For some people, yoga is gentle stretching and relaxation. For others, it’s about building strength, flexibility and coordination or even a hard-core workout. Make no mistake: yoga is most definitely an exercise with the potential to bring unique benefits and challenges.
So what style of yoga should you choose? There are many to explore but we’ve rounded up some of the three basic styles to appeal to every level of energy and challenge:
Hatha: the mindful one
Hatha yoga truly encourages the mind-body connection. It is a very traditional practice focused on slow, controlled and focused movements while working with the breath and calming the mind. For many yogis, hatha is the first yoga style they’ll experience and often remains a lifetime favourite for that full body-and-mind workout.
Ashtanga: the dynamic one
There are many variations of this style, but traditional Ashtanga yoga is based on a set of flowing movements, each one directly connected to the breath. If you like to follow a set routine, this energetic, strengthening style of yoga is for you. Ashtanga devotees love this style as much for its stress-relieving effects as for the physical challenge.
Bikram: the challenging one
Bikram yoga (or hot yoga) offers a challenge like no other. It’s based very closely on traditional Ashtanga yoga but with the added element of heat. Bikram encourages the body through sweat, while the heated environment helps deepen stretches and in turn improves flexibility, tone and strength. While it’s not ideal for absolute beginners, those who practice this style often say there’s no going back!
Whichever style you choose, yoga is a form of exercise that can help you build physical and mental strength at the same time. And, as yogis will tell you, it’s a constantly evolving practice which can be both challenging and satisfying, every single day.
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