What can you Expect in Yoga Classes?
Many people wrongly assume that yoga classes simply involve stretching and breathing deeply, with people attempting to ‘achieve enlightenment’ or reach a level of ‘zen’. The reality is that there are so many different yoga class styles out there which incorporate different practices, poses and techniques which are far more sophisticated and advanced than simply stretching.
If you’ve ever attended any private yoga classes in the past, you may be familiar with (or even prefer) a certain style of yoga. You may find yourself more drawn to the gentle, restorative yoga, or the more intense power yoga. The point is, there is something out there for everyone. This guide is here to help give you some insight into the different styles that you can practice.
How Many Different Yoga Classes are There?
When you’re trying to decide which yoga styles you should consider, remember there is no right or wrong choice. You may need to familiarise yourself with what’s involved in them, to see whether it is right for you. Even then, this list only scratches the surface.
- Ashtanga yoga – this usually involves a series of yoga poses, taught in order. An Ashtanga class is fairly physical but incorporates spiritual components.
- Hatha yoga – a typical Hatha flow yoga class primarily focuses on balance, whether that’s between strength and flexibility, or physical and mental energy.
- Acro yoga – these yoga classes involve more than one participant. These sessions teach you communication and compatibility with your partner, using modifications of yoga stretches, movements and poses.
- Power yoga – a power yoga session is focused on incorporating dynamic movement and strengthening the muscles, while increasing flexibility.
- Vinyasa yoga – these classes are great for those who want to enjoy continuous movement and strength-building yoga poses, as well as exercises to improve flexibility.
- Yin yoga – the poses and stretches performed in yin yoga classes are often practised sitting or lying down. Poses in these classes are often held for longer periods of time (between 2 and 5 minutes).
The last two types of yoga are specialities of the team here at YogaTonic UK. Below we have shared a little more about vinyasa flow and yin yoga, so you can know what to expect if you are considering these classes.
Vinyasa Yoga Style
Vinyasa flow yoga classes involve focusing on mindfulness and connecting movements with the breaths in and out of your body. Many of the yoga sequences you’d see in an Ashtanga or Bikram yoga class are quite formulaic, but one of the many vinyasa yoga benefits is that each class is different.
These classes typically involve variations of sun salutations and vinyasas, and keeping the flow with partial sequences leading up to an apex yoga pose. These classes all end with a full-body relaxation sequence to reap all the benefits of the physical exertion. Many vinyasa classes are suitable for beginners who can go at their own pace, and poses can be modified accordingly.
Yin Yoga Style
As mentioned above, yin yoga poses are held a great deal longer than those you’d expect in a vinyasa yoga or power yoga class. Many people assume that a yin yoga class is ideal for beginners because it doesn’t share the same intensity. But in reality, it can be more demanding than other yoga sessions because of how long the poses tend to last, which can be quite difficult for some.
The idea is to allow your body to relax and move naturally into each pose, and props can be used to support you as you progress through the class. Props, while not a requirement, help you to progress through the class and can, in turn, help to improve flexibility. Contrary to popular belief, yin yoga is not necessarily restorative yoga; although there are many similar poses. Yin yoga poses particularly focus on stabilising joints by strengthening the connective tissue (fascia, ligaments and tendons).
Yin yoga and vinyasa yoga classes work in perfect harmony with one another. Often people prefer one to the other, but balancing both can help with any back pain, core strength and be great for your mental health.
Get Access to Online Yoga Classes and Live Sessions
YogaTonic UK have two monthly subscription packages which include yin and vinyasa yoga classes.
With our online yoga videos membership, you can get unlimited access to hundreds of videos in both styles.