With yoga being all the rage these days, it’s hard – whether you are a beginner or have been doing it for years – to figure out which ones work for you and which ones just don’t.
Life would be easier if there were only one type of yoga but since it dates back thousands of years you can see how many different styles and techniques have developed over time. No matter what the type, yoga has been proven to tone your body, refresh your mind, lower your stress level and help you find a bit of peace during your crazy days.
Focused mostly on breathing and meditation, Hatha yoga is great for beginners because it is an introduction to the most basic yoga postures and terminology while getting comfortable with the mat. It’s one of those no-judgement classes for those wanting to try it just to see if they like it. Hatha is slow-paced, gentle and will quickly put anyone’s mind at ease. This yoga style is great for helping people relax after work.
Otherwise known as “vinyasa flow”, these classes are slow yet keep up a steady motion of movement. Vinyasa yoga teachers make it a point for the moves to flow smoothly from one to the next. No two classes are ever the same because they are each choreographed with different moves and sequences – depending on several factors including experience level. If you get bored easily and do not like a set routine, Vinyasa yoga would work for you.
Ashtanga Yoga is a more rigorous form of yoga with a specific sequence of postures. Each class performs the same exact postures in the same exact order. It is fast-paced, intense and known to be good for ex-athletes who are not competing anymore but still want to be pushed to their limits. Even lunges and push-ups are incorporated in every Ashtanga yoga class.
This type of yoga focuses on body alignment. Other than your average yoga mat, Iyengar yoga classes integrate other props such as straps, blankets, blocks, chairs and even cushions. This class is great for someone trying to overcome an injury or pain since there is so much focus on body alignment and balance. It almost acts as a type of physical therapy. This isn’t the class for you if you are trying to get your heart rate up. It is more of a mental work out to keep yourself from falling over.
Not the same as “hot yoga” as most people think. Bikram yoga consists of the same 26 poses done in the same order for 90 minutes. These yoga studios are heated up to 105°F and 40% humidity, there is no music, or talking to anyone else to distract yourself. It is a very intense type of yoga that requires a lot of concentration and patience and yoga that gets your heart pumping. Although it is very tough, it is very popular and (most likely) very easy to find wherever you live. If you’re looking to sweat, sweat, sweat and really challenge yourself this is the type to try.
The far less intense version of Bikram yoga. Hot yoga can be comprised of different poses at different times depending on the yoga studio and instructor. The room is generally anywhere from 80-100°F and music and talking are allowed. This does not take away from the fact that you will still walk out completely drenched in sweat and feeling totally cleansed.
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This is a great class to take if you are looking to de-stress after a long day. Just like Hatha, Restorative yoga is focused on breathing and relaxation. It incorporates props like blocks and bolsters so that the body can experience the poses without having to put in any extra effort. Some say a good Restorative class is better than a nap. Again, this is not the class for you if you are trying to break a sweat. This is a completely relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Known as the “yoga of awareness”, Kundalini yoga releases energy located in your spine while opening your heart and building strength. It is one of the oldest forms of yoga and was only practiced in the Eastern Hemisphere until recently. It is super spiritual and will focus a lot on breath and movement. Since Kundalini means “coil” and the coil is represented by a metaphorical snake, the purpose of the practice is to uncoil the snake located in your spine. Good for beginners but expect to chant, meditate, jump and dance.