF YOUR BEING"
There are so many different yoga styles and practices out there now it can be tricky to know what's what and where to start.
When starting a yoga journey or going to public classes is good to have an idea of what different classes can offer you so you can find a class that best serves you and your needs.
Below are just some of the styles of yoga available out there.
A dynamic and challenging practice that flows seamlessly from one posture to the next. The practice becomes a moving meditation as you begin to link breath with movement.
Helping to build strength, flexibility, coordination, stamina and discipline of both mind and body. As the body is challenged we are able to notice the fluctuations of the mind and emotions. With the intention of finding a sense of ease, acceptance and compassion for ourselves throughout no matter where we are on our journey.
Still a moving practice, but a little slower and steadier than a vinyasa class. Hatha gives you more time and space in postures with a few more variations and modifications and a few less chaturangas and downward facing dogs. Holding postures for longer periods of time can help us to find the best alignment for our bodies and feel a little deeper into the posture. Great for people newer to yoga or who still want to move but would like a steadier pace. Classes usually incorporate pranayama (breath work) and elements of meditation.
Yin yoga is a perfect accompaniment to our more yang styles of movement like vinyasa. Yin is about slowing down and tuning in. In yin, postures are typically held for 3-5 minutes allowing the body to relax to open deeply into the fascia and connective tissues. Letting go of muscle tension, our aim is to find stillness, softness and a sense of surrender as we allow our body to open in their own time. Letting go of any strain, pushing or needing to 'do' more, our nervous system can begin to relax allowing us to feel at ease. Great for reliving stress, tension and anxiety.
ROLL & RELEASE
Using two rubber/tennis balls, this wonderful practice helps to open the body by rolling and releasing fascia and muscle tension as you apply pressure to different areas. It helps to improve blood circulation, suppleness and mobility and helps to relieve pain. Fascia can build up in the body, and if it's not looked after can restrict our freedom of movement. This is a fantastic practice for anyone, particularly those who hold tension in the body, have any niggles from old injuries or do any sort of strenuous physical work including strengthening exercises. You finish this class feeling like you've had the most blissful massage.
There are many different forms of meditation from Transcendental to Zen. All valid and beneficial. But the important thing is, they all have one thing in common, a single point of focus, focusing the mind and attention on one thing. Western science is even beginning to catch up with the benefits of meditation that yogis have known for thousands of years, including, calming the nervous system, relieving stress, tension, anxiety, depression, and helping to improving focus, attention, presence, mindfulness, wellbeing, gratitude - the list is endless!
Breathwork refers to any type of breathing exercise or technique. Traditionally in yoga our breathwork practices are called pranayama. Some pranayama practices help to calm the nervous system, some help to balance and focus our minds and some help us to feel more energised and invigorated. There are cleansing breath techniques, long practices, short practices, complicated practices, and many that can take you on an epic healing journey. What's important is to practice breathwork with a qualified practitioner that knows what they're doing so that you're safe and supported on your journey.