BLOG 201: WHICH OF THESE 4 TYPES OF YOGA WOULD SUIT YOU BEST?Feb 06, 2023
If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably already know that I’m a trained Yoga teacher. In fact, my Face Yoga business grew out of my Yoga teaching – like me, my students wondered why yoga always stopped at the neck, so I dove deep into facial anatomy, facial exercises, massage, and acupressure to design the Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method. Talking of Face Yoga, if you haven’t yet got my FREE mini e-book resource on how to naturally lift your neck ( as well as get my top tips newsletter straight to your inbox) you can get it here
Most of my teaching now focuses on Face Yoga, but yoga remains a hugely important part of my life. It’s one of my wellness non-negotiables. I make it my priority to get on my mat every day, even if it is just to spend a few moments in child’s pose.
Although I’m trained in Hatha Yoga and always love to come back to this style, I find that different types of yoga serve me best at different times in my life.
For example, during the darker winter months, I find myself feeling called to slow down and turn my attention inwards. So, I’m often drawn to yin yoga during the winter because its slow, meditative style intuitively feels right for my mind and body.
Then, in the summer, I am more likely to feel drawn towards more active styles of Yoga. It just depends on what my needs are in the moment.
Someone who shares my love of Yoga and helping other people embrace the benefits of integrating yoga with their daily lives is Sarah Beth. You might know her from her hugely popular YouTube channel, Sarah Beth Yoga.
Sarah Beth has been teaching Yoga for over twelve years and has reached millions of people through her YouTube channel and her app. So, I was particularly keen to pick her brains on different types of yoga and when to use them.
In the meantime, I’ve been inspired by our conversation to look at four types of Yoga and help you decide which one is right for you.
1. POWER YOGA
Power yoga is a very physical form of yoga that incorporates lots of flows, strength-building poses, and core engagement. It tends to get your heart rate going!
This form of yoga often involves poses like chair pose, the warrior poses, and lunges. It’s great for boosting your energy levels, lifting your mood, and improving your confidence (as well as your posture).
Often, you’ll find power yoga classes are aimed at advanced students, but power yoga doesn’t need to be really hard. There are plenty of variations of power yoga that are great for beginners too – you just need to find a class that works well for your current level.
If your mood has been feeling low or you are struggling with your confidence, Sarah Beth suggests that power yoga is a great choice. By putting yourself in positions that require strength, you show yourself that you have that strength inside you. It helps you feel empowered and builds your trust in yourself and your ability to do hard things.
2. VINYASA YOGA
Vinyasa yoga shares some similarities with power yoga. Both are physical practices that move you quickly through the poses. Vinyasa yoga is usually a less intense workout and focuses particularly on flowing from one pose to another while connecting your movement to your breath.
Again, vinyasa yoga is great when you want to wake up and harness the energy inside you. It helps to get that prana, or life force, flowing freely through your body.
Of course, if you’re looking to get lovely, glowing skin, this is also a great type of yoga to choose. Vinyasa flows help to get the blood moving, bringing plenty of fresh oxygen and nutrients up to the skin’s surface.
For glowing skin, Sarah Beth especially recommends a vinyasa flow with plenty of inversions. Don’t worry – inversions don’t have to mean advanced poses like handstands. You can get plenty of benefits from a simple forward fold or downward-facing dog. Working through one of the classic Sun Salutes is a wonderful option for boosting your skin’s health.
3. HATHA YOGA
Hatha yoga is a slower form of yoga than either vinyasa or power yoga. It focuses on relaxation and mindfulness, so you’ll find you hold poses for longer in a Hatha class and take more time to deliberately place your body in each pose. There’s also a lot of attention on connecting with your breath as you hold poses.
If you’ve been experiencing a lot of tightness in your hips, Hatha yoga might be the best option for you. It’s the perfect midway point between yin yoga, where we hold poses for a really long time, and faster practices like vinyasa.
This means that you’ll hold poses for long enough to get that good, deep stretch, but will also get to work through the tightness by moving from pose to pose. This helps to increase your mobility and teaches you to connect with your body and trust it to move in different ways.
Hatha yoga is also great for working through tightness in other areas, such as the shoulders. However, if you are experiencing tightness in the upper body and shoulders, Sarah Beth notes that it’s also important to look at the rest of your life – what is creating that tension?
Yoga can help to relieve the tightness and increase your mobility, but you may also need to make other changes to address the issue for the long term.
4. YIN YOGA
Yin yoga is the form I’m most drawn to at this time of year when I’m feeling the need to slow down and hibernate a little.
It’s a form of yoga that is more focused on being quiet and restful. In yin yoga, you’ll hold poses for much longer – usually for five minutes or more. As a result, you’ll do fewer poses in each session, but holding each one for longer means you get a deep stretch that targets the connective tissue, the fascia.
Since you spend a lot more time in stillness during a yin practice, it can be quite a mentally challenging practice. However, this makes it great for developing mindfulness. It is a very grounding practice where you feel into your body and bring your awareness to where it is in contact with the floor.
When your mind starts to wander, you gently bring it back to your breath and the sensations in your body, using them as anchors to bring yourself back to the present. As a result, this is a great form of yoga to try if you’re feeling stressed or worried.
Yin yoga is also ideal when your energy levels feel low and depleted. Because it is a slow, contemplative form of yoga, it allows you to rest and recharge.
Some yin yoga poses can be quite challenging because you are holding them for a long time. But when you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, you can also just come into a gentler pose like child’s pose or savasana and use them to help you feel grounded in your body again.
CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY
Above all, Sarah Beth says that the best yoga practice is the one that gets done. Even if you are just spending five minutes on your mat every day, that’s going to have more benefits than doing an hour once a week.
I totally agree – I’m all about making wellness practices accessible so that we can integrate them into our daily lives.
My yoga practice varies hugely depending on my energy levels, my mood, what I have going on that day, where I am in my cycle, etc. Some days I might do a full hour-long practice and other days I’ll just spend five minutes in child’s pose.
The important thing is making that daily commitment to yourself. Giving yourself time every day to focus on your physical and mental wellbeing is a practice that will have huge benefits for your whole life.
So, whatever form of yoga you feel most drawn to, give yourself the flexibility you need to make it a regular practice. And remember too that different types of yoga will feel right at different times, so you don’t need to stick rigidly to one style.
DON’T FORGET FACE YOGA!
Of course, the four types of yoga we’ve looked at in this blog post all focus on the body, not the face. So, I’m just finishing with the reminder that face yoga is also a beautiful form of self-care – and an ideal practice for anyone looking to take care of their skin and lift their face naturally.
The best way to really dive deep into face yoga is to take my teacher training course, which is a comprehensive program that covers everything from facial anatomy and physiology to facial exercises, massage, and acupuncture.
The course is amazing even if all you want is to know how to use face yoga techniques on yourself at home. But, if you are looking for a new career, or to add another offering to your existing wellness business, doing the teacher training will also give you all the tools you need to teach face yoga to others.