Checking the class schedule at your gym for a good yoga class can be a real exercise in confusion for beginners. How can you tell the difference between Ashtanga, Vinyasa flow yoga or Power yoga? The following descriptions will help you find your way to a class that fits you.
Ashtanga: Ancient Yoga Style
Ashtanga is a rigurous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures. The core Ashtanga practice consists of six progressively more difficult series of linked postures, as this style links every movement to a breath. The series work like a combination lock. If you do the right poses in the right order, the mind and the body automatically open up. Each series unlocks a particular aspect of the body and mind. Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.
Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is the Sanskrit word for “flow”, and Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid movement in intense practice. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to transition smoothly from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively.
The intensity of practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two Vinyasa classes are the same. If you have routine and love to test your physiscal limits, Vinyasa Yoga may be just your ticket.
Power Yoga: Modern Approach
Power Yoga follow up poses with strength training, while synchronizing one’s breathing patterns to each movement and bringing special attention to one’s posture and breath. This routine strengthens and stretches the muscles and focuses the mind, thereby improving the mind-body connection. Contrary to Ashtanga, it is not an ancient practice and it is not taught as a fixed series. This gives the teacher more freedom to vary poses and sequencing. Because Power Yoga teachers have more freedom to put their own stamp on their class, these classes tend to give participants more opportunities to explore a wider range of yoga postures. On the other hand, as postures are less repetitive and usually held for a shorter time, less advanced practitioners might find it more difficult to grasp the correct body alignment and connections.
Check out our class schedule for yoga classes.