Which Style Of Yoga Is Best For Me?
Find the perfect style for you or try them all!
TYPES OF YOGA EXPLAINED
Think of Hatha yoga as a generic term for a physical yoga practice. Almost all yoga you will find in the west is technically hatha yoga. However, there are other branches of yoga such as kriya, raja, and karma yoga that are separate from the physical-based yoga practice. The physical-based yoga is the most popular and has numerous styles. If a class on your studio schedule is called hatha yoga, you can expect a classic yoga class that will have a moderate pace. The focus is on controlling the breath and holding poses for a relatively short amount of time. The pace is slow enough for teachers to explain poses (alignment & benefits) and to correct students, which is perfect for beginners. Expect to leave a hatha class calmer, energized and with better body awareness.
PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS
Kundalini yoga is equal parts spiritual and physical practices; expect chanting, meditation, movement and dynamic breathing. The fluid and uplifting practice is meant to release the kundalini (serpent-like) energy trapped, or coiled, at the base of the spine like a sleeping snake. Kundalini classes really work your core and breathing with fast-moving, invigorating postures and breath exercises. Exercices are often very root chakra focused and bring greater mind and body awareness. Kundalini classes are invigorating and provide a deeper spiritual experience than most other yoga classes, which can kick-start a process of transformation.
In Sanskrit, Vinyasa means "to place in a special way". In a vinyasa class, postures are synced together with the breath. Unlike ashtanga, the sequence is always different, but always starts with sun salutations. Transitions betweens poses are smooth and it can feel like a dance. Because of the fast pace of classes, there is usually less focus on alignment which could lead beginners to injuries. Vinyasa yoga is often considered the most athletic yoga style. This practice is best for intermediate to advanced yogis, as teachers expect students to know the basic alignments. A vinyasa class is physical and will test the body's limits while calming the mind. Many types of yoga can also be considered vinyasa flows.
Restorative yoga is a soothing and calming practice that is meant to rejuvenate and restore an unhealthy, stressed or injured body/mind to a healthy relaxed one. Most likely, the studio's lights will be dimmed and some calming music will be played. The pace is very slow and each pose is held from 2 to 20 minutes each. Poses are passive and the use of props help to hold poses with little to no effort. If you have an injury or back problems and need a skilled teacher to restore your body to normal, this is the class for you. Restorative yoga also helps to cleanse and free your mind.
PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS
Yin yoga is similar to restorative yoga in the way that both styles are slow-paced and calming. But while restorative yoga is meant to restore the body back to normal, yin classes will compensate for a busy, active lifestyle (yang) with a quiet and meditative seated practice (yin). Yang yoga classes will focus on strengthening muscles, but yin classes will work close to the bone, in deep tissue, like your fascia, joints and connective tissues. Props help you stay in the passive poses longer, which will challenge you to stay in an uncomfortable position for a few minutes. It will teach you how to feel your body and work with emotions that arise. Yin classes teach self-awareness, improve flexibility, lubricate joints and overall deepen your practice.Yin is a meditative yoga practice that helps you find inner peace.
PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS
Jivamukti was founded in 1984. Jivamukti is mainly vinyasa-flow-style classes infused with Hindu spiritual teachings. A series of chants usually open at the beginning of class followed by a series of poses that align with the five tenets of Jivamukti yoga and philosophy. At its core, this style emphasizes connection to Earth as a living being, so most Jivamukti devotees follow their vegetarian philosophy.
The term Ashtanga means "the 8 limbs of yoga" in Sanskrit. These limbs include meditation, some yogic philosophies and asanas (postures). A class of ashtanga has a determined sequence of poses which is performed in the same order. In an ashtanga class, there is no rest between poses and the pace is fast, as poses are synced with breath. It is a strict, rigorous and physical practice that builds heat in the body. Ashtanga yoga will test physical limits and teaches determination, patience and non-attachment. Ashtanga starts with five sun salutation A's and five sun salutation B's and then moves into a series of standing and floor postures.
Bikram Choudhury founded this school of yoga about 30 years ago. Classes are held in a heated room (92-105°F with 40% humidity) while you go through the same series of 26 poses, performed twice. You will sweat profusely, so make sure to be well hydrated before and after. The classes are physically demanding, but they improve circulation and release toxins from the body. The sequence includes a series of 26 basic postures, with each one performed twice. Many of these poses are focused on proper alignment.Don't confuse hot yoga with Bikram. Hot yoga is similar because it is taught in a heated room, but it doesn't go through the exact same trademarked series of 26 poses. Hot yoga is very popular and you can find any style of yoga held in a heated room.
Iyengar yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. It is a very meticulous and detail oriented style of yoga. The focus is on finding the perfect alignment with detailed and precise movements while controlling the breath. Iyengar classes can include props to reach that proper alignment: blocks, chairs, straps, bolsters, blankets, etc. You can expect to spend a lot of time listening to the teacher and working on the same pose which won't make you jump and sweat, but is very challenging mentally and physically. Because teachers must go through a very intensive and comprehensive training, these classes are the most suited for people with injuries, back problems and illnesses.
Prenatal yoga is carefully tailored to women in all trimesters. Many have said that prenatal yoga is one of the best types of exercise for expectant moms because of the pelvic floor work, focus on breathing, and bonding with the growing baby; prenatal yoga also helps mothers prepare for labor and delivery.During this practice, you'll use props in order to modify your poses and ensure stability—in this class, it's way more about stability than flexibility.
Ashtanga Inspired Yoga will teach the fundamentals of Ashtanga Yoga including sun salutations, standing poses, balancing postures, seated and twisting poses, backbends, and core isolation. The Primary and Secondary series will be broken down in a way that is approachable for many fitness levels, as well as providing modifications appropriate for each individual. Special emphasis will be placed on moving in and out of postures safely. Practitioners will learn the foundation of the Ashtanga Yoga system: ujjayi (victorious) breath, energy locks (bandhas), and yogic gaze (drishti). These 3 principles are known as the “tristana” method and allows our practice to become a meditation in motion.
Ashtanga's intensity invokes positive life transformations off the mat, helping you live fully, with a deep sense of Self in your daily life. Come experience a gentle, bio-mechanically sound yoga practice in the Ashtanga tradition. This class is for everyone, from beginners to advanced practitioners.Ω
Raja yoga is one of the four classical schools of yoga alongside Jnana (knowledge or self-study), Bhakti (devotion) and Karma (action), each offering a path to moksha (spiritual liberation) and self-realization.In Sanskrit, raja means ‘king" or ‘royal," referring to the status of Raja yoga as a "royal path"’ or principal form of yoga. Traditionally, Raja yoga refers to both the goal of yoga and the method of attaining it. As such, it is also considered to be the state of peace and contentment that arises from sustained yoga and meditation practice.In essence, Raja yoga is the yoga of mind and body control, with a focus on meditation and energetics. It encompasses teachings from all the different paths, and it is from Raja yoga that hatha yoga and modern asana practice developed.Since Raja yoga involves all three dimensions of human existence (physical, mental and spiritual), it enables practitioners to achieve balance and harmony on all of these levels.