Health / Self-Care

The Right Yoga for You

Different yoga types: which one is right for you?

A woman in a yoga pose at dawn looking out over misty forests

It’s not an exaggeration to say that yoga as a form of exercise is as popular and widespread as it’s ever been in the Western world. And yet, even though there are yoga classes in pretty much every gym in the UK from Aberdeen to Yarmouth, our understanding of it as a tradition and the many forms it can take is still, on the whole, very limited.

Hoping to change all that is Laura Pearce, the owner of yoga mat company Kin Yoga Mats and chief yogi at Yoga Fitness London. With over ten years’ experience teaching yoga, pilates and mindfulness in some of the best gyms in London, she certainly knows the difference between a tree, a bridge and a downward facing dog.

And Laura is a big fan of wearable tech, often controlling the music for her classes through her watch and harnessing sound for relaxation. Wearables also give us the ability to track our health, a concept Laura is very interested in – especially when it comes to body temperature and heart rate monitoring.

To help you get a better understanding of the huge world of yoga, we’ve got Laura to explain five of her favourite types and how they can benefit you.

Woman in a yoga pose on the beach in frount of a sun rise
1

Vinyasa

“Probably the most popular style in circulation in the west today, Vinyasa translates as ‘breath connected yoga’ and is fluid and flowy; you coordinate body movements in time with your breath.”

“It’s often pretty challenging, but also great for relaxation as you have to constantly focus on what your body is doing.”

Image of a woman on a yoga mat resting under a blanket
2

Yin

“Yin is essentially the opposite style to Vinyasa. Whereas a Yang practice is dynamic, physical, expansive, hot and energetic (as it denotes the sun, and masculine energy), Yin means balancing still, calm, internal and cold (as it denotes the moon, and feminine energy).”

“It’s very slow-paced, holding static based postures for long durations. This is usually around three to five minutes each, but can be up to 20 minutes.”

“In that respect it’s great for uber-tight, stiff dads. It’s also really good for people who are a bit intimidated by more dynamic Yang practices.”

Image of woman n yoga pose at dusk
3

Ashtanga

“Ashtanga has quite a strict ‘formula’ of postures to work through. It has a primary series, which once mastered you then move onto the secondary series and so on. Power yoga variations are usually based on this, and I think of Power yoga as Ashtanga on steroids.”

“There’s tons of dynamic sweaty movements and strong powerful poses like handstands, so it’s a great one for upper body strength, so I usually suggest this for seasoned yogis – it’s not for the faint-hearted!”

Image from above of woman in yoga pose
4

Hot

“Hot yoga is not too dynamic, but it’s practiced in a crazy hot studio, sometimes up to 40 degrees C. So, it’s still VERY challenging.”

“Hot yoga is similar to Yin in that it really creates a massive stretch, but also feels pretty intense as the heat makes it super tricky!”

Image of woman on yoga matt practising breathing
5

Hatha

“Hatha is the most traditional of all the Yoga styles practiced today. The modern forms tend to be gentle, and thoughtful.”

“There is a focus on breath work and meditation which can be great for that deep relaxation and mind-body connection element.”

“It’s great for super high-stress city workers to find a bit of balance and calm. All abilities and all age ranges can benefit from Hatha yoga.”

Planning your first yoga class? Take a look at Laura’s Kin Yoga Mats – they’re built for the modern yogi.

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