Ever wonder why Gwyneth Paltrow looks so relaxed all the time? It’s not because she named her child Apple and can now live in a state of nirvana knowing she has become a poster-girl for everything that’s wrong with current baby names. The truth is she has decoded which yoga class is best for her and has now become completely addicted. If you’re looking to reach your personal state of nirvana and acquire a toned core and bottom along the way, worry not about setting up your child for a future of perplexed looks at job interviews and instead look into the elixir of youth: yoga.
Once practised by strange-smelling hippies during the years of the flower-child and Sonny and Cher, yoga has become one of THE past times to introduce to your busy life. Finding it’s roots in India, yoga sessions are usually lead by a qualified instructor and last between 45-90 minutes. You’ll spend the class on your individual matt bending forwards and backwards, stretching sideways and back-ways, and quickly discovering how flexible you are whilst in a relaxing environment.
But where is best class for you to start this life changing journey? Use our handy guide below and get ready to feel groovy.
Hatha: Usually the beginner’s class, simple poses and transitions, relaxing.
Although the term ‘hatha’ is a Sanskrit phrase used to describe the practice of yoga itself, it has become a common phrase to describe a certain style of class. Whenever you see the word ‘hatha’ printed on your gym schedule, you can expect a slower moving class focussing on simple poses and postures, gentle transitions between movements, and focussing on breathing. Although the class may sound easy, if this is your first yoga class you will probably find yourself struggling to maintain certain poses that your fellow matt-mate will be gliding through with ease (I’m looking at you, downward-facing-dog pose).
Vinyasa: Also known as flow or power yoga, a fast paced class where you will be “flowing” between poses. Expect to work up a sweat
With a vaguely jazzy name, you can expect a lot more movement and sweat in a vinyasa class. In between and during poses, you’ll be moving and ‘flowing’ your body in a graceful manner. Said to be a reminder of the impermanence and transitory nature of all forms, this class will most certainly have you sweating, huffing and puffing, and possibly having an existential epiphany as you slither and zoom between postures. If you are completely new to yoga, consider taking a few hatha classes so that you are comfortable with common moves. As you will probably start sweating a bundle, bring along a towel and drink bottle.
Iyengar: Great for those with back or neck injuries this class uses props and equipment to ensure proper alignment and posture
Just like any good high school theatre production, Iyengar class makes the most of props. Ideal for those with back or neck injuries, Iyengar classes use objects such as belts, blankets, and foam blocks to help you achieve the perfect stretch. Those with tight hamstrings can find something in common with large trousers: belts will be your saving grace. In need of a good back stretch? The foam brick strategically placed behind your spine will have you seeing God. Make sure to let your instructor know of any injuries or limitations you have, and listen carefully to any modifications they offer. Injuries and limping out of the studio are not sexy.
Bikram: Yoga practiced in a hot room focussing on rapid breath, avoid eating 2 hours before this class as the heat can make you nauseated
Bikram yoga, otherwise known as “sweating profusely in a hot room”, is synthesised from traditional yoga practices. Usually running for around 90 minutes, Bikram is conducted in a hot room between 34-42 degrees and is not suitable for pregnant woman, those who detest sweating, or those who have just gotten a spray tan (it will come off onto your mat and you will look patchy and it is super embarrassing). Also be aware that rapid breathing coupled with the extreme heat can leave you feeling a little dizzy for your first few classes. Our advice is that just like a day in the South Stand of the Rugby 7s, staying hydrated will keep you from ending up in a medical tent.
Decided on your perfect class? After your first session you may be feeling a little sore, in order to completely treat your body make sure to book in for a massage. Because after all that hard work you deserve it, obviously.
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Ever wonder why Gwyneth Paltrow looks so relaxed all the time? It’s not because she named her child Apple and can now live in a state of nirvana knowing she has become a poster-girl for everything that’s wrong with current baby names. The truth is she has decoded which yoga class is best for her…