Yoga Styles: A Beginner’s Guide
It may seem like a minefield, the world of yoga with all its different types, styles, and every single class you go to, seems to be completely different. Here is your guide to which yoga styles will suit you best and how to navigate the complex world of yoga classes. May it help you find your way to a class you love!
Here, we have defined a few of the most common yoga styles which you will see labelled on a typical studio or gym timetable.
Different Yoga Styles
Hatha was developed around 100 years ago and in it we practice balancing the sun (fire, active) and moon (calm, serene) energies within us. This is done through sun salutations, standing postures, stretching and breathing techniques. The pace is a little slower but you do hold poses so do not think that it will be all easy! This style is great if you are just starting and want to get to know the postures, but also for those who practice regularly, it enhances alignment awareness.
This is a set sequence but the teacher chooses which parts of the sequence to teach, while it can be a fairly fast pace as we are holding each pose for just five breaths. The teachers at Samadhi Yogashala & Wellness Center by Navutu Dreams have adapted a style to teach all levels including beginners. When practiced regularly, it can induce a meditative flow as the mind switches off from thinking what is coming next, so feel free to give it a go, we will look after you!
This style is more modern and was developed in the West unlike the first two styles which originated in India. Vinyasa came from Ashtanga but the teacher is at liberty to put in any postures they please and so it allows variety. The key is to connect the movements with the breath which takes the practice to a whole new level! This style is great to get the body moving and also for fresh inspiration of new postures and sequences. Welcome to all levels, though slightly faster paced than Hatha.
Yin (Sometimes Restorative)
This yoga style focuses on holding poses for longer while applying moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments — with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. It is considered a more relaxing and meditative practice where we turn the mind inwards and relax the entire being. Suitable for everyone.
An off-shoot of Hatha where the focus is regular relaxation, in between postures and based around a set sequence. The teacher is flexible (no pun intended) to alter the poses around the basic sequence and the classes usually involve breathing techniques and Savasana pose (lying down relaxation pose). Suitable for all levels.
This yoga style is also an off-shoot of Hatha. The style is very detailed in its focus on alignment, often using props such as belts, blocks and ropes to assist students in achieving the correct posture. It is a physical posture based practice but also uses breath to connect the mind, body and spirit. It is also a very good one for beginners as the focus is on correct alignment.
While these yoga styles all have different focuses and effects, each teacher also brings their own techniques and expertise. Every instructor at Samadhi Yogashala & Wellness Center in Siem Reap teaches all levels no matter what the class style is, so try them all and see which one you enjoy and which one challenges you. We would always recommend having a balance of high energy faster flows (Ashtanga/Vinyasa) and slower paced stretching (Yin, Restorative, Hatha) to allow the body and the mind to feel the benefits fully!
Check out our timetable for the Siem Reap yoga classes here.