Beginner’s guide to different types of yoga

Confused by all the different kinds of yoga out there? You’re not alone
Yoga, class, hatha, fitness, asana, stretching
By June See |

There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there on the internet, particularly when it comes to fitness advice, and even more so when it comes to yoga specifically. If you’ve ever been curious as to what differentiates one kind of yoga from the next, look no further than this crash course. Certified yoga teacher Jessica Sinclair (who heads The Yoga Mandala in Singapore) spelt out the differences for us.

You may have seen the word ‘hatha’ before – it’s a permanent fixture on many class schedules. Jessica says hatha is the original and oldest form of yoga from which all other types stem from. It essentially refers to static postures (asanas) that are held for a longer period of time.

Vinyasa is considered more of a yoga flow, and involves a faster speed with more transitions between asanas. As it incorporates more aerobic movements, it brings more of a cardio component to the practice that can complement your workout.

This type of yoga refers to a fixed set of postures which practitioners do every day. It’s an athletic type of yoga which is fast and requires a lot of strength and control. Jessica herself is Ashtanga trained and is very, very strong. Check out her moves after wrist surgery:

Hot yoga usually involves hatha poses done in a heated room (where temperatures can go up to over 40C). Jessica doesn’t recommend doing inversions in a hot yoga session as it causes the blood pressure to rise, which could be uncomfortable for those with blood pressure conditions. Because of this, recommended posture options are more limited than with a standard yoga class.

The term ‘power yoga’ is used occasionally and refers to strength-based yoga that involves a lot of arm balancing and inversions (inversions are movements that take you upside down). Because the poses are more advanced, the transitions involved are also more complex.

Named after BKS Iyengar, this form of yoga incorporates the use of props and apparatus and is good for those who are less mobile like the elderly, injured or physically challenged. Studios need to be licensed to actually use the term ‘Iyengar yoga’.

Now you can un-furrow that brow when you look at your next class schedule because you’ll know what type of yoga class to look out for. Keep in mind that a good teacher is still the best way to learn the ropes so make sure whichever option you go for, it’s one where the teacher is paying attention to your form and adjusting you where needed.

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