The yoga community in Barcelona is currently thriving with activity. While different classes and styles will vary considerably in terms of the amount of sweating versus relaxing involved, you you can be sure to reap wide reaching benefits for both the body and mind. Some classes place far more emphasis on body work, while others adopt a more spiritual approach. Many offer a combination of styles. But with such a vast range of styles and classes on offer, it can make choosing seem like a minefield operation. Here i’ll try and break down the jargon and help you decide what style is right for you and where to practice.
Hatha is traditionally a gentle and easy-to-learn form of yoga that is the foundation of most modern yoga styles. Classes usually incorporate basic postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation. There are many strands of Hatha, combining with other styles of yoga, for instance Lyengar, Vinyasa. So while some are more relaxing, others are more dynamic and challenging.
Rishikesh (Sivananda): This is perfect if you are looking for a gentler, calmer Hatha practice, with its emphasis on basic postures along with breathing, concentration and relaxtion techniques.
Iyengar Yoga: This form of Hatha yoga, developed over 60 years ago, seeks meticulously to achieve perfect body alignment in the poses. The poses are therefore generally held longer than in other styles of yoga and promote strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance. Props like harnesses, blocks and chairs are used heavily. Lyengar yoga is great both for more experienced yogis looking to perfect their practice and for beginners to learn the basic postures.
Vinyasa: Sometimes called ‘Flow Yoga’, Vinyasa classes are typically intensive, consisting of fluid movement from pose to pose, coordinated with the breath. Movement is the key word here, and you can expect to sweat!
Where to practice Hatha styles
Yoga Studio Barcelona offers classes in all the above mentioned Hatha styles. See the website for more details.
Yogaroom Barcelona also offers classes in the Hatha Vinyasa style, as well as some other styles.
Ashtanga yoga is a complete system of yoga, consisting of six series of poses. Practitioners start with the Primary Series and gradually work up to the Advanced series at their own pace. Every series involves fluid movement from posture to posture, carefully synchronised with the breath. Ashtanga is typically a fast paced and physically demanding style, which is said to improve circulation, flexibility and stamina. Beginners are recommended to look for a class which offers a slower pace or beginners course in order to get an understanding of the basics.
Ashtanga Yoga Shala Barcelona is a good place to get more information and find classes. Barcelona Ashtanga also offer classes in English.
For a more physically demanding practice…
Bikram: If there’s any yoga class that’s going to make you sweat, it’s this one! That’s because a Bikram class involves 90 minutes doing a 26 pose sequence in a 40ºC (and 40% humidity)room. The high temperature is said to help move more deeply into the stretches, build muscular strength, stamina and can help with weight loss. And not to mention all those toxins being flushed out! Bikram Yoga Barcelona have a studio in Pau Claris and in Sarria. See the website for more details about classes.
Hot Yoga: Like Bikram, classes are held in studios heated to 40ºC, however the style tends to be a flowing vinyasa style of yoga. At Yogalinda, the Hot Yoga classes combine traditional hatha yoga and vinyasa flow. The series begins with breath awareness followed by a standing series of postures. These 75 minute classes are suitable for all levels of ability from beginner to advanced. Small groups also allow for a lot of individual attention.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of yoga styles and classes on offer in Barcelona. But it will hopefully help you sifle through all the information and options that are out there!