Strike a pose

It may be more than 5,000 years old, but yoga’s looking fantastic for its age, and its popularity and shape-shifting with the times is positively relentless.

What exactly is yoga?
Yoga focuses on specific poses (asanas) and controlled breathing (pranayama). At its heart lays the acquisition of strength and flexibility, and the pursuit of mental calm and clarity.

Misconceptions around yoga fall largely into two camps. One camp believes it’s too unhurried, a little hippy-dippy even. The camp adjacent is certain only veteran contortionists can excel. 

Both are mistaken – there’s a type of yoga perfectly matched to YOU.

Hatha
Whilst Hatha is a broad term, pretty much any class advertised as such will be a mellow affair, where poses are held for longer, but not your breath.
Ideal for: beginners or those recovering from injury.

Restorative
Think gentle stretches aplenty often held for up to 10 minutes. Lots of props (e.g. chairs) utilised for extra support. Ideal for: new starters or anxiety sufferers seeking relaxation.

Vinyasa
Accompanied by music, you will rapidly flow from one pose to another, synchronising your breath with each movement.
Ideal for: HIIT fans or the more experienced yoga student seeking a varied workout.

Iyengar
This is all about the poses and holding them (often employing props e.g. blankets) in the most precise way possible. That it’s no sweat-a-thon isn’t a reflection of its intensity.
Ideal for: those looking for diversity or to improve body alignment and the union between body and mind.

Ashantaga
You will run through six sequential poses and breath through each of them – building internal heat at quite a fast and demanding pace.
Ideal for: students who embrace routine and have a little experience in the bag. Not suited to fitness freestylers.

Bikram & hot
26 poses, two breathing exercises, a room set at 105°F and 40% humidity = 90-minutes of sweaty, deep-movement yoga. Every Bikram class will be the same. Every class will be challenging. Hot yoga is very similar, except the moves will vary.
Ideal for: experienced sorts who really want to push themselves and get the heart pumping.