Yoga is a phenomenal form of exercise, with the benefits of yoga proven to improve both your physique and your mental health. Whether you are a new or an advanced Yogi, having a good understanding of the different types of yoga is the first step you should take before choosing your yoga path. Many Yogis try different types of practice and then stick with one that benefits them the most.
You don’t have to be flexible in order to practise yoga, although it does help immensely. If you stick with it, flexibility will come with gradual and frequent practise. You will be amazed how much further you will be able to stretch after just a few sessions and how soon your sense of wellbeing can start to improve. Here are the most popular yoga styles along with local studios and leisure centres running classes.
Beginners’ Yoga – HATHA
If you’re a completely new Yogi and would like to take it easy or you’re not quite sure what to expect from a yoga session, Hatha is a great place to start. It is the gentlest form of yoga you can try and a great introduction to the most basic postures. Your body will benefit from a good stretch and the controlled breathing will help improve oxygenation of the body, which will in turn help reduce stress. You will certainly leave the class feeling more relaxed.
Hatha classes in Bournemouth
BH Live Active offers Hatha Yoga classes in its Bournemouth-based leisure centres. Check out the class timetables for your nearest centre in the list below.
- Littledown Centre in East Bournemouth.
- Stokewood Leisure Centre in the Winton / Charminster part of town.
- Pelhams Park (formerly Roko) in Kinson.
- Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, which was previously Fitness First.
Hatha classes in Poole
- If you’re on the Poole side of town, you can follow the BH Live Active yoga course at Corfe Mullen Leisure Centre (previously Virgin Active).
- The Poole Yoga Centre is a dedicated facility near the maternity hospital in the centre of the town.
- And check out Lotus Yoga, delivered by practitioner Karen Stanberry at two venues in Branksome and Parkstone.
Get up to speed with VINYASA
Is Hatha too slow for you? Then try the Vinyasa. Vinyasa is a faster paced version of Hatha and is suitable for Yogis who like a more challenging session. This type of yoga will help you achieve a full body workout. During this yoga class, you will be taught how to coordinate movement with breath so that you’ll be able to flow from one pose to the next. You will stretch and strengthen your body in the process and you’ll leave the studio feeling refreshed, stretched and less stressed!
Vinyasa classes in Bournemouth include:
- Queen’s Park Leisure Centre
- Pavilion Dance Southwest, attached to the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre in the town centre’s beautiful Lower Gardens.
- Corfe Mullen Leisure Centre
- Scott Parsons Yoga – Scott teaches a variety of yoga in venues around Bournemouth and Poole including Pavilion Dance, Fitness First and The West Hants Club.
Stretch yourself with ASHTANGA – “Power Yoga”
Are you after a good stretch and more advanced positions? Then go for Ashtanga, or “Power Yoga”. Ashtanga is based on six series’ of poses. You don’t have to be an advanced Yogi to practise Ashtanga, as you can choose the difficulty level for each pose, which allows you to work at your own pace and up the difficulty level as you progress. The different poses are designed to flow from one pose to the next throughout the whole session.
Ashtanga classes can be found in Bournemouth at the following locations.
- The Littledown Leisure Centre
- Queen’s Park Leisure Centre
- Stokewood Leisure Centre
- Pavilion Dance Southwest – You can practise Power Yoga at Pavilion Dance Southwest under the instructorship of Juliette Hecquet.
- The dedicated Yoga Lounge in Boscombe
Poole-based Ashtanga classes include:
- Corfe Mullen Leisure Centre
- Various venues for Scott Parsons Yoga
Warm up with BIKRAM – “Hot Yoga”
Do you want an even more challenging and intense Yoga session? Then try Hot Yoga (Bikram). Bikram is becoming increasingly popular due to the amazing benefits this type of yoga can offer. Hot Yoga is practised in a room that is heated between 35-40 degrees with 40-50% humidity. The heated environment enables you to detoxify and stretch stiff muscles even further and reach new levels of flexibility. This type of yoga also helps to relieve stress, tone your body and heal chronic pain like back pain, knee injuries arthritis and joint aches.
Bikram Yoga classes are generally 90 minutes long and, in this time, you can burn up to 1000 calories! 26 yoga postures are practised during the session. It is advisable not to eat one to two hours before the session and to remain hydrated before and after the class. Check out the Bikram classes at the Yoga Lounge in Boscombe and Fitness First in Poole.
Dive right in! Try “Aerial Yoga”
Also know an Anti-Gravity Yoga, you absolutely must give Aerial Yoga a go! These classes come equipped with soft suspended fabric hammocks that hang low from the ceiling. Yoga postures are practiced using these hammocks to support your body weight which enables participants to achieve more aligned postures. Breathing techniques help students to relax during the session and improve their body alignment. You will be able to build your body strength by lifting your own body weight using the hammock. Being able to practise yoga postures in the air helps Yogis to relax and remove compression from the spine. Check out the aerial yoga sessions at Boscombe’s Yoga Lounge.
Perfect those poses with IYENGAR yoga
Iyengar yoga is named after the founder B.K.S Iyengar who was considered one of the leading yoga teachers in the world. This type of yoga helps Yogis achieve proper alignment of the body in each practised pose, which enables students to reap maximum flexibility benefits as well as body strength. Very often, blocks and belts are used during the class to help those with less flexibility and strength achieve their full potential whilst keeping their body aligned. You can find Iyengar Yoga classes at the Yoga Lounge in Boscombe, The Village Hotel and Leisure Club and The Littledown Leisure Centre. If you’re in Poole there are Iyengar Yoga classes at Virgin Active and at Fitness First.
Pregnancy and postnatal yoga
Keeping fit when pregnant is important and many women are turning to yoga as it helps them get through their pregnancy with minimal discomfort and it also plays an important part during birth and post-delivery stages.
Practising yoga helps the body become more flexible and stretches the ligaments, which helps reduce pain during labour. Being flexible also helps pregnant women adapt to different positions when they are in labour and stretching helps reduce aches and pains. Practising different types of yoga postures help improve body alignment and overall posture, which in turn helps reduce back pain during pregnancy. Yoga helps to boost circulation and reduce fluid retention and the breathing techniques help women prepare for birth.
Rosa Davies Labour of Love
Labour of Love is a dedicated business helping women practise yoga during labour and beyond. Practitioner Rosa Davies runs a variety of classes for expectant women in Christchurch and Ringwood including pregnancy yoga, breathing and active birthing.
Katy Wise Free Spirit Holistic Therapies
Free Spirit Holistic Therapies runs a range of classes and therapies including yoga classes for pregnancy. Practitioner Katy Wise delivers pregnancy yoga, birth rehearsal workshops and post-natal yoga therapies
Postnatal Mother and Baby
Women can start practising yoga again six weeks after giving birth to help get back to pre-pregnancy shape faster and help strengthen their abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Modifications to the yoga poses should continue for another four to six months, as muscles and ligaments have not yet returned to normal and it is advisable to go slowly. Women are able to take their babies to Postnatal yoga classes, where they can either practise yoga with their baby in their arms or with their baby close to them.
Postnatal yoga classes are available at the Littledown Centre and the Village Hotel and Leisure Club, both in Bournemouth. Labour of Love and Free Spirit Holistic Therapies also offers yoga sessions for new mums and their babies in the town. If you live in Poole, why not check out Babyfit UK with qualified practitioner and former midwife Debbie Howells, who runs sessions at BMI Harbour Hospital plus venues in Bournemouth.
Up for a laugh? Try “Laughter Yoga”
If you ever walked past a Laughter Yoga studio and saw everyone laughing uncontrollably, you’d be forgiven for thinking class is a little bonkers! However, this type of yoga has got a real purpose and offers great benefits too. What a way to brighten up your day! Laughing has the ability to change your mood instantly; this is because laughter releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These endorphins interact with receptors in your brain to help you feel focused, more productive, with a sense of euphoria and bliss, feel less pain and overall be in a better mood.
Laughter yoga is considered an aerobic exercise and is combined with deep breathing. People leave the class feeling less stressed, relaxed and happy! Caroline Carr, a life coach, hypnotherapist and instructor from Letting the Sun Shine In offers laughter yoga sessions in Parkstone. If you’re based in Bournemouth, get in touch with Anetta Panczel, who runs laughter yoga sessions on a weekly basis in the Springbourne area of town.
Silent yoga is practised in large groups together with an instructor and it’s not as silent as you might think. This latest type of yoga is equipped with wireless headphones, where relaxing and soothing music is pumped through the yogis’ ears whilst listening to the instructor’s voice providing yoga guidance through every posture. The headphones provide yogis more of a personal experience without outside noise, interruptions and distractions.
Various Silent yoga sessions are organised by Silent Yoga UK and are held on Bournemouth Beach, Bournemouth Gardens and surrounding areas. For upcoming silent yoga sessions and how to book your place, please visit Silent Yoga UK’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/silentyogauk/ or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yoga for everyone
Whichever type of yoga piques your interest, it’s evident from the variety of practices and settings these classes are held that yoga has become a mainstream and popular form of exercise. Whether your focus is on rejuvenation and rediscovering a long-lost sense of calm or you want targeted, benefits-led exercise without over-exertion, yoga classes will provide the immediate gratification of a gentle or rigorous workout with a consistent sense of calm and wellbeing that would typically be more likely found in a quiet space than an exercise studio. Whether Hatha is enough for now or you’d rather launch straight into something more adventurous like aerial yoga, we recommend you give yoga a try – pick any of the classes featured on this page and sign up today.