Yin, Vinyasa and Kundalini: how to find the right yoga practice for your body and mind
New to the mat? Here’s our pick of three flows that will recharge and renew.
When we think about yoga, we might imagine downward dog, slow, meditative breathing or even the final resting pose of most yoga sessions, savasana. But in fact, yoga is just the umbrella term for a diverse and varied practice, which focuses on different mental, spiritual and physical benefits.
“The word yoga itself is derived from Sanskrit andit means to bind or to integrate, so yoga is the integration of your body, mind and spirit,” Sonja from Honestly Yoga explains. “It’s not solely about moving through poses and flexibility. The fundamental philosophy of yoga encourages being non-judgmental and finding compassion towards yourself and others."
While it is one thing to know it’s a great form of movement, it can still be challenging to know the form that's right for you, especially if you’re new to the mat. So, to help, we’re talking through three endota yoga favourites: yin, vinyasa and kundalini. Read on to learn more about their purpose, benefits and exactly what to expect.
Yin yoga involves seated postures that are held for a longer period of time (generally ranging from 30 seconds to 30 minutes). It is deeply meditative and restorative, and works to target connective tissues like fascia, ligaments, joints and bones. It is a gentle practice, but still stretches and lengthens the body, improving circulation, flexibility and mobility. It also allows for inward reflection and is a beautiful practice to reduce stress levels.
The biggest challenge with yin is finding stillness for an extended period of time, especially if the pose is uncomfortable. But we promise you, if you stick with it, you’ll reap the benefits.
The Sanskrit word vinyasa is said to mean, ‘to place in a special or sacred way’, in this case, via shapes and postures made by the body. This practice involves linking poses with breath, moving through a ‘flow’ that is both mentally and physically stimulating. While it is considered quite athletic, vinyasa can move at a slow or rapid pace depending on your preference. While the sequence of the practice is open to interpretation, most vinyasas will begin with setting an intention and finish with savasana, the final resting pose.
If you want to quiet your mind, build strength, improve flexibility and balance, vinyasa is for you.
Kundalini yoga has more of a spiritual element than other types, and involves a combination of breathing, movement and sound. It’s derived from the Sanskrit wordkundal, or ‘coiled energy,’and is focused on the idea that we all hold energy — good and bad — at the base of our spine. Through practice, the energy is able to move up the spine through the seven chakras, to be released through the crown of the head. Kundalini usually incorporates complex breathing rituals (like alternate nostril breathing) with poses, meditation and chanting — sometimes even singing.
Kundalini comes with numerous benefits including increased strength and mobility, improved digestion, plus feelings of peace, self-awareness and creativity.
Which one is right for me?
Yoga practice is extremely personal, and your ideal type really comes down to your spiritual, physical and emotional needs at any given time. Yin is deeply restorative and focuses on connective tissues, whereas vinyasa is physically challenging, so great if you want to break a bit of a sweat. Kundalini, on the other hand, is amazing for anyone looking for a physical workout with spiritual elements. While all can be adapted for different experience levels, a slow vinyasa flow or healing yin session are probably the best picks for beginners.
Because of their varied benefits, we offer all three practises at endota Retreat (including several free sessions), allowing you to pick and choose a workout depending on how you’re feeling.