Which type of yoga should you do?

Yoga is one of those hidden treasures that make up part of the daily routines of thousands of people throughout the world. Since it first appeared in the Indus Valley, almost 5000 years ago, it has constantly been spawning new disciplines.

Gentle or relaxing yogas

Gentle and relaxing yoga is suitable for anyone, of any age, for maintaining fitness and flexibility as you grow older! It is great for active youngsters or retirees looking for well-being activities, for mums who need space to breathe, or for people who have stopped doing sport but want to get back into it gently without risking injury.

decathlon x ikigai yoga

Hatha yoga

The most common form of yoga in the West. It's perfect for gently relaxing your body after a day's work, relieving stress, and helping you sleep. In a Hatha yoga class, poses are held statically for several breaths and practiced at a slower pace compared to a Vinyasa or Ashtanga class.

It is great for beginners looking for a well-rounded, balanced practice. Hatha Yoga classes may sometimes include breathing techniques and meditation as well.

Hatha yoga releases tension and trauma stored in the body, creating space and balance in the body and mind furthering the opportunity for spiritual growth.

Yin yoga

Yin yoga is a quiet and contemplative practice. In a Yin yoga class poses are held for longer periods of time in a passive manner. Up to five minutes or sometimes longer!

It mainly focuses on the lower part of the body - hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. The reason for this is that these areas target the deepest connective tissues in the body – ligaments, joints, bones, fascia networks, and meridians. (The opposite is true for a practice such as Vinyasa yoga which specifically targets the muscles).

Connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load. If you gently stretch connective tissue by holding a yin pose for a long time, the body will respond by making them a little longer and stronger.

The aim of the practice is to slow down, fully relaxing into the postures in order to release stress and tension both physically and mentally. Yin yoga offers wonderful emotional and mental health benefits, provides circulation to internal organs, reduces stress and anxiety, encourages deeper relaxation and better sleep quality and improves joint mobility.

Yin yoga has been practiced for centuries in China. Taoist priests taught this knowledge, along with breathing techniques, to Kung Fu practitioners around 2000 years ago.

Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga enables deep relaxation as you hold poses for longer periods of time with the help of props to completely support you so minimal effort is needed. Each pose can be held for up to 20 minutes, meaning very few poses might be done during a class. However, the time spent being guided by a teacher and relaxing in the poses can have profound effects.

The main focus of Restorative Yoga is that by relaxing in poses, with the aid of props, without strain or pain, we can achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation.

Restorative yoga helps combat the physical and mental effects of everyday stress and eases common ailments such as headaches, backaches, anxiety, and insomnia with the use of restful poses and deep breathing techniques.

This type of yoga is very beneficial for recovery, and helps to gradually make your body more supple. It is ideal for people who are undergoing physiotherapy, as well as for pregnant women.

Nidra yoga

This is the most relaxing type of yoga, similar in many ways to sophrology. It is a very effective stress buster. It mainly involves concentration and breathing exercises.

Dynamic yogas

As the name suggests, dynamic yogas are physically demanding and therefore designed for younger people in good health. 

They are particularly good for people who already do another sport such as running, diving, surfing or dancing and who need a high degree of concentration, flexibility, endurance, resistance, etc. Indeed, yoga is an excellent complement to other activities and it is becoming increasingly common to see high-level athletes using it to boost their performance. 

Young people just entering the world of work and teenagers are also fans of these disciplines because they get rid of stress and help them regain their energy.

yoga class

Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a practice where poses are linked together with the breath in a flowing sequence.

Classes are usually dynamic, focusing on strengthening postures, mobility and flexibility. It is important to move safely and with awareness between the transitions of postures.

The steady cycle of inhales and exhales creates calmness and focus. The continual flow of movements provides a cardiovascular benefit, creating internal heat in the body and thus increasing strength and flexibility.

Ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a physically demanding, dynamic and athletic practice that is also a form of Vinyasa yoga, but follows a specifically designed set sequence.

It derives from Sri T. Krishnamacharya who then taught it to his student Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the 1900s.

The Ashtanga Yoga system is made up of six “series” (Primary, Intermediate and four Advanced series) which students gradually progress through over time. The Primary series aims to detoxify and realign the body. The Intermediate series cleanses the nervous system and opens the energy channels in the body. The four Advanced series continue to detoxify and refine the body whilst developing greater mental focus and humility.

Central to the practice is to keep the attention on the breath. In the Ashtanga tradition, a daily posture practice is necessary to make the body strong and healthy which can then allow the mind to be steady and controlled.

Hot yoga

Inspired by Bikram yoga, named after its founder, sessions last around one-and-a-half hours and take place in a room heated to 40°C. These classes tend to attract people who want to move around, improve their flexibility, and sweat, as well as people aiming to lose weight.

Iyengar yoga

This is a very physical and postural yoga that requires a strong focus on breathing. In order to achieve perfection in their poses, yogis use straps, bricks, walls, etc

Final note:
It is important to note that the physical aspect of yoga is not the sole aim of the overall practice. Any good practitioner of yoga uses the physical posture practice wisely as a means to prepare the body and mind for meditation.

decathlon x ikigai

Co-written by

Ikigai and decathlon hk


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