If you’re new to yoga and you’re trying to find the right class it can be a bit daunting, there’s a faster one, a slower one, a hot one, what’s the difference between Hatha and Ashtanga, it can all be a bit daunting! But don’t let it put you off! We’ve put together some explanations of the main six that you might come across to help you see which style might be right for you!
Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught here in the West is Hatha yoga, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won’t work up a sweat in a Hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling relaxed and stretched out!
Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was brought to the in the 1970s. It’s a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to Vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.
About 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like never before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses. Like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence.
- Hot Yoga
Largely the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram’s sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you’ll definitely build up a sweat!
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word for a phrase that roughly translates as “to place in a special way,” referring to a sequence of poses. Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two Vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and want to test your physical limits, then this may be the class for you.
Restorative yoga is a wonderful way to relax and soothe your soul. Restorative classes use props such as blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class can be more rejuvenating than a nap!