One of the scariest things about yoga is deciding which class-with-a-name-you-can’t-pronounce to book.
But don’t sweat it: our personality-matching yoga guide is here to tell you exactly what each style of yoga entails, and what the best style of yoga for you is. Get ready to take your first step on the path to inner peace and wisdom.
Great for: Five-a-side footballers
Saturdays are all about the match. And even though you’ve been playing for your local side for 15 years, you can still sneak one past those perky 18-year-olds. Your secret? Ashtanga yoga, mate. Just like Giggsy.
What the devil is Ashtanga yoga then?
An energetic style of yoga in which you’re constantly moving through a series of dynamic poses, Ashtanga will help get you fit and flexible.
The first time you try it, you may yelp as you try to touch your toes, but after regular practice, you’ll be able to slip your hands right under your feet in the Pada Hastasana pose. Those handstands look pretty impressive on the pitch, too…
Great for: Semi-retired ravers
Back in the day you used to throw shapes in a tie-dye T-shirt and bandana as the sun rose over a Somerset field. Today you sport Sweaty Betty tie-dye leggings while practicing sun prayers in a west London studio.
What the devil is Jivamukti yoga then?
Founded in ’80s New York by David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti is an energetic and creative form of yoga. Often set to cool music, it focuses on the spiritual as well as the physical, so expect to tune your chakras with a bit of chanting and meditation.
Hot yoga [hawt yo•gah]
Great for: Exhibitionists
Do you enjoy wearing really small shorts in public? Are you one of those people who – in a studio full of sweaty semi-naked people – looks in the mirror and thinks, “Hell yeah! I look good”? Then you’re going to love hot yoga.
What the devil is hot yoga then?
While yoga is hard, hot yoga is brutal. It’s the same moves, you just do them in an oven. There’s a reason why people sit down in saunas, y’know! Practitioners claim hot yoga can help de-stress and detoxify, and it also makes your joints more flexible – so be careful not to over-stretch.
Vinyasa flow [vin•yass•er flo]
Great for: Dedicated followers of fashion
Life’s about trying new things, right? You wouldn’t put the same mix of kale, cacao and budgie seed in your NutriBullet every day, would you?
What the devil is Vinyasa flow then?
A fast-moving series of poses, flow yoga is a great workout. Constantly evolving (just like fashion, daahhling), no one Vinyasa flow teacher is the same as the next. If you’re a complete beginner you may want to try a couple of slower classes first to get used to the poses.
Great for: Control freaks
Perfectionism is your middle name and you’re perfectly happy for your teacher to slap your leg when your knee is out of alignment in triangle pose. As far you’re concerned, yoga isn’t about having fun – it’s deeply serious, and mistakes should NOT be made.
What the devil is Iyengar yoga then?
Using props including belts and blocks to help you get into poses, Iyengar is all about making sure your body is in the correct alignment. One to try if you love hanging upside down suspended by ropes and have a tendency to breathe very loudly.
Great for: Knackered mums
After a night of broken sleep and a day of juggling work and tantruming toddlers, most mums need a good lie-down. Restorative yoga is just the tonic – without the gin.
What the devil is restorative yoga then?
If you like ‘savasana’ – that lying down bit at the end of a class – then restorative yoga, designed to heal the mind and the body, is for you.
The deal: 90 minutes of snoozing on bolsters, wrapped in blankets with a lavender eye bag soothing your peepers. Restorative yoga replaces lost sleep, builds inner strength and helps you stay (a bit) calmer during family fracas. Mmmmm.