Yogi Kate Kendall helps explain 5 different types of yoga and their benefits

Do you know your Yin from Vinyasa?

By Kate Kendall • 3 years ago • HEALTH & FITNESS

 

We’re so lucky to have such choice and diversity when it comes to Yoga. We can snack on a little Yin and bite of a whole chunk of Vinyasa. There’s Power Yoga to pack a punch and Hatha for the more mellow mooded. And this is just a taste. The downside to this is that there’s a whole lot of confusion around what’s what and where it all came from. The answer to the origin of most yoga you see on the menu these days is really simple. Hatha Yoga.

We know Hatha Yoga as the mellow and more relaxing of types but actually it’s a broad term for most of the physical practices in the West these days. Everything from Vinyasa and Ashtanga to Iyengar and Power – it all falls under this umbrella term.

Below are a few different types of yoga (knowing that there are literally hundreds) that you’d usually get on your yoga menu:

ASHTANGA

A style of yoga that was made popular by Pattabhi Joi during the 20th Century. In a class, students follow a set sequence. The Primary series comes first after which you progress to Secondary. Many refer to it as being the modern day form of classical Indian Yoga. Ashtanga means eight limbs or ‘branches’ of which ‘Asana’ (yoga postures) are just one branch. Just goes to show that if we’re only practicing the shapes on a mat, we’re really only skimming the surface.

Key Benefits: Strength, mobility, joint stability, digestion, sleep.

VINYASA

This form of yoga is flowing variations of Ashtanga Yoga. There is an emphasis on breath and linking each movement to a breath. In this way the space between the postures becomes just as relevant as the postures themselves. As it’s not set to a sequence, teachers and students have a little more creative license in the way they practice or teach.

Key Benefits: Strength, mobility, joint stability, digestion, sleep.

YIN

Initially called ‘Daoist’ yoga, this style targets the deep connective tissue of your body and the fascia which covers the entire body. Because the study of fascia is still ongoing, we still have a lot to learn about the benefits of this type of yoga which helps to regulate the flow of energy in the body. Paul Grilley is one of the teachers who has brought this concept to the forefront. In one hour you may only do 4-5 postures as each are held for around five minutes each. Although it sounds like a picnic, the mental resilience built is astounding.

Key Benefits: Joint health and overall vitality as it focuses on the body’s systems through Chinese medicine.

RESTORATIVE

The intention of restorative is to release tension and truly relax. Using props and carefully curated postures, students are encouraged to be as comfortable as possible to release tension and truly ‘let go’.

Key Benefits: Relaxation, digestion, stress relief.

IYENGAR

Named after BKS Iyengar. This style’s emphasis on detail and precision in alignment makes it sound like a staunch and strict practice – which it is – but for good reason. It teaches safe and sustainable practice and because of it’s attention to detail makes for an excellent study in any yoga teacher training.

Key Benefits: Strength, mobility and joint stability

Image: Flow Athletic


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