Whether you’re thinking about joining a Yoga class, pretty new to the practice, or you’ve been class hopping for a while now….
Reading class timetables, labels, descriptions etc can be quite confusing, right?
Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Power, Ashtanga, Rocket, Kundalini, Restorative, Jivamukti, Mobility, Iyengar.
Just a FEW of the class names you might see on timetables right now.
Exhausting just THINKING about it all really!
What’s the best style of class for YOU, do you think?
Now, when I say the “best” class for you, I’m not necessarily talking only about your physical ability and how long you’ve been practicing, but as Yoga works deeply on your emotional state too, there are a few things to consider.
Here are some basics for ya:
The Slow, Stretchy Classes: Yin, Restorative, Yoga Stretch
The “Yin” (calm) side of a Yoga practice. These classes are slow paced, BUT not necessarily ‘easy’. If you’re looking for a slow-paced class as you think your body needs time to adapt to a practice, then YES, you might enjoy these classes, however, some Hatha and Yin postures are hard AF, and for many of us, slow movement and stillness is very challenging on the mind.
On an energetic level, if you suffer with low energy and bouts of depression, you might find it more beneficial to flow with a bit more movement to find equilibrium and ping a bit more “Yang” into your system.
The Sweaty, Athletic Classes: Ashtanga, Power, Rocket, Vinyasa Flow
Sign up for any of these classes and expect to sweat your ta-tas off! Depending on your teacher, these classes will generally be mainly “Yang”(energy) based, hot, faster paced, full of strengthening exercises, powerful standing postures and inversions/arm balances, gymnastic-y type shit galore.
No matter how athletic or gymnastic-y you are, I still wouldn’t recommend starting your practice here. Finding a teacher who will guide you through the best technical posture adjustments for YOUR body is key to avoiding injuries, and however fun it might feel to flow through challenging postures and get upside down, this is a sure fire way to injure your precious bod.
If you love an athletic practice, make sure you’re balancing it out with a slower practice too (especially if you’re into gym/running/weightlifting life). All Yang and no Yin will encourage embodied stress and send anxiety levels soaring.
If you do suffer with an anxious mind, dip your Yogi toes into the pool of slow, stretchy classes on a regular basis, Your brain with thank you for it.
The “In Between” Classes :Hatha, Slow Flow, Slow Vinyasa, Mobility.
Again, depending on your teacher, these kinds of classes will generally feel pretty nice and the most comfortable if you’re wearing your Yoga “L” plates :)
These class styles will generally focus on the foundations of a physical practice, including postures, breathwork and guided meditation, all at a steady and comfy learning speed.
You’ll likely find a real blend of Yin and Yang in these practices, and leave feeling pretty damn good.
ALWAYS check with the teacher, but you might find these classes most suitable for you if you’re interested in focusing on technique and alignment, or re-joining movement classes post-injury.
Whichever practice/class you choose…
Always take into consideration that what you WANT from your practice might not be what you actually NEED.
I want to eat biscuits every day, but do I NEED them? Of course I bloody don’t.
So, while you might have set yourself the task of “getting better” at Yoga, and working through those strong-ass warrior poses every day…. Some days your body might fight you and ask for a five minute child’s pose before a nice hot bath and a cry.
Other days you might’ve booked a Yin class, but recognise that your body and mind needs energy and head out for a walk or run instead. SO DO THAT.
Be kind to yourself and your body.