Teresa Jackson, Head Yoga Instructor
The benefits of yoga can be experienced with any style of yoga. However, students should attend specific classes depending on how they want to achieve these benefits. For example, stress release can be practiced through calming, quiet, gentle yoga practices. Similarly, a fast paced, heat building practice could also release stress. The most important factor in deciding which works best for you is to listen to what your body is telling you what it needs each day. Some days we need a more active and vigorous practice while at other times practicing gentle and slow paced yoga movement serves our body best.
I encourage my students to try all styles of classes and to help decide which feels best for you and your body. However, it is still important to understand the differences between yoga classes. Let’s take a look at how classes that give us calming, relaxing, “slowing down” state of being in our body and mind compare to the ones that increase heart rate and build heat.
Hatha Yoga encompasses many general styles of yoga with a broad definition derived from the ancient yogic texts from thousands of years ago. These types of classes combine gentle movement with basic yoga postures. Practicing this specific style of yoga increases strength, balance, flexibility, concentration, and bone density while promoting calm and inner peace. Through breathing exercises in combination with physical poses, Hatha yoga seeks to cleanse and connect the mind and body. Pranayama (breathing) and the asanas (physical postures) are the most widely recognized parts of Hatha yoga. This style of yoga is rooted in more deeper practices including yogic lifestyle, meditation, and yogic philosophy.