Updated: Jul 4
Understanding the different styles of yoga is a challenge in itself, and that's before trying to balance on one leg. It's important to know what you've signed yourself up for before attending a yoga class. Let us help you out on this one.
Vinyasa or Hatha yoga... What will it be?
Technically speaking, Hatha yoga is all yoga and what we know modern yoga to be. However, for argument sake, we will refer to Hatha as a common style taught by yoga studios.
What is Hatha Yoga?
Realign and calm the body, mind, and spirit through gentle and restorative Hatha.
Hatha yoga is typically a slower paced class, focused on moving the body mindfully. There are a variety of poses taught, often with plenty of variations and modifications to make the class accessible for all.
You can expect a focus on the breath, alignment and posture throughout as the teacher guides you into common yoga poses and meditation.
Poses you can expect to come across in a Hatha class include downward facing dog, warrior's and tree. The class will transition between seated, standing, balancing and lying down for relaxation.
Hatha Yoga follows the 8 Limbs of Yoga - an ancient philosophy used by yogi's to follow enlightenment and liberation. (This is a whole other topic to explore...)
Benefits of Hatha Yoga
Focus on breathing
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Stretch, unwind , improve your agility and find your own flow through our dynamic Vinyasa sessions.
Vinyasa yoga is faster paced and generally more physically demanding than a Hatha class. (That's not saying you can't build up a sweat in Hatha!) The teacher will guide the class through a sequence, stringing yoga poses together in a flow. Poses are always adaptable with modifications and props, so be sure to talk to your teacher before the class to get tips to help you out if needed.
You can expect chaturanga push-ups, upward facing dogs, and lots of downward facing dogs. Breath is often used to help hold positions and count movements through a sequence. Alignment is still important, however, there is less focus and time on this compared to a Hatha class.
A typical Vinyasa sequence may look something like this:
Inhale - arms to the sky
Exhale - forward fold
Inhale - step back to warrior 2, hold for 3 breaths
Exhale - plank or chaturanga
Inhale - upward facing dog
Exhale - downward facing dog
Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
How To Choose Between Vinyasa or Hatha Yoga
Both styles of yoga offer fantastic benefits, and as always, it comes down to your personal preference when choosing what to do. Here is a simple guide to help you decide:
New to yoga and want to learn the poses
Familiar with yoga poses and want to flow
Have a lower level of fitness and want to gently build up
Have a good level of fitness and is up for a challenge
Want to focus on stress reduction and relaxation
Want to focus on strength building and core power
Want a focus on pranayama and meditation
Up for a challenge
Yoga at Pose Fitness
At Pose we offer both Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga classes on our regular timetable:
All of our Hatha Yoga classes are suitable for beginners as our teachers provide options for all levels, making the class completely accessible. We often incorporate pranayama (breathing techniques) along with the occasional 'OM' to close a practice.
Our Vinyasa Yoga class is fast paced with a strong element of play and fun. This is a mixed level class, offering challenges to those that want to take them. We alternate between Mandala Vinyasa and Rocket sequences to give our classes something different.
Want to come join us for a practice?
I'm a beginner. What yoga class is suitable for me?
Hatha yoga is the class for you. This yoga class is slower and generally provides details on alignment and posture for the poses. The teacher will guide you step by step and offer adjustments if needed to help you into the pose.
When can I come to a Vinyasa class?
Vinyasa classes are faster and require you to know some yoga poses already. We would recommend you attend a few Hatha classes beforehand and then give Vinyasa a go. Feel free to talk to one of our yoga teachers in the studio for more individual advice.
Which style is best for relaxation, Vinyasa or Hatha?
Hatha is typically a more relaxing and gentle yoga style. There is more emphasis on breathwork, allowing the body to relax into restorative poses, and slowing down to reconnect and realign. You may even get a sneaky Yoga Nidra at the end of a Hatha class, of which is the ultimate relaxation technique!
I want to get stronger. What class should I attend?
If strength training is high on your priority list then Vinyasa yoga is the one for you. Chaturanga push-ups, downward facing dog and the odd dolphin for good measure are all amazing bodyweight poses that will increase muscular strength over regular practice.
Which style is best for improving flexibility, Vinyasa or Hatha?
Both Vinyasa and Hatha yoga will help the body increase flexibility. It's a by-product of yoga poses and regular practice! Why not mix it up and try both styles!