You may be interested in taking up yoga for many reasons, including wanting to improve on your posture and for its health benefits, but there are so many types of yoga that you may not be sure where to start. Proponents of each type will claim that theirs is the best and most complete system; but the truth is, you have to find what works for you. Each method has its merits and if applied properly, all will do the trick. If you don’t enjoy one, try another. In this blog, we will be talking about some of the more widely practiced styles and the major differences between them to help you make an informed decision on which one you think works best.

Hatha Yoga

Most of what you can find in the Western world can be classified as hatha yoga, which is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. If you are new to yoga, it would be recommended to start off with hatha yoga where you will be gently introduced to the fundamentals of yoga and its basic postures. You will most likely leave a hatha yoga class feeling taller and relaxed without working out too much of a sweat.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a style that is dynamic and physically arduous. Ashtanga synchronises your breath and movement in an almost meditative state to produce internal heat for the purification of the body. An ashtanga class will always follow the same sequence of yoga poses, however, you should still be prepared to pour sweat as ashtanga is great for working out your core muscles and firming up your body.

Bikram & Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is often mistaken as Bikram and vice versa due to their similarities. The only minor difference between the two styles is the sequences of its poses (Bikram never changes and is uniform across the board) but other than that, you may not even take notice. Just like in Bikram, hot yoga takes place in an artificially heated room. Make sure to hydrate yourself before the start of the class or you risk yourself to the dangers of dehydration as you will definitely sweat the during the entire duration. Both classes are easy to find due to its popularity with yogis.

Power Yoga

Power yoga, just like its name suggests, is generally used to describe a vigorous style of vinyasa yoga. Power yoga closely resembles ashtanga yoga as it is an offshoot of in an attempt to make ashtanga more localised when it was brought in to the Western world. It has many of the same qualities and benefits as ashtanga but the sequences of the yoga poses is where it defers as those who instruct power yoga have the freedom to design their own sequences. Best to check in with the instructor or try out a class or two as styles varies from class to class.

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga is a type of yoga that takes place indoors in a yoga studio due to the necessary use of scarf-like or curtain like fabric hammock that hangs on the ceiling. Aerial yoga increases your flexibility due to the unlocking of new yoga positions in the “air” that gives you a more meaningful stretch. You will also gain a strengthened core from the great core workout as you fight against the gravity far more than you would usually do when compared to doing yoga on a mat. Definitely not for the beginner nor for the faint of heart.

Stand-Up Paddle Yoga (SUP Yoga)

Stand-up paddle yoga, or SUP yoga in short, can be done on any waterbody (e.g. pools, lakes, rivers and seas) and the benefit it brings is similar to other types of yoga. SUP yoga also brings improved balance and a strengthened core as an added bonus, with increased difficulty (and benefit) when doing yoga in unsteady waters. The serenity of being in the nature breathing in fresh air helps you destress and calms your mind. You may think that taking up SUP yoga is a hassle especially lugging around a bulky paddleboard and paddle, but paddle boarding is popular enough that you can easily find an inflatable paddleboard and collapsible paddle that is also affordable.

To many, the cost of attending yoga may seem expensive, so to avoid dropping halfway, do some trial classes and find something you enjoy. Convenience is vital, and if it is a class that you are going to do, then you have to find an instructor that inspires you. If you can’t find time, then take a few weekend classes and practice at home during the week. Make it work, and no excuses!

Consult us here at Total Health for more info on how you can combine yoga and chiropractic for astonishing results.

Tim Errington