YOGA: 3 Kinds
THE DOWN-LOW ON THE DOWN-DOG
YOGA. Is it for exercise? Or for getting more flexible? Yoga can be a combination of both, depending on your fitness goals and how hard you push yourself. Since the teacher is at the front of the room telling you what to do, it’s up to you to choose which version of poses you take. Everything is in your control. If you want to do yoga as a form of exercise, you can do that! If you want to do yoga to increase flexibility, you also can do that! Yoga is also a great cross training option alongside other sports, as you learn to synchronise your breath with movement, something which is applicable to many activities (climbing, ball sports, dance). The most important thing to note is that yoga is more than just a physical activity. It also affects the mind, and influences your stress levels, all in a positive light. More of this coming next week, but for now, let’s get to know the three main types of yoga!
Commonly known as 'Flow' as this is the most “typical” kind of yoga (commonly shown in movies and tv shows). The difficulty of the class depends on the teacher, but keep in mind that different poses are offered for all levels. Fitness-wise, I find this form of yoga to be the most fun and challenging. The yoga teacher guides you to synchronise movement with your breath, and each pose flows into the next. A great option if you’re looking to strengthen and tone your body overall!
- This is for you if: you want a to raise your heart rate for a low intensity workout, and strengthen those muscles! (Especially the shoulders, legs and core).
- Post soreness level: SORE (with a challenging teacher), the kind of sore you may get from going to the gym.
- Average difficulty rating: ★★★★☆
Slow flow is basically a slow-mo version of vinyasa flow. It generally consists of less demanding poses which may be held for longer. Again, all the movements of Slow Flow are synchronised with your breath, which is very therapeutic. Probably a less challenging class than Flow, but great for the days you’re sore from your gym workouts!
- This is for you if: you want to ease into Vinyasa Flow, or are sore but still have energy to burn.
- Post soreness level: just a little sore. The kind of sore you get from recruiting muscles you don’t usually use.
- Difficulty rating: ★★★☆☆
Contrary to Vinayasa Flow and Slow Flow, which require you to regularly move into planks, core-engaging and balance poses, Yin yoga is a floor-based practice where there is much more contact between your body and the floor. You are mostly sitting or lying down and poses are held for 3-7 minutes with an aim to release the joints and connective tissue of the body. It’s a great one to choose if you’re feeling stressed out or are too sore for your routine workouts.
- This is for you if: you’re too sore to sustain the more demanding poses in yoga, or if you’re feeling stressed and anxious from a rough day.
- Post soreness level: don’t underestimate yin, it can make you sore but a whole different kind of sore. The kind where you’ve stretched for a long time (but feels relaxing and therapeutic altogether).
- Difficulty rating: ★★☆☆☆ (based on how much energy required, and depending on how long the poses are held)
Note: the difficulty rating for each type of yoga can increase or decrease by one or two stars depending on how hard you challenge yourself.
So this is what I understand to be the 3 main types of yoga offered by most studios! So! Less talk, more do. If you want to try out yoga, where can you start?
Make friends with a digital yoga teacher
I started trying yoga out at home with Youtube videos. If you’re someone who isn’t really sure if you want to try it in a studio (or you want to get a feel before you try tree pose with strangers), this is one of my favourite Flows on Youtube. I love it because Erica really communicates how to have good form in poses.
A light-hearted yoga teacher?
If that isn’t for you, another Youtuber yogi who is more light-hearted is Yoga with Adriene. I enjoy this video that she has.
Both of these videos are Vinyasa Flow (my favourite). But if you want to try the other two types, it’s as easy as typing in “slow flow yoga” and “yin yoga” into Youtube and finding the videos you vibe with (:
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