Hatha yoga is a gentle, basic yoga class that tends to focus on one pose at a time with rest in between. In addition to practicing poses, there are some basic pranayama breathing exercises and seated meditations that can be explored.
Hatha classes are a good place to work on your alignment, learn relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with doing yoga while building strength and flexibility. Other benefits from practicing hatha yoga include reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing energy, and improving your sleep.
Vinyasa Flow Yoga
Vinyasa yoga is a yoga class based on synchronizing movements with your breath. Breathing is given priority, acting as an anchor as you move from one pose to the next.
It is a more vigorous class that includes a broad range of poses, including standing and balancing postures, twists, backbends, inversions, seated poses, and forward folds. Every class will end with Corpse Pose, the final relaxation posture.
Vinyasa Yoga can be a challenging, sweaty practice. The steady and continuous flow of postures builds internal heat, which can help to detoxify the body. This yoga style’s fast-paced and strength-building approach also helps to improve cardiovascular and respiratory health, and increase bone density. Many students also discover reduced stress and improved sleep.
In addition, the constant and continual awareness of your breathing while you move through the poses, calms the mind, and increases focus. Vinyasa is often considered a “moving meditation.” Many students discover that the ability to “flow” through a challenging yoga class has benefits off the mat, as well — resulting in a greater ability to “ride the waves” of life with more ease and focus.
Yin yoga consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body—the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, and lower spine. These poses are held for a longer period of time, usually between three-to-five minutes, but sometimes even longer.
Yin Yoga works on the yin tissues – also known as the connective tissues. Connective tissue responds best to a slow, steady load, which is why we hold the poses longer. If you gently stress connective tissues by holding a yin pose for a longer period of time, the body will respond by making those tissues it a little longer and stronger.
Becoming still in a pose and staying for a while, can create a challenge with the mind. You become aware of the thoughts running around in your head, which can bring up different kinds of feelings. For example, feelings of anxiety or sadness, as well as feelings of happiness or boredom. Anything you regularly suppress with all an always-on-the-go lifestyle now has a chance to surface in your mind.
So what do you do with these thoughts, you might ask?
Simply allowing those feelings to be present — the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that you have kept in the shadows — can be a cathartic experience.
Generally speaking, the teacher will encourage you to allow all those feelings to be there, but not identify with them. The teacher will guide you to become the observer of everything that arises in that space. All those stored away emotions, feelings and sensations now have a chance to come up and leave your body and mind. As you learn to let them go, your body and mind become rejuvenated, revitalized and relaxed.