Yoga Styles – so much choice….

yoga styles, yoga choices
So many choices – which yoga style works for you?
Choice is a great thing but, as you may have experienced when buying yoga pants or coffee, sometimes you can have waaaay too much choice!

Brand new students have so many yoga options that choosing can be overwhelming. As the popularity of yoga has grown so have the number of styles and schools of yoga.

Here are just a handful common to many studios…..

Hatha Yoga is the term, if you like, for the physical aspect of yoga, i.e. the poses or asanas.  Any yoga class with physical poses is a hatha yoga class.  Broadly speaking a class described as hatha yoga will be a gentler, slower paced class suitable for beginners.  However, sometimes a hatha yoga class will be described as having different levels so it’s worth a call to the studio to check.  what makes it unique?  It is taught by instructors from different backgrounds and schools of study so every teacher will have a different style and interpretation.

Vinyasa loosely translates as ‘flow’.  Flow or vinyasa yoga is a faster moving and warming sequence that transitions quickly through mixed sequences of poses.  what makes it unique?  It is a more challenging yoga class that is unique to individual instructors as poses are linked and presented in creative ways.

Ashtanga  A very popular style of yoga bought to the West by a yoga pioneer from India called Patthabi Jois.  It is an athletic form of yoga that is fast moving and flowing (vinyasa – see above) and a popular choice for those who enjoy a challenging yoga class.  what makes it unique?  It is a set sequence of poses which are always practiced in the same order, every time.

Brand new yoga students have so many options to choose from which can be totally overwhelming.

Iyengar yoga is another of the very popular schools of yoga brought to the West by yoga master, BKS Iyengar.  It is often credited as the style of yoga that influences many of today’s styles of yoga.  It is a slower paced class where poses are held for longer and lots of props (blankets, yoga blocks & yoga straps) are used for support.  Even though it is slower paced it can still be challenging.  what makes it unique?  Focused attention to alignment in the poses with lots of verbal instruction and adjustment.  Iyengar classes always use yoga props.  

Hot Yoga  This style of yoga has gained popularity in recent years.  One of the original hot yoga schools is Bikram yoga.  what makes it unique?  Pre heated rooms to start with creating very hot & sweaty environments.  Quite often, a fixed sequence of poses are practiced depending on the school of yoga.

Restorative Yoga  is becoming more and more popular in studios, restorative yoga is a much more quiet style of yoga that incorporates lots of props (blankets, bolsters & blocks) to support the body in active relaxation.  Poses are set up on the floor with the body fully supported to ensure complete release.  what makes it unique?  Total relaxation and surrender of the body without any physical effort as the body is supported to the individuals need with blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks.

As the popularity of yoga has grown so have the number of styles and schools of yoga.

Therapeutic Yoga  is building in popularity as we have all become more aware of our own health and interested in our own self care. what makes it unique?  Taught by very experienced instructors with in depth yoga therapy training it focuses more attention on specific issues such as injuries or physical conditions.

Yin Yoga  poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility whilst quietening the mind with longer pose holds.  what makes it unique? Similar to restorative yoga in that the poses are held for long periods but the intention is less relaxation and more of opening the body.

Ultimately, Yoga is a practice that is unique to you so choose the class that appeals and enjoy!


7 Top Tips for a Happy First Yoga Class

yoga newbie, new to yoga, first yoga class, starting yoga
7 Top Tips for a Happy First Yoga Class

Joining a first yoga class as a new student can be a daunting experience but with a little advance preparation it can be the start of a life changing journey

I love yoga and would recommend anyone to give it a try but I also understand that, for some, the first visit to a class can be intimidating.

I’ve attended many classes, both as a student and as an instructor, where I’ve observed new students’ first class nerves.  Initially, attending a class can be daunting but as the unfamiliar becomes familiar and the student becomes more comfortable in the studio surroundings then yoga begins to work its magic.

How to prepare for your first yoga class

Here are 7 top tips to ease you into a class and ensure a happy first yoga class experience!

  1. word of mouth  If you can get a recommendation of a teacher/studio from a like minded friend this is an excellent place to start.  You have a ready made connection to the instructor and studio.
  2. arrive early  There will be a little bit of paperwork to complete before your first yoga class.  A few extra minutes will also give you the chance to familiarize yourself – well, find the restroom and water fountain location, at least!
  3. choose beginner  Not because I’m saying you’re no good at yoga before you’ve even started!  A beginners class is always a good place to start (or level 1/intro class/new to yoga or however else a studio describes it).   No matter how athletic, fit or flexible you may be,  a beginners class will give you a better understanding of the poses and important alignment points at an easier to follow pace.
  4. chat to the instructor  If at all possible, grab a moment to introduce yourself and chat about any concerns.  Most instructors will approach you if but sometimes, with instructors arriving close to class start and large student numbers in popular classes, there is not always an opportunity.
  5. keep an open mind  Different instructors teach yoga in different styles.  One instructor might teach a slower class with lots of quiet, meditative time.  Another teacher’s class might be faster paced with lots of repetition of poses and background music.  Try to be open minded and if your first class isn’t the one for you give someone else a go.  Your first yoga class will help you gauge the kind of class that’s right for you.
  6. dress comfortably  Wear the clothes that feel comfortable for you.   Remember that some of the poses involve bending forward and twisting.  If those low rise pants ride down when you fold forward don’t wear them.  Or that top is sooo low neck that you’re constantly adjusting it just don’t go there.  Think ease of movement and personal comfort.  A t-shirt and stretchy leggings work just as well as the latest body forming fashion outfit
  7. sense of humor & a smile  Arm yourself with a sense of humor and anything is possible 🙂





Popularity of Yoga

yoga popularity, how many people practice yoga, yoga numbers, yoga popularity
The Ever Rising Popularity of Yoga

I Googled ‘benefits of yoga’ the other day and it came up with over 41 million results.  Yikes! But just for the sake of balance, I also googled ‘negatives of yoga’.  Up popped a few hundred thousand results.  Hardly scientific, I know, but it did strike me that there are a lot of people interested in yoga and and adding to the ever rising popularity of yoga.

A recent research report called ‘2016 Yoga in America’ conducted by Yoga Journal (a popular yoga magazine) and the Yoga Alliance (a kind of umbrella administrative organisation for yoga) found that approximately 37million Americans are practicing yoga today in 2016.  37 million!

This is a phenomenal number and, get this, even more amazing – apparently this is an increase from 20 million in 2012.  An additional 17 million yogis in the space of only four years.

yoga truly is a practice for everyone and is not just the domain of the young, fit and strong

Clearly, yoga is becoming more and more popular year on year and we, as a nation, are more informed about the benefits of the practice.  According to findings in the same report almost a third of those practicing yoga are over 55 proving that yoga truly is a practice for everyone and is not just the domain of the young, fit and strong – the common misconception and stereotypical image we are fed through the media.

Yoga Appeals to Everyone

Yoga attracts a very broad demographic.  All ages from kids through to seniors with more and more guys picking up the mat too.

As yoga’s popularity grows, so do the opportunities for us to study yoga whether it is through a class, online video, phone app, DVD, book or magazine.  Never has there been this much choice to study yoga and long may it continue.

If you want to learn more about the report’s findings go take a peak at the Yoga Alliance website on  It makes for interesting reading.


Why do a 200hour Yoga Teacher Training?

yoga teacher training, yoga teacher training, 200hour yoga teacher training
Why do a 200hour Yoga Teacher Training

Why do a 200hour yoga teacher training?

Yoga Teacher Training is a rapidly growing part of the yoga industry.  According to research by the Yoga Alliance there are two people in training to be a yoga teacher for every active teacher out there.  That’s a whole lot of interest but why would you do a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training?


Pick up any Yoga related magazine or attend a yoga studio and there is a very good chance that they will be promoting an upcoming yoga teacher training.

So why would you choose to do a 200hour yoga teacher training?

Contrary to the term ‘teacher training’, many students choose to enroll on a program not so much to be the teacher but more as a form of personal development.

“One of the common goals for embarking upon teacher training is the often cited desire to deepen one’s own practice”, says Felicia Tomasko, Editor of LA Yoga magazine

For some students the benefit of a training is the opportunity to study in depth, with a group of like minded people, the vast topic of yoga.  For others, it is a genuine desire to study & practice with a view to sharing their knowledge in a teaching capacity.  (A minimum 200hr certification is required, in most cases, if you’d like to teach)

Contrary to the term ‘teacher training’, many students choose to enroll on a program not so much to be the teacher but more as a form of personal development.

Katie Marshall graduated from a 200 hour teacher training in July 2016.  Originally her aspiration was to work in physical therapy but having been a regular yoga practitioner for five years she decided to pursue yoga teacher training.

Katie took her time to find the right training, waiting for the one that combined the three most important elements for her – course credibility, the teacher trainer and the cost.

Her main advice when choosing a training is to “find a teacher who inspires you and resonates with the way you view yoga”.  Katie found that teacher in Jessica Seabern of Yogaworks.

Timing for study is also important when choosing a program.  A teacher training will absorb a great deal of your time which is another aspect to consider when you have work, family and other life commitments.

“Trainings have a way of breaking you wide open and filling you with love and light”  Katie Marshall  200hr Yoga Graduate 

Once you’ve embarked upon a training that ticks all of the boxes for you, another of the great benefits you’ll discover is the community you become part of.  You’ll be spending many an hour with your fellow trainees on a journey where you’ll be both inspired and empowered but will also share challenging and vulnerable moments.

It can be life changing and life enhancing, as Katie found. “I learned how to create space and remind myself to breathe through challenging times, which translates off of the mat and into everyday life”.

So, whether you are looking to make teaching yoga your career or you just want to deepen your knowledge and understanding, a 200hr program is well worth considering.

As we approach a New Year, it is a time for new beginnings as we ponder our resolutions for 2017.  Regardless of where you want your yoga study to take you, a teacher training can offer you an uplifting and positive personal experience and, as Katie discovered, “trainings have a way of breaking you wide open and filling you with love and light”.

You can contact Katie by email:

Facebook: @katiemarshallyoga

Dec/Jan issue of LA Yoga out now (Dec 2016)



Mindfulness – The New Science of Health & Happiness. Time Special Edition

Mindfulness published by Time Magazine
Mindfulness – The New Science of Health and Happiness published by Time Magazine
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. This Time special edition magazine is a collection of articles on the subject

Mindfulness, defined as ‘focusing one’s full attention only on the present’ has become a much talked about topic of late.  I’ve heard it mentioned in classes and noticed a growing number of books, magazines and web articles discussing the topic.

Of course, having a bunch of information is useful but when there are so many sources it can also be overwhelming.

The nice thing about this magazine format is that it skims off the cream of the crop in terms of content pulling a great range of articles together into one place.

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness without committing to in depth research it’s well worth a look.

The magazine is broken up into three topic sections.

  • Part One: Outsmart Stress.  Including stress management, sleep habits and digital stresses
  • Part Two: Find your Center.  Meditation, gratitude and finding purpose.
  • Part Three: Eat, Play, Thrive.  Yoga, diet and doing things you enjoy.

A little on the expensive side as, at $13.99, it is the price of a book but, nevertheless, packed full of easy to read content.  If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness without committing to in depth research it’s well worth a look.

Mindfulness – The New Science of Health and Happiness.  Time Special Edition can be found at some supermarkets (I found my copy in Sprouts) as well as bookstores and online.