There are so many yoga classes in Brisbane, how do you find one that’s right for you? Some people have never done yoga before and have no idea where to start and which style is best suited to them, others are addicted to just one style. Even though it’s all just yoga, there can be a big difference in the style of yoga class which may be enough to put you off or hook you in for life. Imagine going to a restorative yoga class when you were looking for a hot sweaty workout or vice versa?
Here’s a simple guide that may help you find the right style of yoga for you.
Where do I start?
Yoga can be pretty daunting and also hard. If you’re new to yoga, it’s best to start with beginner’s yoga classes or perhaps a course. If you attend an open-level class as a beginner, you may get confused or try to attempt poses which you aren’t ready for. You may also find it hard to keep up.
If you have an injury or medical condition, it can be exacerbated in a general yoga class if you don’t receive individual instruction and modification. For serious conditions, consider very small classes (max 6 people) or perhaps take a private or restorative yoga class. Iyengar yoga classes focus on precise alignment and may be more suited to your condition.
Hot yoga vs room temperature yoga?
This is something you will need to decide for yourself. Some people love hot yoga and swear by it. Others can’t stand the heat. People often ask me what hot yoga is like.
It’s like exercising on a hot, humid summer day in Brisbane. You’re sweating in savasana before the class starts. Before you know it your clothes are soaked through, your hair is wet and you’ll need a second towel to sit on in the car (as your first one is soaked).
Hot yoga studios are generally heated between 30-35 degrees Celsius. Bikram yoga is even hotter at 40 degrees. Exercising in a heated room does put extra strain on your cardiovascular system so it’s not advised for people with heart problems, asthma/respiratory problems, pregnant women, children or older people. Bikram yoga is a set sequence of 24 poses so if you like routine, then this may be for you. Hot yoga on the other hand, is not a set sequence and can be any form of yoga practiced in a hot room.
Yin yoga vs restorative yoga – what’s the difference?
Both Yin and Restorative yoga appear on the less intense side of the yoga spectrum, but there is a difference between the two. While they are both relaxing, Yin is intended to stretch and stress the connective tissue so is ‘stronger’ than restorative yoga. Restorative yoga is recommended for people with injury, illness and the focus is on complete relaxation. Some poses can be held for 20 minutes and the body is supported with all sorts of props.
Both styles develop stillness in body and mind and can be a great gateway to meditation.
Ashtanga, Power, Vinyasa, Hatha, Iyengar?
These are all styles of yoga derived from the classical Hatha yoga. All asana practice is technically Hatha yoga, however Hatha yoga as a style is a less fluid yoga class, featuring the traditional poses without the flowing vinyasa sequence. Ashtanga is a strong, athletic style of yoga featuring a codified series of poses. The emphasis is mind and body and Ashtanga classes will feature breathing and chanting exercises.
Power yoga and Vinyasa yoga are derivatives of Ashtanga yoga, however the poses are not set and the classes can be more fluid and creative. Vinyasa yoga means moving with breath, so it is a fluid, flowing yoga class of one movement per breath and is characterised by the ‘Vinyasa’ sequence of the Sun Salutation series (high plank, low plank, up dog and down dog). Power yoga is a relatively new form of athletic, fitness- based yoga which has a strong focus on inversions and arm balances and less emphasis on the spiritual side of yoga.
Iyengar yoga is a style of Hatha yoga, focusing on precise alignment, technique, breathing and is a holistic mind/body practice.
There are loads of other styles of yoga, but these are some of the more common ones you’ll find in Brisbane.