Whether you have a passion for yoga or are practising yoga for stress, or even Prenatal Yoga to prepare you for that big day, yoga will help you master your everyday life and teach you to live in the moment.

However, there are a lot of different types of yoga out there and yoga lessons can vary depending on your wants and needs.

Your Yoga Session: What Is It You Really Need?

A student under examination stress… a parent stressed by childcarework…

There are many reasons someone might turn to self-betterment activities and seek to improve their mindfulness to better face everyday challenges.

Yoga is one of those relaxing practises and is more and more appreciated by young and old alike.

But how can you be sure you are taking the right yoga course and how do you choose between dozens of yoga classes?

Choosing your yoga class means first of all choosing your yoga style. Rhythm, positions, benefits - each of the styles has its own advantage.

Beginner Yoga Lessons

Everyone has preconceived notions of what yoga is like, but few actually know. So how to decide on the right beginner yoga course?

The most popular yoga style is definitely Hatha Yoga.

It is the most commonly taught and consists of alternating static poses (”asanas”) and positions to control your breathing (”pranayama”). The best known yoga pose comes from Hatha Yoga: Lotus Pose. Sitting cross-legged, you place your hands on your knees.

Lotus Pose is a basic yoga pose.
Lotus Pose is one of the basic yoga poses taught by Hatha Yoga. Photo credit: Lαin via Visual Hunt

Hatha Yoga uses the simplest of the yoga poses. They are good for starting off gently.

Learn what to expect from your yoga lessons with our guide to yoga classes.

Yoga for Stress

This Indian philosophy helps eliminated daily stress.

The most common reason given by beginner yoga students for deciding to take yoga classes is the need to learn how to relax. In our hundred-mile-an-hour world, stress is becoming more and more prevalent.

Between smartphones, computers, television screens - it is important to learn to de-connect in order to re-connect with mind and body.

Yoga can help you find calm by teaching you some basic exercises to relax anywhere.

But if you are specifically interested in de-stressing, look for one particular yoga style: Vishranta Yoga is an ideal form of yoga for those who don’t want to be done in at the end of a yoga session.

The poses are fairly simple and don’t push your body. It is one of the best ways to learn mindful breathing techniques and become fully aware of your body.

By regularly practising Vishranta Yoga, you will learn to deal with high-stress situations.

Practising Yoga When You Are Pregnant

The benefits of yoga are very much appreciated by expectant mums. Practising yoga during pregnancy helps strengthen your muscles, particularly the back and the abdominal wall.

Yoga is also good for learning proper breathing techniques - very useful when you are going into labour! And your new-found zen attitude might help you avoid torturing your husband’s hand and keep an astounding self-control.

Prenatal yoga to stay fit during pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga classes help expecting mothers prepare for labour. Photo credit: pasa47 via Visualhunt.com

Yoga can help if you are feeling nervous about giving birth.

A special Prenatal Yoga class is often proposed to expectant mothers. This type of yoga helps with your:

  • Flexibility
  • Breathing techniques
  • Controlling mood swings
  • Overcoming physical pain etc.

However, yoga in pregnancy is often inadvisable if you have never practised yoga before. It is better if you know a few basic yoga poses to avoid making any wrong movements during pregnancy.

There are numerous institutes and yoga centres that offer this type of yoga course for pregnant women.

Practising Yoga for Exercise

Are you more hyperactive than zen?
Yoga can be fun for you, too!

Contrary to popular belief, yoga isn’t just for hippies or those kids who are chosen last for sports.
Yoga can be a very physical sports.

Vinyasa Yoga, derived from Ashtanga Yoga, is a form of yoga that focuses on breathing and synchronisation. The movements are very rhythmic and flow together in a specific choreography.

You can let off some physical steam while working on muscle control. This type of yoga is in no way inferior to the usual sports practised at the gym.

It is best to be in fair physical condition to be able to truly profit from its benefits. This style is also good for weight loss.

Learning Yoga for Meditation

Do you want to learn meditation techniques?

Yoga will teach you to take the time to think of yourself. A frequent practise for self-betterment, yoga is not simply a sequence of odd poses.

Taking time to think about yourself is essential for your health.

Meditation is an integral part of yoga practise. It is just as important as flexibility and breathing.

Meditation allows you to:

  • Purify your spirit
  • Improve your concentration
  • Improve your memory.

Not all yoga poses are optimised for meditation. Kripalu Yoga (which means “to be compassionate”), elaborated from Hatha Yoga, is the best style for working on mindfulness.

It focuses on a combination of poses that favourise the search for well-being and compassion toward others. This sort of wisdom you will slowly acquire over the course of your sessions with your new yoga teacher.

Kripalu Yoga for meditation.
Kripalu Yoga helps you learn meditation techniques that will help you master your everyday life. Photo credit: Sole Treadmill via VisualHunt.com

Practising Yoga at the Highest Level

Just like Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is a very physical form of yoga. It has a fairly fast rhythm and you should be in good physical condition to be able to follow the yoga tutor.

It is considered the most consummate of all the yoga types.
It imposes a specific series of movements repeated several times.

The point? To learn to synchronise movement with breathing. It also helps tone your muscles and spend yourself enough to forget your little everyday annoyances.

Ashtanga Yoga sessions last about an hour and a half - enough to tire you out for the week.

Should You Take Classes in a Yoga Studio or With a Private Yoga Coach?

Once you have chosen the best yoga style for you, you need to decide what type of yoga lesson you want to take. Some prefer to go to a yoga centre while others prefer private lessons.

Based in London? Search hot yoga near me.

What are the advantages of each of them?

Advantages of yoga courses at a studio

If you live in a big city, it’s usually pretty easy to find good addresses for practising whatever activity you feel like doing. Whether it be yoga or some other sport, a lot of gyms and exercise studios offer weekly courses.

It’s a great opportunity to practise yoga regularly with an experienced yoga teacher.

Yoga institutes offer rooms.
Most yoga studios have better rooms for yoga lessons than this Navy ship.
Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery via Visual hunt

Yoga studios also offer an ideal space for yoga lessons. It’s often difficult to find a place to practise yoga at home. If you decide to take classes at a yoga centre, you can take advantage of a space set up and decorated to provide the ideal ambiance for relaxation.

This also helps impose a rhythm and forces you to make time each week to attend yoga classes and do your poses - and relax.

Learning yoga in a group also has the benefit of putting you in touch with like-minded people.

Tip: take advantage of open days or free first lessons offered by yoga studios to make sure the lessons suit you. This lets you get an idea of how the classes are organised, but also get a feel for the yoga instructor.

Advantages of private classes

Choosing a private yoga tutor also has numerous advantages, not least the ability to adapt your yoga practise to your own rhythm.

Your timetable may not be regular enough to allow you to dedicate several hours of your week to yoga on fixed times - which can be even more discouraging when monthly fees are involved.

Deciding on a private yoga teacher lets you set up your appointments directly with your yogi and squeeze them in whenever you do have time. A real plus if you have a job with very flexible hours!

Google "yoga Edinburgh" to find a yoga class near you.

Even more than with a studio, choosing a private yoga lesson is choosing your yoga teacher. Platforms such as Superprof allow prospective students to consult each tutor’s profile to find the one that best meets their wants and needs.

Clicking with your professor is one of the key elements to succeeding at your private yoga courses.

A private yoga teacher will also better be able to concentrate on improving your posture and encouraging your progression.

Private lessons can also be financially advantageous. Some of the teachers on Superprof let you try out the first lesson for free, or even get a sort of stamp card for 10 yoga lessons at a better price.

You can also opt for online yoga classes via webcam to widen your choice of teachers.

Even if you live in the country, nothing stands in the way of yoga lessons. No more excuses!

Looking for the best yoga teacher for you? Find the perfect yoga class.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.