What Is Yoga? | Different Types and Benefits

Yoga is a form of exercise that can be practised in a group setting or as an individual.

It involves different poses that promote health and well being. Focus is placed on controlled breathing and relaxation in most classes, although some forms of yoga are more vigorous than others!

The Benefits Of Yoga

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Yoga is a great activity for anyone to include in their training routine -whether you’re male or female, an athlete, body-builder, endurance runner or suffer with stiff, sore muscles.

It is a form of functional fitness, which will also help when performing activities in everyday life!

✓ Yoga improves your flexibility

The poses performed during yoga sessions work to really stretch our your muscles which promotes flexibility.

This will also help to release tension from the muscle, which may remove pain caused by stiffness!

✓ Relaxation & Mindfulness

Yoga is a relaxing form of exercise due to its focus on both meditation in some classes and controlled breathing.

Yoga also encourages mindfulness and this significantly aids stress reduction!

✓ Improves posture

This benefit is especially relevant to anyone who works at a desk job or spends a lot of time sitting down.

Stretching out your body after spending 5-days-a-week sedentary can have great impact on tension!

✓ Helps to improves your bone health

It has been shown in numerous studies that weight bearing exercise is excellent for your bones.

Many poses in yoga require you to use your strength to lift your body. This in turn will not only make you stronger as a whole, but could also promote bone health too!

✓ Helps towards a sound sleep

Due to its relaxing nature, yoga can aid in a good nights sleep.

It is excellent to help you wind down at the end of a stressful day and a great form of exercise to include in your nightly routine!

Different types of yoga



Hatha yoga is a broad term that can include many different types of yoga. If a class is Hatha style, it will most likely be slow paced and very relaxing. These classes tend to be great for beginners and provide a nice introduction to the basics of yoga.

If the Hatha classes are too slow for you, consider trying a Vinyasa class next time for a different experience!


Vinyasya yoga is more fast paced than Hatha yoga and is used to classify many different types of classes. It involves breath-synchronised movements and uses a number of poses from the sun salutations category (a series of poses performed continuously to form a flowing sequence with the intention of improving strength and flexibility.)

A Vinyasa class usually begins with a variety of sun salutations to warm up the body in preparation for the following poses to come. It is also known as a flow class, due to the fact THAT there is constant movement from one pose to the next.


The name Ashtanga refers to the term eight limbs in Sanskrit. This style of yoga is more intense than the above two mentioned previously. It is fast paced and follows a particular order of poses.
It is much more strenuous than the other forms above due to the fact that there is frequent movement from one pose to the next. Daily practice is encouraged in Ashtanga!

Power yoga

Power yoga is a very popular form of yoga that came about in the 90s. It was designed to allow more people to have access to yoga and to make it a little more mainstream than it had been previously. This was based on the intensity of Ashtanga but with the exception that it allowed for variation in the order of poses.

This particular style of yoga is especially concerned with the alignment of the body. It usually involves holding poses over a longer period of time rather than moving rapidly from one pose to the next as can be seen with some of the other styles of yoga. This form of yoga also makes use of various props including blocks and straps to aid with body alignment.


This style of yoga places emphasis on the breathing in synchronisation with the body’s physical movement. Exercises in this form of yoga are known as Kriyas. All asana practices involve controlling the participants breathing.

Bikram yoga

This type of yoga has seen a surge in its popularity with a number of studies opening nationwide and celebrities endorsing its practice. This class is preformed in a really warm room which allows for the muscles to relax and encourages sweating. There are 26 poses in this type of yoga, but most of the time a yoga teacher will select a few of these rather than them all for the class.


This type of yoga places a lot of emphasis on the fact that each yoga student is an individual. The teacher will create a practice that suits the student’s situation, taking into account health factors and individual needs.

Take Home Message

Try adding some yoga into your daily routine and reap the many health and fitness benefits it has to offer!

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