Spas in Ireland

Yoga Style Guide

By , August 17, 2011

If you’re considering taking up yoga, or even just taking on a new style, the choices available in Ireland can be overwhelming. The important factors to consider are your current fitness level and what it is you want from your class – whether it be improved flexibility, increased muscle tone, or just relaxation and stress-relief. So, do you know your Jivamukti from your Kundalini?

Ashtanga yoga is one of the more intense styles, and is often referred to as power yoga. Classes are quite physically demanding as poses can be changed in quick succession. It’s an ideal style for firming and toning the body but the more advanced classes are generally only recommended if you are already in good physical shape.

More commonly known in Ireland as ‘hot yoga’, this style is performed in a heated room to loosen muscles and encourage sweating. Classes revolve around 26 different poses performed in various sequences, making the movements themselves quite achievable for those who haven’t practiced yoga before. However taking the extreme heat into the equation, this style best for those who are already quite fit.

Hatha yoga is often just referred to as basic ‘yoga’ here in Ireland, being the most common, general style. This term can be used to describe a number of different yoga poses, but most are gentle and slow-paced making it one of the best choices for starting out or learning the basics. This is one of the more relaxing forms of the exercise and incorporates deep breathing as well as gentle stretching.

Iyengar is mainly concerned with body alignment. Poses of this style are quite precise to achieve maximum benefits, and are held for longer periods of time than in some other styles. Props are also used in some classes, and can include anything from cushions to chairs. Iyengar is said to be particularly good for those recovering from injury or undergoing physical therapy, as well as improving all-round posture.

Jivamukti as a style actually originated in New York, and has a number of celebrity fans that side of the Atlantic. Less common in Ireland, Jivamukti takes great inspiration from Ashtanga yoga in terms of the movements. Classes can be physically demanding, but also incorporate a spiritual element through chanting and meditation.

Kundalini yoga focuses on releasing the energy of the ‘root chakra’ – the area around the base of the spine. Kundalini can be a good for toning and sculpting as it usually involves quite a lot of core work. Some classes also include more sitting positions than in other yoga styles and pay great attention to breathing in time with your physical movements.

The term Vinyasa means ‘breath-synchronised movement’. Another general yoga term, it’s a little like Hatha but slightly more strenuous. Vinyasa classes revolve around Sun Salutations with careful focus on breathing in time with your movements. The changing of poses can be quite fast-paced and in most cases no two classes will follow the exact same routine.


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