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Beginner’s Guide: Eight Major Styles of Yoga

If you are a beginner, looking to “contort” into the yoga scene, you might have noticed that the Tree of Yoga has many branches…

Okay, metaphors aside. Yoga has a ton of different styles which may be confusing to beginners like myself who had no idea what the difference was between hatha and hot yoga. To help you avoid making the same mistake I did, here is a gentle breakdown of some of the popular styles practiced around the world today.

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Which means, nearly all types of yoga is Hatha Yoga. So if you scroll through the KFit app – 😉 –  and come across a class marketed as Hatha Yoga, you are most probably getting gentle introductions to the basic postures in yoga. This makes it great for beginners! You probably won’t be sweating all that much during the session, but you will definitely leave the room feeling looser and relaxed.

2. Vinyasa Yoga

The term Vinyasa means “to be placed in a special way” and is known for its fluid, movement-intensive approach. That makes Vinyasa one of the more athletic styles which is sorta like a graceful dance. It’s quick pace and continuous movement makes it a fave for intense exercisers and runners because you won’t be holding poses for too long.

3. Bikram Yoga

Named after its creator, Bikram Choudry, this yoga style consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in a room heated to approximately 40 degrees Celcius and 40 percent humidity. Man that is hot! If it is your first time, take it easy and remember to keep yourself hydrated because the heat can make it quite rigorous. Don’t worry though! All Bikram classes follow the same routine so you will know what to expect the second time you go in.

4. Hot Yoga

Bikram’s less predictable cousin. Hot Yoga deviates from Bikram in the sense that it does not follow the same 26 pose routine. BUT it is still performed in a heated room so be prepared to sweat like crazy.

5. Ashtanga Yoga

If you like a challenge and love structure, then Ashtanga might be the yoga style for you! Similar to Bikram, Ashtanga performs a sequence of physically demanding poses in a specific order. Not in a heated room of course, but you will still sweat, A LOT.  This style was created by Sri Pattabi Jois and was meant to purify the mind and body. However, beginners are advised to try other classes to learn the basic poses before jumping into Ashtanga as it is probably one of the most difficult styles of yoga today.

6. Yin Yoga

Sometimes we just need to slow down and relax because life is moving too fast. Sometimes, we just need to Yin Yoga. Its slow paced style was designed to help you sit longer, and more comfortably on your journey to discovering inner peace. It forces us to slow down and let all these deadlines fade into the background. Each pose is usually held for 3 to 5 minutes. The classes are relaxed, just let gravity do the work.

7. Aerial Yoga

One of the more interesting styles of Yoga. Aerial Yoga deviates from other forms because you’ll be performing poses MID-AIR – on a  soft fabric hammock that hangs from the ceiling. Almost like a long scarf. A super durable and strong long scarf. Strong enough to hold close to 900 kg! So no need to worry about the hammock tearing. Also, it has been suggested that aerial yoga allows its practitioners to stretch further as there is more freedom of movement in the air. Definitely, need to try at least once.

BY THE WAY, you can find all these major styles on KFit! 😉

Till next time, keep fit! 🙂

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