Your guide to picking the best yoga style for your goals
Baffled by the different types of yoga on offer? Don't know your Ashtanga from your Hatha? Unsure if you want dynamic or restorative? Read on and find the right style for you...
Also called power yoga, ashtanga is fast-paced and intense. If you want a strong body that's taut and has great muscle definition - think Madonna - this is the class for you. Performing a set series of poses in the same order, constantly flowing one to the next, you'll get a great calorie-burning workout.
For longer-looking, toned arms and legs, as well as strong core muscles - flat stomach guaranteed - choose Iyengar. Jennifer Aniston's teacher, Mandy Ingber, was heavily influenced by this style. It focuses on body alignment, flexibility and balance, so you hold poses for a long period, rather than moving from one to the next. Plus, Iyengar uses props such as blocks and straps to help you stretch further.
If you've a few pounds to lose in a hurry and want to look super-toned, try Bikram or 'hot' yoga. It's an intense workout, performed in a room up to 35°C or even 40°C, to boost metabolism and encourage sweating and deep stretching. You'll emerge exhausted yet energised. Fans include Jessica Alba and Elle Macpherson.
If you're in need of a way to relax then yin yoga is for you. Yang exercises (such as running) are hard work for your heart, but yin yoga is the total opposite. It's all about relaxation, deep stretches and patience. All of the poses are floor-based as lying down immediately relaxes the body.
Fertility yoga uses deep breathing and visualisation to help women connect with their womb. It is a blend of hatha yoga and specially developed spiralling postures to encourage blood flow to the pelvis. It helps you beat stress - which can cause hormone imbalances - and enable you to unwind and rebalance.
If you have back problems and want a way to strengthen your core then try scaravelli-inspired. Based on the teachings of yoga guru Vanda Scaravelli, this form of lyengar yoga focuses on lengthening your spine, strengthening your core and releasing tension. The aim is to 'awaken' your spine and take pressure off overused muscles.
Zero-gravity yoga is performed in hammocks suspended from the ceiling. The trapeze-style slings provide support during tricky inverted postures and allow you to stretch in new ways without straining your joints. The hammock allows your muscles to work much deeper to give your workout a real boost.
If your body needs energising then jivamukti is for you. A blend of energetic postures and meditation to a pumping soundtrack, Jivamukti means 'liberation while living' and it's the latest must-try class. You'll leave feeling as if your body and brain have been overhauled.
Posted: 03/10/2012 at 15:58
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