Yoga Styles Explained

There are a number of different yoga styles out there, the question is which works best for you?
Yoga has been around for centuries with roots that can be traced back to Hinduism and Buddhism. What started out solely as a means to experience spiritual enlightenment has now become a way to exercise both the body and the mind. Practiced by people from all walks of life, yoga is a set of physical disciplines which provides benefits for the mind, body and soul. The techniques allow you to tone your body, whilst relieving tension built up from the stress of daily life. Yoga is said to improve the immune system by lowering stress levels, improving recovery from injuries and even reducing the risk of heart diseases.

Some like it hot

Bikram yoga has recently gained popularity with a number celebrities like Madonna and Matthew McConaughey which has brought the practice to public attention in a major way. But take note that this style is not for everyone. You can expect things to get really hot and sticky as a typical class is practiced in a room at 40°C with 40 percent humidity. Bikram is a series of 26 poses that concentrates on loosening and stretching out muscles while flushing out toxins from your body by sweating, making it an ideal style for beginners or anyone who is recovering from physical injuries. This is a great way to cleanse the body and promote good blood flow.
Bikram Original Hot Yoga, Kenanga International Building, 26 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur 55100. Tel: 03 2054 2800. Web:

Two arms, two legs, eight limbs

Originating in Mysore, India, the fast-paced and intense Ashtanga yoga was introduced by Indian yoga master Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga translates as ‘eight-limbed yoga’. These are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. The first four are considered external cleansing practices and the remaining four are internal cleansing practices. The style focuses on moral and ethical guidelines, postures, breathing work, sense withdrawal, concentration, and meditation. The moves are done rapidly, flowing from one pose to the next with each breath and is not suitable for beginners as one needs to be familiar with general yoga poses. Ashtanga is said to improve one’s spiritual self, relieve stress, aid weight loss and improve coordination. This style is ideal for anyone who is looking to get in touch with their spiritual side while maintaining strength with stamina.
Yoga Dynamics, 10-2, 2nd floor, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur 59100. Tel: 03 2282 3493. Web:

Power extreme

Power yoga is a derivation of the Ashtanga style originating in the ‘80s when people were hungry for money, big hair do’s, disco and toned bodies. It was developed in an attempt to appeal to the growing number of Westerners interested in yoga. Unlike Ashtanga, the routines vary and each class is likely to have a different approach to it. You can be sure to get a good workout from this Yoga style. If you are looking to burn calories and speed up your metabolism, then Power yoga is the way to go.
True Fitness, 22-32 Jalan 22B/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur 50480. Tel: 03 6209 3200. Web:

Feel the flow

Vinyasa refers to breath-synchronised movement and covers 12 basic yoga poses that originated back in the 19th century. The poses place emphasis on salutation of the sun, as Hindus traditionally see the sun as a supreme figure of worship. Vinyasa is said to be able to reduce heart diseases, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, whilst toning the abdominal muscles and improving flexibility. Vinyasa focuses on synchronising one’s breath with movement, which are almost dance-like, allowing the buildup of lean muscle mass throughout the body.
Cinq Energies, Level 3, Publika 1, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur 50480. Tel: 03 6207 8914. Web:

There are many branches of yoga so it is vital to find one that suits your needs to enjoy the full benefits. You should attend different classes to get a feel and see if you are comfortable with the moves and general rhythm. What was once thought of as a hippy, tree hugging fantasy is now highly regarded amongst men and women who understand that a physically and mentally balanced life needs effort.


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