In the previous article, we discussed what happens to your body when you practice yoga every day. Perhaps there are a number of advantages that are attractive to you and you want to try it yourself. But: if you start looking, you will find out that yoga is not just one and the same style. There are (many) different types of shapes, each with its own effect.
Beyond a Youtube movie
I have always found yoga and meditation very interesting, but actually never got further than following a YouTube video in my room. Because I was curious about the effect of such a physical class and the different forms of yoga, I attended yoga school Bindi and followed the following classes: yin, hatha, and vinyasa yoga. According to Nicole de Raad, owner of the yoga school, these are the most popular forms at the moment.
If you think yoga classes are always the same, then you are wrong. Each lesson was completely different. Not only physically, but also mentally. I’m going to try to give the best possible explanation between the different styles that I experienced.
Upon entering the yin class, I immediately felt a relaxed atmosphere in the entire room. Some people lay stretched out on their mats with their eyes closed, others sat cross-legged meditating. Everyone did their own thing, focused on themselves and nothing else.
The only similarity was that there were a number of pillows around each mat. I had no idea what the point was, but found out that these pillows were in a closet, so I decided to grab some too.
The class started with a short meditation, after which we quietly performed a number of poses. We held each pose for quite a long time: about five minutes. The pillows turned out to support your body, if you needed it, to relieve your joints a bit. The focus was on breathing and feeling as good as possible in that adopted pose. It didn’t take long before I was completely relaxed. I even fell asleep a few times. Oops.
Are you looking for a class where you can completely relax your body and mind? Then try yin yoga. For people without any yoga or meditation experience, this can be quite tough, because you are constantly trying to feel your body and come to yourself. One thing I can say with certainty: if you think you are too busy in your head to take this class, do it right.
Where the atmosphere at the yin yoga was so relaxed, the space felt so energetic when I walked into the vinyasa class. Nobody lay on his or her mat, everyone was in an active position. The entire lesson consisted of many different postures, which were performed in quick succession. The postures were connected by your breathing, creating a kind of “flow” of movements.
If you are fit, this is a class for you. Still, I think many beginners may find this class difficult: there are no breaks and a lot is required of your body. This lesson focuses mainly on going out, instead of in. Although I am very sporty myself, I found some poses quite difficult. All in all, a very nice challenge, which – if you feel like taking some serious action – takes some getting used to, but ultimately very worthwhile.
I think the easiest way to explain hatha yoga is to say that it is somewhere between vinyasa and yin yoga. I have been told that hatha is seen as the basis of yoga and this form cannot be characterized as slow or fast.
During the lesson we performed different postures, standing, lying and sitting. In contrast to vinyasa, hatha usually has loose postures, with a beginning and an end. In the class I took, a lot of attention was also paid to breathing and we focused on an in or out breath with every movement.
If you are unsure whether the vinyasa is too active for you and you think the yin may be too meditative, hatha is a great choice. From there you can also look further and ask yourself, for example: “Would I rather have a more active form of yoga?”
These are explained in three forms: just a selection of all variants that the yoga world has. Whichever class you choose, you always think in advance: are you going for relaxation or do you want a workout? What do I want to achieve with the lesson?
It is also good to realize that every teacher is different. I followed Yin yoga with two different teachers and both teachers taught the lesson differently. One mainly focused on comfortable lying down, while the other teacher paid more attention to breathing and the gentle stretching of muscles.
Overall, you may now know the differences between the most popular shapes, but my most important tip is to just try out some things and see how it makes you feel. Good luck!