Something a lot of people ask is how to find a good teacher and what type of yoga they should do. It is really personal. Teachers you may love, drive others crazy. You have to be open minded (patient) and try different teachers until you catch one whose classes you love – then hold on tight. You might love the intensity of a strong firey class, whilst other hate the power and the fast pace. Most studios offer an ‘introductory offer’ which is a great and affordable way to try different teachers and styles without committing to membership.
I am going to fire through the most popular styles, the classes you will most likely see and wonder about at your local studio.
HATHA – this is the blanket over most of the yoga classes you will come across. Hatha classes are defined by their physical postures and breathing techniques. Typically if you see Hatha Yoga advertised I would expect it to be slower paced and not quite as dynamic.
VINYASA – you are going to recognise the postures here from a hatha class we are just moving a little quicker with the breath – I would say there is usually more creativity and freedom (for the teacher and student). This is my personal fave!
ASHTANGA – this is a very structured vinyasa class. You would find the same sequences class in class out, and in order to ‘move on’ you have to master each posture as you go.. I find it a bit to disciplined boring if I am honest – but if you are someone who like routine then I guess here’s a strong start.
ROCKET – think vinyasa, speed it up and add a few more tricks. This is a fun, dynamic, punchy practice. You don’t have to be a pro to give it a go by any means – but do go expecting a challenge and quite a hefty workout for the wrists and shoulders. This is a style of yoga that grew from the frustration of the ashtanga discipline.
POWER – I am squeezing this in here as you will have seen it on class schedules it isn’t actually a style of traditional yoga. We are basically talking a vinyasa class that packs a punch, and probably in the absence of any spiritual chit chat.
JIVAMUKTI – I do love a jivamukti class! This well balanced vinyasa style class brings together a strong physical practice, education / a little take away lesson and meditation. The training for this style of yoga is hefty – in both time and cost. So I would say as a rule most jiva teachers are pretty damn good > they have really thought about and dedicated them self to this practice. Heads up there is always a bit of chanting so if that isn’t your jam or your brand brand new it might be overwhelming.
IYENGAR – this is a heavily alignment focused class which as an osteopath you would have thought I love. However it is a very static, very still, very slow class – there is a huge amount fo precision and time put into the postures which are assisted by the use of props. Horses for courses but if you want to go, move, flow, be free and get a sweat on then this might not be for you.
YIN – the dream of all yoga classes. Deeply relaxing, slow paced. You may use bolsters and blankets to settle into the postures for long enough that you fully open, twist, release. If your other forms of training (or life) is super intense outside of the studio then this would a great way to relax and unwind.
I hope that helps and takes away any confusion that comes when you look as a busy studio schedule.
The classes I teach fall somewhere between vinyasa, rocket and power depending where I am teaching – I appreciate the alignment focus of iyengar and love the practice of jiva so both have a little say but they aren’t fields I have any training in.
The same goes for my online classes – I would say the daily movement series are mini vinyasa classes / a gentle introduction to the practice.
Enjoy trying the different styles and let me know how you get on.