Not all yoga classes are created equal but do share similar characteristics. As with many major practices, there are many schools of thoughts that make up the whole art. Think of the last time you took a Taekwondo, salsa, or even a Thai cooking class. Did you ever research beforehand how many types there can be and then even imagining the overarching umbrella of the category in general around martial arts, dance, and cooking?
The good news is that we’ll just look at two types of yoga: Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Just know that there are many others. If we had to compare: Vinyasa is the bubbly, excited sister that loves to try new things and switch it up. Compared to its sibling, Ashtanga is like the stern older brother who is going through military school. Let’s have a closer look at these siblings.
If you’re more of the novelty seeker when you work out, Vinyasa yoga might be right up your alley due to its varying sequences. Vinyasa is also sometimes known as Vinyasa Flow due to the varying class events chosen by the instructor to match the intent of the day and students levels. There might be music, props, and alternatives poses for the students. The poses are expected to be familiar by the students on some level based off of previous yoga experience.
The practice itself is more geared towards movement and endurance instead of holding long poses like her brother, Ashtanga. Students often leave feeling nice with stress having almost completely dissipated. Since it is rooted in movement, you can also adjust the tempo in which to conduct whether it’s moving slow or making the exercise intense! She’s an easy going lass and you’ll have fun with her.
For the die-core users who value predictability and incrementing difficulty structure, Ashtanga yoga is the more austere of the two. This practice doesn’t have any props, music, or modifications. You’re going to do 3 series of poses in Ashtanga and increase in difficulty as you move along. The first series focuses on bending forward, the second goes backwards, and the third focuses on arm balance. The asanas, or poses, are usually self-explanatory and easier to understand than the sister practice.
Ashtanga Yoga is also known as the 8-limbed yoga which emphasizes moral codes, self-purification, posture, breathing, internal listening, concentration, meditation, and state of unity. It helps makes your body strong and calms your mind. The muscles and organs are also cleaned by the heat and sweat from the intense practice. Again, if you’re the structured type of person and likes a good challenge, go for this one!
How They Are Similar
All yoga practices are a great workout as they stretch your body and make you feel relaxed. All yoga incorporates movement related to breath and transitioning smoothly throughout the poses. There are also some similar poses between the practices such as Sun Salutation but the sequencing just might differ a little bit. If we’ve learned anything from the history of yoga, most modern practices draw from the same philosophies of Yoga Sutra and it’s 195 pearls of wisdoms!
Any Yoga is Good Yoga
With a grain of salt, most yoga styles you come across in any yoga studio and gym classes will be great for you. If you’re that couch potato that doesn’t want to hit the fitness scene hardcore and training for half-marathons, yoga is a smooth transition into this world. Learning breathing and gaining body awareness can open doors for you to possibly trying other activities like slow art of Tai Chi, personal fitness like lifting free weights, or outdoor activities like hiking. Whatever your reason whether it’s stress relief, mindfulness, fitness, or spiritual reasons, just get out there and do it! That Instagram post, Facebook message, or Netflix show will still be there when you get back. This is a pearl distilled from almost 5,000 years of wisdom you don’t want to miss!
Guest post by Nikola Don
Nikola Don is yoga enthusiast, traveler and book reading addict. He is also a marketing specialist and blog editor for RetreatHub