International Yoga Day | Top Exercises To Practice

 International Yoga Day



What to expect


✓ Hatha Yoga is the traditional form of yoga, paying attention to the breath and correct posture, it is the foundation of all other yoga styles

✓ A traditional Hatha class will begin with meditation then move on to sun and moon salutations which generate heat within the body

✓ It will follow with a series of asanas including; standing, balancing, seated, forward bends, backbends, twists then final sequence which traditionally includes an inversion, usually candle or headstand


Who should practice?


✓ From beginners to advanced practitioners, Hatha yoga is suitable for all. Many teachers who have gone on to experiment with other styles of yoga often revert back to their Hatha practice due to its calming and gentle effect on the body and mind




What to expect


✓ Founded in the 70’s by B.K.S Iyengar, this style of yoga focuses heavily on correct alignment and discipline within the asanas

✓ It is common for Iyengar yoga schools to request that students wear shorts to their practice so the muscles are visible. Students of this style of yoga are often extremely devoted to their practice, and will extremely focused with little or no communication with other students

✓ An Iyengar class often begins by chanting the invocation to Patanjali to honour the ancient tradition of yoga and the lineage of yoga that we practice. The sage Patanjali is the author of the Yoga Sutras, one of the classical yoga philosophy texts.

✓ The teacher will encourage the use of props to assist the students in each posture. Chairs, straps, blankets and blocks are commonly used to support the body in various asanas and help the student reach the correct pose until they are more experienced


Who should practice?


✓ The precision and discipline required to practice Iyengar yoga will certainly not be suited to all. The asanas are designed to strengthen the body before the student is then taught correct breathing (pranayama) as B.K.S Iyengar suggests that one’s body must first be strong enough, then proper breathing can be mastered

✓ Iyengar would be beneficial to any yoga teacher looking to further their knowledge on alignment and posture

✓ There are fewer Iyengar schools in the UK but teachers of this style are likely to be extremely knowledgeable and dedicated



What to expect


✓ One of the most popular styles of yoga practised in the west, Vinyasa yoga is an energetic style of yoga which incorporates traditional Hatha asanas but joins them together in a flowing series to generate heat and connect with the breath

✓ The variation and order of the asanas can be adapted to each class which appeals to many yogis

✓ Vinyasa yoga (not to be confused with Bikram yoga) can be practised in a heated room to increase the internal temperature, help increase muscle flexibility and release toxins


Who should practice?


✓ If you’re looking to increase your flexibility and strength but also want to feel like you’ve had a challenging workout, Vinyasa could be the style for you

Great for those who have practised Hatha and are looking to add some variations into their practice

yoga on the beach



What to expect


✓ The main point of difference in Ashtanga yoga is that the same order and sequence of asanas is practised in every class. Usually, it would take an experienced yogi 90 minutes to complete the full series

✓ Many Ashtanga students will attend a self-practice or Mysore style of class, where they will practice the sequence in their own time with a trained instructor present

✓ Ashtanga students are known to be extremely well-disciplined and motivated in their practice, it is also the only style of practice whereby students observe moon days, meaning they leave the days of the new and full moon as practice free and take rest


Who should practice?


✓ Although Ashtanga is a very physically challenging style of yoga, the repetition of the same sequences can become tedious for some people

✓ Those seeking a higher level of spirituality within their practice will find this in Ashtanga due to its philosophical lineage (refer to the eight limbs of yoga)



What to expect


✓ Bikram yoga was created by Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. It’s a sequence of 26 yoga poses to stretch and strengthen the muscles practised done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins

✓ Every Bikram class you go to, anywhere in the world, follows the same sequence of 26 poses


Who should practice?


✓ Bikram yoga is a physical practice so there is little focus on breath or meditation meaning you may not find this practice particularly soothing

✓ Traditionalists may argue that Bikram removes the entire focus of yoga, of which the meaning is ‘union’ of the body and mind

yoga class



What to expect


✓ A passive, soothing and deeply restorative form of yoga, students may practice just 4-5 asanas in each class, holding each asana for up to ten minutes

✓ A great practice for the evenings or before bed, this style of yoga works deep into the connective tissues of the body, releasing stress and tension


Who should practice?


✓ Anyone looking to combat stress and incorporate some deep stretches into their lifestyle

✓ Great for desk workers who want to release tension

✓ Ideal for anyone looking to calm the mind and switch off, can be done easily at home

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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