Fitness

What type of yoga is best for you

Photography by Lauren Hayes Image by: Photography by Lauren Hayes Author: Canadian Living

Fitness

What type of yoga is best for you

With the assistance of Christine Russell, yoga and meditation instructor and cofounder of Toronto's 889 Yoga, we've broken down the most common styles of yoga. Remember, every studio interprets these styles differently, so always call ahead before starting a new class.

For a gentle practice
Hatha: This refers to one of the original forms of yoga from India. These days, it's used as shorthand for gentle yoga. Try it if you're looking to relax or learn the foundational poses.

Iyengar: An alignment- and anatomy-focused practice that's a form of hatha, Iyengar will help you perfect your poses and breathing.

For a high-energy workout
Ashtanga: A more vigorous form of yoga, this style consists of a set series of poses. Movements are linked to breathing, and you will definitely feel the effects the next day.

Vinyasa (or vinyasa flow): Likely to make you sweat, this style consists of fast-paced, fluid movements. While it's similar to ashtanga in that poses are linked to breathing, the sequencing changes each class, which helps keep your body guessing.

For cross-training
Power yoga: A sportier form of yoga, this is a faster-paced style which often shares some similarities to vinyasa yoga. There are lots of poses that involve using your own body weight, so it's more focused on building strength and stamina.

For a serious sweat session
Hot yoga: You've probably heard of the most popular types of hot yoga: Bikram and moksha. Both are more or less the same and involve a set series of poses in a heated room. Hot yoga is great for detoxing, but steer clear if you're not good with high temperatures or have health issues.

For a spiritual experience
Kundalini:
This style is focused on breath and meditation. It also corporates music to bring out inner spiritual energy.  

For ultimate relaxation
Restorative yoga:
This style is perfect for those who need to decompress or who are recovering from an injury or illness. Most of the movements are done on the floor using props such as blocks and pillows. Typically, you'll hold each pose for 10 minutes to calm your parasympathetic nervous system.

Take a pause

If you have any health issues, be mindful of the practice you choose. Yoga can be very beneficial, but it can also lead to injury or exacerbate existing injuries if done improperly. If you are pregnant, consult a doctor before starting or continuing a yoga regimen.

New to yoga? Discover how yoga can benefit your body and mind with these seven easy yoga poses.
                                               
This story was originally titled "The Om Effect" in the September 2014 issue.
           
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