A first-timer's guide to yoga

Here at hush we don’t believe that January should be a time for harsh detoxes or punishing bootcamps in the cold (unless that’s your thing!) Instead we see the start of a new year as the perfect opportunity to hit reset and do something restorative for your body... show it some love, if you will.

So perhaps you’ve started to introduce more greens into your diet, cut down on the Prêt lattes and increased your water intake (constant trips to the loo a downside, we agree) and now you’re ready to make that inevitable step into the world of yoga. After all a healthy body and mind belong together right? 

If you’ve always wanted to do the yoga thing but it has eluded you or you it, then read on for our little rundown of a few different yoga styles, to start you on the yoga path to enlightenment… or at least a happier, calmer you.

Yoga Styles

There are of course numerous other yoga styles but the five below are generally very popular, easy to find and offer variety across all levels:

1. Hatha Yoga - a generic term referring to any type of yoga that teaches the physical postures. Most classes you see taught in the west today will often be referred to as Hatha yoga.
It’s right for you if; you are a beginner or new to yoga as this is generally a less strenuous style that focuses on teaching the basic principles and postures of yoga.

2. Ashtanga Yoga – translates to “eight-limb” yoga. The eight limbs referred to here are restraint, observance, posture, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditative absorption, and enstasy (an introverted and reflexive flow of consciousness).  Ashtanga is a vigorous form of yoga favoured by those who are seeking more of a “workout” as the poses flow from one to the next with each inhale and exhale. There are six established pose sequences –primary series, secondary series and so on – each series more difficult and rigorous than the previous.
It’s right for you if; you are seeking a more challenging practice and want to work up a heart-pumping sweat!

3. Vinyasa “Flow” Yoga - Similar to Ashtanga in that the poses flow from one to the next with the use of the breath and with little pause. Unlike Ashtanga however, Vinyasa Flow classes tend to have a more freestyle approach. The teacher will essentially choreograph a sequence of poses (often to music) linking them fluidly, one into the next.
It’s right for you if; you prefer a dynamic, graceful, dance-style of yoga and dislike repetition and routine.

4. Iyengar Yoga – Developed by B.K.S Iyengar, this form of yoga is very meticulous and focuses on correct alignment through the use of various props such as yoga blocks, straps and chairs. This style of yoga isn’t as cardiovascular as some other styles however the intensity arises from holding postures for extended periods of time and focusing your mind and breath into each pose.
It’s right for you if; you prefer a less movement based practice and are looking to improve posture and alignment in a safe and controlled way.

5. Bikram Yoga  - developed by Bikram Choudhury. A series of 26 set poses practiced in a room heated to 40 degrees. The heat is believed to increase flexibility and aid in detoxing. Not for the faint hearted, this heat can take a while to get used to and it is not uncommon to have to intermittently lie down during initial classes while the body acclimatises. During a Bikram class you will sweat – a lot! Bring plenty of water and a towel or two.
It’s right for you if; you like it hot! Or if you need a good detox and love the idea of getting your muscles all warm and stretched out!