Guide to Yoga - Which Class Should I Choose?

Choosing a yoga class is like a choosing a haircut. The options available are enormous and slightly overwhelming. You look at your friends for inspiration yet somehow you cannot always trust their judgement. This is why we have tried to create a simple guide to the types of yoga available. If you are stiff as board, can't touch your toes and think that it may be time to do something about it then this yoga guide is for you. ASHTANGA or POWER YOGA Often conventional yoga methods such as Hatha and Iyengar can focus on breathing techniques that avid fitness enthusiasts might find a bit wishy-washy. Power Yoga is the answer to this. It offers a more dynamic form of yoga based on Ashtanga Yoga where you receive the typical flexibility and posture benefits but also work up a sweat due to its fast flowing, aerobic style. The Power Yoga Company in Parsons Green labels itself as London?s first power yoga studios and offers a suitable range of classes. Yoga London also is a good source for power yoga class information and centres. BIKRAM/HOT YOGA Sometimes referred to as ?hot yoga?, Bikram yoga is a unique series of 26 Hatha yoga postures. The difference is that it takes place in a hot, sweaty room with the thermometer cranked up to 40 degrees. Sounds unpleasant perhaps, yet it is extremely popular due to its ?cleansing? and calorie-burning properties. The heat is also meant to help you stretch beyond your usual capabilities. Bikram yoga centres are constantly springing up, such as aptly named Bikram YogaBikram Yoga Primrose Hill and Yotopia. Other popular centres include Fitness on Fire near Old Street and Bikram Yoga Wimbledon. Daily deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social also regularly offer Bikram Yoga discount deals, so keep your eyes out for those. HATHA This is one the gentlest and most basic forms of yoga, and will suit complete yoga beginners. Most Hatha yoga classes tend to involve slow-paces stretching with simple breathing exercises and seated meditation. Yoga centres are now everywhere in London and the vast majority should offer Hatha yoga. Notable examples include Hatha Yoga LondonYoga Place in Bethnal Green and Shanta Yoga in London Bridge.  Most major gym chains and London leisure centres also tend to offer yoga classes. Furthermore, hatha yoga tends to be one of the most common classes and good examples can be found at the Fusion leisure centres such as The Ladywell Leisure Centre and Dulwich Leisure Centre. IYENGAR Iyengar is a popular form of yoga that emphasises posture and breathing control. The key is performing different positions slowly and precisely using aids where necessary, rather than working up a huge sweat. So if you like attention to detail, this is certainly for you. The Iyengar Yoga Association has a class finder to save time finding a local session. Further help finding classes is available through the North East London Iyengar Yoga Institute and South West London & Surrey Iyengar Yoga Institute. They both help promote the provision and development of this unique form of Yoga around the capital. Other popular Iyengar yoga centres include Southbank YogaInner Heart Beat and The Iyengar Yoga Studio in East Finchley. By Sam Parton

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