Get into the yoga zone

Check out our glossary of yoga styles to find the kind that's right for you.
Woman Get into the yoga zone

Yoga is good for your mind, body and spirit, and is a great way to meet people and be active. Check out our glossary of yoga styles to find the kind that's right for you.

Your yoga glossary
Find a form of yoga that suits your needs, whether you are athletic, pregnant, undergoing menopause or simply looking for a good way to relieve stress. Here's our guide:

Hatha emphasises asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath control) and dhyana (meditation). A good option for beginners, since most other forms of yoga are variations of this one. Hatha yoga combines all the forms of physical yoga.

Kundalini concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward through chakras, or your centre of psychic energy. A typical class includes chanting, meditation, postures and breathing exercises.

Iyengar stresses the alignment of the body and precision in the poses. It uses props - chairs, blankets, bolsters and wooden blocks - so postures can be tailored to specific needs and abilities.

Kripalu allows you to focus on a flowing sequence of postures so that you achieve a meditative state without sitting still. It's perfect for beginners.

Ananda focuses on gentle postures that move the psychic energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation. Classes also focus on proper body alignment and breathing.

Bikram is a practice of 26 postures that are performed in a particular sequence in a room heated to around 30 degrees. This is a fairly vigorous type of yoga and requires that students are reasonably fit to start off with.

Viniyoga is tailored to each person's body type and need, which makes it perfect if you're a beginner, pregnant or less flexible.

Ashtanga (also called power yoga) is a fast-paced series of sequential poses that focuses on strength and flexibility as you build internal heat, so you sweat, which is supposed to purify the body. The continuous, fast style can make it aerobic and very challenging, so you need to be physically fit. Try more subtle approaches if you are new to yoga.

Getting started
Here are some suggestions for how to find the perfect yoga class for you:

  • Ask around about a good teacher. Call a yoga centre or search on the web.

  • Before taking a class, ask the following questions:
    • Is the teacher certified?
    • Is the yoga vigorous or gentle?
    • What is the best class time for beginners?

  • Come to class on time. Most classes include a stretching relaxation warm-up, which is an essential part of the practice.

  • Wear clothing with a loose, comfortable waistband, nothing restrictive or too tight.

  • Finally, don't feel you have to do what the instructor or others are doing. If something feels wrong to you, it probably is.