What's your yoga personality?

PHOTO: What's your yoga personality?

Want to take up yoga but confused about all the different styles out there? We have just the thing for you.

Take the quiz below to decode your personal yoga style:

Starting point >

Q1. I prefer a class that involves the use of aids like blankets, blocks, rokes, and straps.

Yes (Go to Q2). No (Go to Q3)

Q2. To me, yoga is about perfecting the poses.

Yes (Go to page 2). No (Go to page 3).

Q3. I feel cheated of a workout if I don't sweat buckets.

Yes (Go to Q4). No (Go to Q5).

Q4. I have no problem practising on my own with minimal instructions.

Yes (Go to page 4). No (Go to page 5).

Q5. I like a fast-paced class with a fluid rhythm.

Yes (Go to page 6). No (Go to page 7).

Iyengar

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Iyengar focuses on the proper alignment of the body, so expect a slower-paced session that lets you adjust and refine each asana (pose).

TRY IT IF… you want to get the basics right or have reached a plateau.

Props like blocks and straps help to ease the body into more difficult poses, working muscles you never knew you had.

AVOID IT IF… you can’t stay still.

Due to its emphasis on achieving the correct form, be prepared to hold a pose for up to 30 breaths, a long pause compared to those in more energetic yoga disciplines.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 5/5

If you’ve never been able to do a proper headstand or backbend, you will now. The ropes attached to the wall, a feature unique to Iyengar, help you slide into the deepest stretch of your life.

SWEAT FACTOR 2/5

The workout is of low to moderate intensity, thanks to the long intervals between each pose.

OM FACTOR 4/5

Sessions generally begin with a five-minute invocation (chanting is optional), although this varies according to the instructor or class duration.

WHERE TO GO

Iyengar Yoga Centre Singapore (146B Neil Road, tel: 6220-4048)

Restorative

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

A relaxing class that involves resting in simple poses for a few minutes. Bolsters and blankets may be used.

TRY IT IF… you feel burnt out from the daily grind or have trouble sleeping at night; this soothes frazzled nerves.

AVOID IT IF… shedding kilos is your aim.

Stretching at a snail’s pace won’t get your heart racing, so look elsewhere for your cardio fix.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 1/5

Most people – even the elderly and those with old injuries – will find the moves easy to execute.

SWEAT FACTOR 1/5

Poses are usually done either lying or seated on the mat.

OM FACTOR 2 / 5

Some classes may include guided meditation.

WHERE TO GO

Pure Yoga (Level 18, Ngee Ann City Tower A, tel: 6733- 8863)

Ashtanga

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

A fast-moving, cardio workout based on Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga is traditionally done Mysore style – where practitioners commit the poses to memory and execute them at their own pace. Beginners should start with a “led class”, where a guru guides them through the entire routine.

TRY IT IF… you’re looking to torch calories.

Your heart rate will remain elevated with the multiple jump-throughs and jump-backs.

AVOID IT IF… variety is your middle name.

The sequence of poses is fixed, so bolt in the other direction if you’re not keen on repeating the same routine.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 4/5

It consists of numerous forward bends, hamstring stretches and inversions to push your body – and flexibility – to the max.

SWEAT FACTOR 4/5

Ashtanga calls for the Ujjayi Breath (Ocean Breath), a breathing method that engages the diaphragm to increase oxygen flow and warm up the muscles quickly.

OM FACTOR 2/5

Classes typically begin and end with chants, but generally do not include meditation.

WHERE TO GO

Back On the Mat (#01-22 Blk 78 Yong Siak Street) For more information, visit www.backonthemat.com.sg.

Bikram

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Stretching in a sauna – that’s Bikram yoga (also known as Hot yoga) in a nutshell. The room is usually heated to 40 deg C, and the workout typically comprises 26 poses and two breathing exercises done in a fixed sequence.

TRY IT IF… detoxification is your goal.

The heat induces perspiration, your body’s natural method of dispelling toxins. You’re allowed to take as many water breaks as you need to stay hydrated.

AVOID IT IF… you have high blood pressure, heart disease, and a sensitivity to high heat.

Seek a doctor’s advice beforehand to be sure.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 4/5

Thanks to the high temperature, your body warms up more quickly, allowing you to ease into deeper stretches.

SWEAT FACTOR 5/5

Bring along a large towel to lay on the mat and a smaller one to mop perspiration off your face.

OM FACTOR 0/5

No chanting here: Bikram yoga focuses on boosting your fitness and flexibility.

WHERE TO GO

Pure Yoga (Level 18, Ngee Ann City Tower A, tel: 6733- 8863)

Vinyasa

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

A continuous, fast-paced workout that focuses on “flowing” from one pose to the next with each breath. Sequences aren’t fixed the way they are in Ashtanga yoga.

TRY IT IF… you can’t sit still.

It’ll appeal to sporty types who love an energetic routine that also gives a good stretch.

AVOID IT IF… you’re completely new to yoga.

With barely any intervals between each pose, beginners might have difficulty keeping up.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 3/5 Besides loosening tight hamstrings, you’re likely to ache the next day from the many push-ups and jump-throughs in the routine.

SWEAT FACTOR 3/5

It includes a mix of gentle stretches and vigorous moves – all done in one seamless motion.

OM FACTOR 2/5

Depending on the teachers, emphases on philosophy and chants may differ.

WHERE TO GO

True Yoga (Level 4, Pacific Plaza, tel: 6733-9555)

Hatha

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

This popular branch of yoga is where several other modern forms, including Ashtanga and Iyengar, are derived from.

TRY IT IF… you’re a newbie.

Beginners will learn basic poses such as the sun salutation, the inverted triangle, the warrior, the child and more.

AVOID IT IF… you like routine. The sequence varies from session to session, so you may not always get to practise your favourite asana.

RUBBER BAND FACTOR 3 / 5 Take an intermediate or advanced class if you find the poses too simple. Even basic ones like the downward dog can be modified for a challenge.

SWEAT FACTOR 3 /5 Though it is considered a slow form of yoga, you’ll still work up a sweat – especially at more advanced levels where poses require more effort and strength.

OM FACTOR 4 / 5

Expect the class to start and end with a chant. However, this practice may vary across centres, so call ahead to find out.

WHERE TO GO

Platinum Yoga (Level 5, Parkway Centre, tel: 6344-6164)

Get a copy of the March 2012 issue of SHAPE Singapore to read about the latest news in health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. SHAPE Singapore published by SPH Magazines is available at all newsstands now.

Bang Wei-Tin is a senior writer with SHAPE Singapore magazine by SPH Magazines.

Check out more stories at SHAPE Singapore online, www.shape.com.sg.

Purchase this article for republication.

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