This post has been brought to you in collaboration with Amethyst Yoga Studio in Newbury, they run yoga classes from their peaceful studio Monday, Tuesday & Saturdays through September; Check out their timetable for the latest yoga classes.
The number of people practicing yoga has grown massively in the last decade and is set to continue rising! In the US alone it’s grown from 20 million people in 2012 practicing yoga, to 36 million in 2015, and its predicted 55 million in 2020.
It just goes to show how many people are beginning to take responsibility for their own health and wellness. If you are one of these yogis then I hope to introduce you to a couple of yoga styles today that you might want to try.
Some of the styles you might know already, some of them might take you by surprise. Yoga is a diverse field and there is a lot to explore. Each practice has been designed for a different purpose, as you grow in your understanding and practice you can begin to use these styles like medicine, helping you to heal mind, body and spirit.
Hatha – Perfect For Beginners
I’m starting with the most common practice for beginners. Many yogis start off with a Hatha Practice. Let’s be clear though, beginner doesn’t mean easy or less than. It’s just that this style tends to be a bit more accessible as it involves slower movements and there are a lot of variations which can be given within the style depending on your ability.
The original Hatha Yogis practiced very different to how most of us in the West do today. Hatha was about self discipline and was heavily centred on practices like breath control. We know this form of breath control as pranayama, but it has been broken off from Hatha and you can now take gentle Hatha classes without this breathing technique, which takes a long time to master.
Yin Yoga – Balancing The City Yang
If you are stressed then I suggest a yin yoga class should be on the top of your list of yoga styles to try. This discipline is becoming more popular, particularly in cities. The reason being that city life demands a lot from us already and a yin yoga class can help us to rebalance, recentre and come back into alignment.
You may have heard of yin and yang. This is a Taoist concept of energy, they believe that energy is divided into a yin and yang element. Yang is the fast paced, ever moving every changing aspect, yin is the silent, stable, grounded and unmoving energy.
With this explanation you can clearly see the reason so many city people love yin yoga. In a life full of yang energy it can be the ultimate medicine. However, don’t be fooled, just because it is a slow moving form of yoga, in fact each posture is held for up to give minutes, it is incredibly challenging.
Ashtanga – For Learning To Let Go
Ashtanga is a powerful style of yoga which can take some time to get used to but the rewards are huge. It builds inner and outer strength and can teach the art of letting go, even when a situation might feel challenging.
Ashtanga has a strict format, it’s the same routine every time and once you are confident with your practice you can start attending Mysore Style classes. These are drop in classes where you do your own practice according to your pace and breathe.
The teacher adjust the students in the class as needed. This allows for a much freer form of expression as you are able to go at your own pace, not the teachers.
Yoga Nidra – For Pressing Reset
If you have practiced yoga nidra you might be confused at this being here. Actually, yoga nidra is a form of deep meditation. But, in fact meditation is yoga as well. Yoga is much wider than physical postures, it is an entire system.
Yoga Nidra is a Sanskrit term and it means, yogic sleep. Practicing this style of meditation can move you into a very deep state of relaxation, even deeper than the dream state, but you do it fully conscious.
The practice involves lying in savasana pose and following a set of instructions or guided meditation which will guide you to focus your attention on different areas of your body. The practice usually lasts for 25 – 45 minutes.
Kundalini – For Spiritual Awakening
Last but absolutely not least is this very vibrant & spiritual style of yoga. Unless you love all things weird and wonderful, attending a kundalini yoga class as a beginner might be a bit off putting. The classes tend to hold nothing back!
However they are extremely exhilarating and really help you to work with and release energy. The class involves performing many kriyas, these are repetitive physical exercises which are combined with intense breath work, you’ll be changing, singing, meditating and moving. An absolute must for every yogi to do at least once!