To outsiders, yoga is just yoga. It’s not until you join the yoga club that you realise that, just like yoga pants, there’s a whole world of styles out there to choose from! When trying to decipher which style of yoga is right for you, the speed of the yoga flow is likely be a factor. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to opt for a fast or slow yoga flow:
What’s the difference between a fast and slow yoga flow?
A faster flowing yoga practice tends to be, what is referred to in the yoga world, as more “dynamic”. Which is basically spiritual code for “you won’t be able to walk tomorrow”. Only kidding, but it is true that faster flowing yoga styles, which include Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Power Yoga, are likely to involve more energetic sequencing. In comparison slower flows such as Yin yoga, Restorative yoga and more gentle Hatha yoga allow the body to stay much longer in one asana.
Is a fast flow or slow yoga flow better for my body?
Just like your mama will insist she really couldn’t possibly choose a favourite child, it’s not that one is better than the other, they’re just different.
A fast yoga flow:
1. Acts as more of a cardio workout, and burns up to 120 more calories per hour than a slow flow.
2. Releases mental tension and built up energy that you’ve been carrying around with you.
3. Helps you build strength as you significantly increase muscle activation through repetition of movements.
4. Can still mental chatter as the flowing movements create less time for thoughts to creep in.
A slow yoga flow:
1. Is great for improving flexibility and opening up the joints, as the longer you stay in a pose the more your muscles and connective tissues lengthen as they relax.
2. Improves muscle endurance (builds strength) by creating tension through muscle contractions, which can only be achieved in stillness.
3. Requires mental strength to push through uncomfortable asanas which are being held for longer.
4. Allows for a more precise focus on alignment within each asana
Just like everything in life, the sweet spot lies in balance. An ideal yoga routine would mix both yin and yang styles of practice, in order to reap the benefits of both. It’s always vital that you respect your body and its physical limitations, which can change on a daily basis. That means choosing an ideal yoga flow can also depend on fitness levels, age, personal preference and just how you are feeling on the day! Ultimately what matters most isn’t the pace of your yoga practice, it’s how well you are connecting with your body, your breath and yourself.