A Beginners Guide To Different Yoga Class Styles & The Benefits of Each

Ever looked at the yoga timetable at your local studio or gym and felt confused by all the different options? You're not alone. Yoga is a centuries-old practice but over time, various styles of yoga have developed, each with its own unique approach and focus. In this blog, we'll explore some of the most popular styles of yoga and the benefits of each.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the Western world. It is a gentle, slow-paced practice that involves holding poses for longer periods of time. Hatha yoga is a good choice for beginners or those who want to improve their flexibility, balance, and overall physical fitness.

The history of hatha yoga dates back to the 15th century in India. The word "hatha" translates to "forceful" or "willful" in Sanskrit, which reflects the challenging nature of the practice. However, in modern times, hatha yoga has become more accessible and is often used as a gateway to other styles of yoga.

Benefits of hatha yoga include improved flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as reduced stress and anxiety.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a more dynamic style of yoga that involves flowing through sequences of poses, synchronized with the breath. The poses are linked together in a continuous, fluid motion, creating a sense of movement and flow.

The history of vinyasa yoga is somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have originated in India in the early 20th century. Today, it is a popular style of yoga in the Western world, and can be found in most yoga studios.

Benefits of vinyasa yoga include increased strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health, as well as improved mental focus and concentration. Vinyasa classes can be slow (sometimes called slow flow or gentle vinyasa) or more energetic and dynamic. You can find a selection of free slow and dynamic yoga classes on the Fable YouTube channel to try at home. 

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga is a precise, methodical style of yoga that emphasizes proper alignment and the use of props (such as blocks and straps) to support the body in various poses. It is a good choice for those with injuries or limitations, as it allows for modifications to be made to suit individual needs.

The style of yoga is named after its founder, B.K.S. Iyengar, who developed the practice in India in the 1930s. Iyengar yoga is often taught in a structured, progressive way, with students gradually building up to more advanced poses over time.

Benefits of Iyengar yoga include improved alignment, balance, and stability, as well as increased flexibility and range of motion.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a challenging, fast-paced style of yoga that involves a set sequence of poses (known as the Primary Series) that are performed in a specific order. It is a highly structured practice that requires discipline and commitment.

The history of Ashtanga yoga dates back to the early 20th century in India. It was popularized in the Western world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who developed the practice in the 1950s.

Benefits of Ashtanga yoga include increased strength, stamina, and flexibility, as well as improved focus and concentration.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a spiritual and dynamic style of yoga that combines physical postures with breathwork, meditation, and chanting. It is a practice that is said to awaken the dormant energy within the body (known as Kundalini) and bring about a heightened state of awareness and consciousness.

The history of Kundalini yoga is ancient and has its roots in India. However, the modern practice was developed in the 1960s by Yogi Bhajan, who brought the practice to the United States.

Benefits of Kundalini yoga include increased spiritual awareness, enhanced creativity and intuition, and improved overall wellbeing.

Lots of variation between teachers and studios can be found within each of these styles. Therefore so don't be afraid to try different classes and teachers to find what resonates for you and your body.