I thought I would write this blog to explain some of the different styles of Yoga we offer at Supersonic Fitness.
Many people say that they don’t enjoy yoga and claim that ‘it’s not for them’ (are they crazy?!) This could be for many reasons, some of the reasons I have heard are its boring, they can’t relax properly, they get fidgety, they don’t feel the benefits of it and it doesn’t feel like a hard enough workout. I think the main reason people have this view on yoga is that they either haven’t tried it properly, or they have tried it once and it was maybe the wrong style of yoga class for them.
I was lucky that when I started doing yoga classes I found a style that suited me well straight away, which is how I fell in love with yoga and went on to become a yoga teacher.
At Supersonic we offer Hatha, Vinyasa, Zen and Dynamic Yoga. All of these classes will have a different feel and focus – some will make you feel more energised and some will make you feel more relaxed, some will focus more on strength and some will be more stretching and relaxing. Every class will vary depending on the teacher as well, so for example if you try Hatha yoga with one instructor and you’re not 100% converted give another Hatha yoga class a go with a different instructor – you may prefer their way of teaching.
Personally I am more into the physical aspect of Yoga, I enjoy how it makes my body feel strengthened as well as lengthened. I love leaving a class and feeling strong but free, energised but relaxed – what other exercise makes you feel like that?! Since starting yoga, my back and neck pain has improved by 100% (if I keep on top of my practice), I have gained so much strength in my arms and shoulders, my legs feel stronger and my core strength has improved considerably. I like how there is always a new posture to work towards, whether that’s a headstand, an arm balance or an inversion.
So here is the ‘low-down’ on the different types of yoga classes we offer at Supersonic.
Most forms of yoga in the West can be classified as Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures/poses. With this type of yoga, you move your body slowly and deliberately into different poses that challenge your strength and flexibility, while, at the same time focusing on relaxation and mindfulness. Hatha yoga places special emphasis on controlled breathing and posture. Throughout the class you will build core strength – this is key to good posture and will help to align and calm your body, mind and spirit in preparation for mediation.
Hatha has hundreds of poses, some of which you may have heard of (Downward-Facing Dog and Standing Forward Bend), these poses are usually held for several breaths before you move onto the next.
Vinyasa is an approach to yoga in which you move from one pose directly into the next so you will feel like you are flowing, kind of like a dance. Again, specific poses and the pace of the flow can vary from one instructor to the next. The aim in Vinyasa is to coordinate your breathing with the transitions of each pose. It is done specifically as you exhale or inhale, and it gives you the feeling that your breath is moving your body. For example: start from standing and inhale, exhale to forward fold, inhale half way lift, exhale forward fold, inhale step your right foot back and so on.
A fast-paced Vinyasa session can be physically challenging and will get your heart rate going.
Using the art of Vinyasa (linking focus of breaths and movement), dynamic yoga encourages practitioners’ to expand their awareness with an intuition of play and freedom. In a dynamic yoga class you will use a creative sequence of postures to strengthen the core, mobility, proprioception and to gain new comfort zones with more challenging poses such as inversions and arm balances! As a more active style of yoga practice, there’s still always an element of mindfulness in dynamic yoga too, allowing practitioners to reset their unique mind-body connections, bringing the mental discipline off the mat back into their daily lives.
In this fast paced world it is vital to prioritise your mental and emotional health just as much as the physical. Zen yoga is a slower paced class which focuses on mindful movement, breath work (pranayama) and restorative postures to calm the mind and allow the body to melt into relaxation. If you are wanting a class to help you relax the body and calm the mind, this is the one for you!
To conclude, if you are new to yoga and don’t know where to start then begin by thinking about what you want to get out of your yoga class. If you want something slow paced and relaxing, then Zen yoga is the one for you. If you want something more challenging and playful then give dynamic yoga a try. If you want to stick with the more traditional yoga to help strengthen and lengthen then attend a Hatha class, and if you want something that is a slightly faster paced to get the heart rate up then give Vinyasa a go!