Demystifying yoga class names (and what's takes place in them)

Demystifying yoga class names (and what's takes place in them)

by Stephanie Cai 01 Feb 2020

It’s funny how the prospect of taking your first yoga class can fill you with such amounts of trepidation. Despite how it’s relaxing connotations, the sheer variety of classes and quite literally result in information paralysis. Here’s a list of common yoga classes and their descriptions to help you find your match, no matter the level of your practice:

 

Ashtanga Vinyasa

The Primary Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is called Yoga Chikitsa (meaning yoga therapy). It re-aligns the spine, detoxifies the body, and builds strength, flexibility and stamina. Regular Vinyasa 2 practice encouraged for this class - Not for beginners.

 

Balance

Balance is a mixed level practice, focused on creating symmetry throughout the body by training you to be strong, flexible and balanced. It also finds equilibrium between the urge to push, control and be assertive with the impulse to yield, submit and be passive. This class includes asana practice, concentration, and meditation techniques. Ideal for intermediate to advanced students who want to explore specialised practice.
*This class is not for beginners or pregnant women.

 

Chair Yoga

A hatha yoga class using chairs to facilitate deeper stretching and to enable students to hold stretches for a longer duration with full support and ease. This gentle form of yoga is especially ideal to people who have physical limitation or lack of mobility. 

 

Chakra Cleansing

A hatha based asana/pranayama practice, combined with Mind Sounds Resonance technique, to stimulate, balance, and detox the bodies’ subtle energy channels (nadis/ chakras). The goal of this practice is to have a positive effect on the practitioners internal organs, endocrine, and nervous systems, promoting overall health and wellbeing. This class is suitable for all levels of practitioners.

 

Core

This class is designed to wake up and bring life to the core! Abdominal postures and breathing techniques are incorporated into the class to strengthen the connection between the upper and lower body. Ideal for intermediate to advanced students who want to delve deeper into a healing yoga practice.
*This class is not for beginners or pregnant women.

 

Detox Flow

Dynamic fluid movement linking yoga postures with an emphasis on stimulating the digestive system - this class is practised in a heated room and is suitable for all levels.

 

Dharma Yoga

Dharma yoga is based on the Shiva Namaskara Vinyasa flow, a series created by Sri Dharma Mittra specifically designed to strengthen and purify the entire system. Following the vinyasa portion of the class, participants go through a specific series of stationary poses. Each class also includes breathing exercises, chanting, deep relaxation, meditation and a brief philosophical discourse. Dharma yoga is designed for students to practice easily and make rapid progress towards the ultimate goal of yoga. Students new to the style can expect a concentrated yet playful practice space, rooted in the foundational principle of yoga: ahimsa, or non-violence. Students are encouraged to come to the practice free of expectations, without any sense of competition or judgment.

 

Hatha

A static practice of long hold asana varying from class to class teacher to teacher with all kinds of poses, pranayama exercises, chanting, meditation and mindful relaxation. The intensity is graded by levels 1 - beginner; 2 -mixed/ intermediate; 3 - advanced

 

Hatha Basics

An introduction to the fundamentals of yoga with explanation of theory, postural alignments, and proper breathing techniques. Class is conducted in a relaxed environment where students are encouraged to ask questions during the class. Suitable for all; ideal for beginners.

 

Hatha Gentle

An extra gentle yoga class suitable for beginners, people with limited mobility, those nursing minor injury or pain, or anyone who wants to relax and enjoy a straightforward, undemanding class.

 

Hatha Mixed

A mixed level Hatha practice. The Mixed-Level class is for any student who has prior yoga experience.

 

Hot Classic

The in-class temperature may be as high as 41ºC. In this hot and steamy environment, students perform a set sequence of static poses designed to strengthen & stretch the body, providing deep healing from the inside out. Ideal for beginners.

 

Hot Core

A Mixed Level asana practice, this class takes Core Yoga to another level by conducting the class in a heated room. Abdominal postures and breathing techniques are incorporated into the class to strengthen the connection between the upper and lower body, while the heat helps to build stamina and provides for a challenging practice. Ideal for students with previous yoga experience interested in physical strengthening.

 

Hot Hatha

Going beyond the fixed Hot Classic sequence, Hot Hatha maintains the same heat but with a varying sequence. Ideal for those with a regular Hot Classic practice. Class is taught in a heated room, approximately 40°C. Mix Level Practice.

 

Hot Vinyasa

A vinyasa class taught in a heated room. The heat adds to the intensity of the practice while you flow through a dynamic sequence of postures following your breath. Yoga experience and knowledge of basic postures is recommended. Mixed Level Practice.

 

Hot Vinyasa Mixed

A mixed level Hot Vinyasa practice. The Mixed-Level class is for any student who has prior yoga experience.

 

Hot Yin

Yin Yoga practiced in a heated room. Heat warms the body to allow for deeper, safer stretching while the yin practice targets the connective tissues of the body, i.e. ligaments, tendons, fascia. Class is taught in a heated room, approximately 37°C. Ideal for all levels.

 

Iyengar

Iyengar is a form of Hatha Yoga that has an emphasis on detail, precision and alignment in the practice of asana and pranayama. The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas by focusing on bringing balance between action and resistance. It helps to integrate the mental and the physical plane, bringing about a sense of inner and outer balance, or what is called as alignment.

 

Jivamukti

Jivamukti: "Jiva" - individual soul; "Mukti" - liberation. The word Jivamukti is derived from the Sanskrit word Jivanmuktih ("liberation while living"). Jivamukti is a yoga method established by David Life and Sharon Gannon that aspires to greater peace, unity, environmental awareness and karma consciousness. Ahimsa, one of the five tenets of Jivamukti, encourages all to avoid harm and violence; it ultimately manifests the sacred notion of oneness in all beings. A Jivamukti yoga class is a physically vigorous and intellectually stimulating practice that combines chanting, asanas, breathing exercises, music, meditation, and devotional study through simple scriptural readings.

 

Power Vinyasa

Power Yoga is a specialized vinyasa practice that moves quickly from pose to pose, with shorter holds and an emphasis on strength & conditioning. Yoga experience and knowledge of basic postures is recommended.

 

Pranayama & Meditation

This class introduces students to yogic breathing and concentration exercises that lead to meditative states of higher consciousness. Preparatory asana, chanting, healing sounds or music may be used to instil focus and clear the mind. Regular practice purifies and energises the body, eventually leading to experiences of profound relaxation, peace and vitality.

 

Pre-Natal

This class is designed to meet the needs of pregnancy and new beginnings of motherhood. Come strengthen and relax your body, ease your mind and connect with your baby in a safe and supportive environment. Feel inspired and nourished in a community of women sharing the experience of pregnancy and birth.

 

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga takes your practice to new heights, offering authentic yoga with the use of a soft fabric hammock and two stirrups to provide additional support and stability, both in the air and on the ground. This practice creates an entirely new experience, refines your regular practice and challenges you with more advanced Asanas. Using gravity as your ally, you get deeper stretches, less resistance and more precision, relieving unwanted pain, muscular tightness and muscle fatigue. Enjoy the benefits of a lengthened spine and a healthy nervous system with this one-of-a-kind practice. Go deep into your practice and get that physical and spiritual high in this unique experience that will leave you taller, lighter and make you feel like you’re walking on air. 

 

Restorative

A deeply relaxing practice using yoga props such as belts, blocks, blankets, bolsters and chairs. Students can achieve the form of the yoga pose without exerting much muscular strength, which helps to soothe the nervous system. Ideal for alleviating the strains of a busy and stressful lifestyle.

 

Satyananda Yoga

Suitable for total beginners, those new to yoga and/or students wishing to progress more slowly and peacefully. This class is an introduction to the holistic system of Satyananda Yoga®. The aim is to create a nurturing environment in order to experience yoga non-competitively for overall physical, mental and emotional well-being. Students learn the basic principles for cultivating a deeper sense of self through awareness, releasing energy blockages and tension in the body and mind – using yoga postures, breath work and relaxation. Includes basic Om chanting, a mini Yoga Nidra relaxation and learning the sun salutation sequence.

 

Satyananda Yoga Meditation, Pranayama & Yoga Nidra

All welcome! Progressive course element encouraged but not essential. This class encompasses simple Om chanting to create mental peace and tranquillity, pre-meditation asana preparations, step-by-step guidance in the classical Satyananda Yoga meditation techniques, a 30-minute Satyananda Yoga Nidra relaxation and Pranayama instruction.

 

Universal Yoga

The Universal Style of Yoga (USY) is based on the knowledge of the human structure and universal rules of modifications of this structure. According to the traditional idea of yoga, a human being consists of seven bodies, called shells or maya koshas. These shells, or forms, are called organic, power, psychic, mental, spiritual, causal and absence of form -- or Formlessness. The goal of the USY is to achieve harmony and balance within each shell, between the shells, and between the human being and the outer world. To develop and refine these shells, USY uses a diversity of practical exercises. One may practise the exercises pertaining to each shell separately; however, to speed up the process, USY combines various elements of different exercises that create a simultaneous impact on several shells.

 

Universal Yoga Practice

Universal Yoga seeks to create harmony on all levels by following the traditional practices of: asana, vinyasa, pranayama, and meditation. Asana practice blends static holds with dynamic flows for strength and stretch conditioning, mudras & pranayama for focus and energy control, full multi-directional mandala sequencing for coordination and reaction training, as well as yantra visualization and japa mantra for improved concentration. Experienced/ Intermediate level practice - Not ideal for beginners. 

 

Upside Down

Turn your world upside down! This workshop-based class helps students to explore and improve their inverted poses. The class will focus on alignment and techniques for headstand, handstand, forearmstand and shoulderstand. A regular Level 2 practice is recommended prior to attending this class. Not for beginners.

 

Vinyasa

A dynamic and fluid practice of asana varying from class to class teacher to teacher with all kinds of poses, pranayama exercises, chanting, meditation and mindful relaxation. The intensity is graded by levels 1 - beginners; 2 - mixed/ intermediate; 3 - advanced

 

Vinyasa Basics

An introduction to the fundamentals of vinyasa yoga with explanation of theory, postural alignments, and proper breathing techniques. Class is conducted in a relaxed environment where students are encouraged to ask questions during the class. Suitable for all; ideal for beginners.

 

Vinyasa Gentle

A gentle, flowing practice. Slow, restorative and breath-based. Prior yoga experience recommended.

 

Vinyasa Mixed

A mixed level Vinyasa practice. The Mixed-Level class is for any student who has prior yoga experience.

 

Wall Rope Yoga

The practice will be done on a Yoga Wall system with ropes, pelvic swing and bars to enhance traction and extension in different yoga poses. The system is great to assist students to correct alignment and to deepen the opening of the body during practice. It is highly therapeutic for city dwellers and students who suffer from mild injuries or pain. 

 

Yin

Exploring the body's subtle energies with long, deep stretching that focuses on the connective tissues of the body, and cultivates a peaceful and meditative mind. Ideal for all levels.

 

Yin-Yang

This class blends the elements of yin & hatha yoga. The class begins with basic asana to promote circulation (prana/energy), then shifts to deep, long, holding poses to affect the connective tissues of the body, and cultivate a peaceful and meditative mind. Ideal for all levels.

 

Yoga Therapy

A class that emphasises relaxation using breath work and poses, helping to heal the injured and the tired body. Ideal for practitioners returning after an injury.

 

Use this guide to find the perfect yoga class for your needs and you won’t have to worry about going through the hassle of constant trial and error! You’re welcome!