There’s lots of reasons to practice yoga. You can build strength, flexibility and mobility for your body while you cultivate more peace, calm and focus for your mind. One of the most important benefits of yoga is as a tool for stress reduction. But just the act of trying to choose the right place to start, is enough to overwhelm even the most zen of minds!

So this blog post is to help you work out where to start your yoga journey.

 

Why are there so many yoga styles – it’s confusing!

Agreed. It’s crazy! Over many generations of teachers and scholars, interpretations of yoga practices have changed. So we now have a massive variety of yoga styles to choose from. You can find everything from hot yoga and power yoga through to cannabis yoga (what the…). So with all the weird, wacky and wonderful styles on offer there has got to be a style that suits you!

 

Yoga Styles

Let’s simplify the western yoga world into 3 main categories of yoga:

  1. Hatha
  2. Vinyasa
  3. Gimmick Yoga (yes, I made that name up. I’ll explain below)

Most modern classes are taught as either Hatha or Vinyasa (and gimmicks are sometimes added to either category).

Classes where the postures (called Asanas) are taught individually before returning to a relaxed position are often referred to as “Hatha style” classes. While Asanas that are and connected together more to create a “flowing” practice are referred to as a “Vinyasa” approach (described more here). Then you find gimmicky yoga where odd things are added to the practice. Things like nude yoga, cannabis yoga, dog-yoga (doga if you will), goat yoga and beer yoga. (We don’t plan on offering these styles any time soon). This is a pretty good summary. of different examples of Hatha and Vinyasa styles out there.

 

What Styles Do We Teach at PhysiYoga?

At PhysiYoga we teach both Vinyasa and Hatha yoga. We have given each class different names to reflect how challenging and complex they are

The 4 different classes we teach (described in more detail on our timetable page) are:

  1. Gentle Yoga
  2. Awakening Yoga
  3. Yin Yoga
  4. Mysore Style Yoga

In a nutshell

  • Our Hatha Styles: Gentle Yoga, Parts of the Awakening Yoga, Mysore Style Yoga, Yin Yoga
  • Our Vinyasa Styles: Vinyasa Flow

 

How Do I Choose the Right Class for Me?

Just as you use a boat to cross water, a car to go long distances and walk to be amongst the scenery, you choose a style of yoga that is the vehicle best suited to get you where you want to go. So, like any other journey, you may just head out and see where you end up (i.e. pick a class and see how it goes). Alternatively, you might like to consider a few other factors to help you choose a class you are comfortable in and that is suited to your desires for the class. (And we are always happy to talk to you and point you in the best directions).

This short 3 minute video might help you choose your perfect class.

These are some of the considerations that will help you choose the right class.

Oh The Places You’ll Go (with yoga).

But where Do You Want To Go?

These are the typical goals of people starting yoga

  • Stress relief
  • Calm and focus the mind
  • Physical challenge
  • To get a deep stretch

 

Where are you now?

(How Does Your Body Feel Right Now?)

 

  1. Pretty good – minimal aches or pains.Start with an introductory (“Awakening”) style so you can get accustomed to the language, instructions, the how-to of the practice and your lefts and rights. But you should be good to try any style – try the vinyasa style for more physical challenge.
  2. Fine, but I just feel really stiff and old. A beginner or gentle style and see how you go. Yin Yoga is great for deeps stretching and mobility.
  3. A few injuries or more. Gentle and beginner styles are the best place to start. Talk to the teacher of the class to determine the physical requirements for that class.

 

How Much Experience Do You Have?

  1. New to yoga. Choose awakening, Gentle yoga, Yin Yoga
  2. Some experience. Try Awakening, Vinyasa or Yin Yoga

 

What experience would you like to get out of the classes?

Dynamic, Higher Intensity & More Physical Challenge

Different styles of yoga will challenge you to a different level. Level 1 would be gentle and beginner, Level 3 would be the most advanced. Here’s how the classes level up at PhysiYoga

The Vinyasa approach is the faster and most physically demanding type practice.

 

Deep Stretch

Yin Yoga is a floor-based practice (all yoga postures are done on the floor) and with support of props like blankets and bolsters where possible. Postures are held for a couple minutes at a time.

 

My Goal is Stress Relief and primarily for my mental health. 

Perfect – this is the primary goal of yoga! Stress is a huge burden on our collective health and wellbeing. Yoga helps us to approach the world around us (and inside our heads) in a way that we can learn to manage the impact stress has on our lives. Here are your top three choices for a practice that enhances mental health.

  1. Meditation – for a yoga practice that focuses on the mind. However if you suffer from anxiety or depression or if you struggle to sit still with your thoughts, you’re not alone! Meditation is difficult and you could be better off starting with a physical practice based on your current physical capacity (listed above). 
  2. Yin Yoga is a slow, meditative approach to deep stretching. It is a very slow and mindful practice where we learn to find the edge of discomfort and sit with it – without force, without pressure. The physical benefit is that the stretches go deeper than just the muscles – we work into the fascia and other connective tissues.
  3. Any other yoga style you fancy! The act of mindfully moving your body and being aware of your breath means every yoga practice has the capacity to help reduce stress, focus the mind and find a little more peace and calm in your life.

Finding Your Class

Now you’ve considered all the important points, use this flow chart to lead you to your perfect class, which you can book by clicking the yellow button.

Which Class?

Conclusion

Some people come to yoga for the physical benefits and then work on the mind. Others come for the mind and find benefits in their bodies. Ultimately there is no wrong place to start – the key is simply starting! Explore the practice and see how it suits you and if it’s not your cup of tea, at least narrowed it down. Perhaps try a different yoga practice with this new knowledge about what worked for you and what didn’t.

We invite you to reach out to discuss your personal needs and where to start. A perfect start is to book an appointment with one of our physios to further explore what your problem is and the best steps to take on your path to recovery and wellbeing enhancement.

We look forward to welcoming you to our classes soon.

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