Calling all aspiring yogis!!!! Come one, come all.
There are so many different styles of yoga that it can be intimidating for someone unfamiliar with yoga to figure out where to start. Most beginners want to get a good workout and experience some success in being able to complete the class. Many are concerned about accidentally signing up for an advanced class and being unable to perform the various moves.
But yoga has something to offer everyone! With yoga being such a great way to balance out your mind, body, and spirit, there is going to be a type of yoga that will work for you. There are classes geared toward those that have been spending too much time on the couch binging on Netflix and other classes for those that just competed on the Olympic gymnastics team.
The following descriptions will help you in choosing a Yoga style that meets your needs:
Hatha yoga combines body postures, meditation, and breathing. This is great for beginners, as it tends to be slower paced and focuses on the basics. Nearly all other modern styles of yoga were developed from Hatha.
- I always seem to finish a hatha yoga practice feeling more stretched out, less tense, and more relaxed throughout the rest of my day. I was also trained in hatha yoga, so I may be a bit partial to this 🙂
Bikram yoga is great if you like to be hot! Bikram is performed in a room at 105 degrees and 40% humidity. There are 2 breathing exercises and 26 poses that are performed every class. The heat can help with flexibility, and the sweat is said to help flush toxins from the body.
- This yoga style is suitable for beginners, but if you’re pregnant or have heart problems, you should consult your doctor first.
- I personally would not start with this type of yoga as a beginner unless you are super flexible and a quick learner.
Iyengar is less commonly known. This style is similar to Hatha, but relies on numerous props, such as chairs and blocks to get into the ideal yoga positions.
- The class is suitable for beginners and advanced students alike.
- Since this type of yoga is often not as popular in the US, do a quick google search of studios in your town that offer it. It’s often fun to try out a few different types of yoga to see which suits you best anyhow!
Yin yoga relies heavily on meditation. The postures really focus on the connective tissues. The postures are very passive, and they need to be. The postures can be held for up to 20 minutes (though in my experience in these classes, poses are often held for a much shorter length of time).
- If you’re looking to increase your flexibility and quiet your mind, Yin yoga is the place to be.
Vinyasa is quite popular in the US. There is a lot of movement, and this style of yoga is often called “flow yoga.” Many like this type of yoga because they feel like they are getting a workout while also focusing on stretching and lengthening their muscles. There is an emphasis on flowing smoothly from position to position. Your breathing is synchronized with the movements.
Acro yoga consists of very athletic poses that require great strength and balance. Many of the poses require a partner, often balanced on top of the other. This style of yoga requires great athleticism.
- Put this class on the shelf for another day unless you’re very athletic or love a good challenge 🙂
Aerial yoga is great for those who love trying a creative spin on things. Aerial yoga is good for those who like hatha yoga but want to take it up a notch, and burn double the calories. In these classes, yogis use a cloth hammock as a swing to lift all or part of their bodies off the floor.
- This class is great for all, but especially those that are in shape and athletic.
Ashtanga is also similar to Vinyasa. This variation of yoga was created by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century and is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. There are six series of poses that are performed rapidly. The synchronization of the breath is emphasized. This was another form of yoga I was trained in. Once you learn the series, you can enjoy and get lost in the movement, but until then try to keep up because it is fast-moving.
- Due to the pace, I would not recommend this practice to beginners. I also jokingly say ashtanga yoga is for pretzel yogis. I am not flexible as a pretzel, though, so some poses are difficult for me. There is beauty to showing up and continuing to practice each pose and getting to see your progress in flexibility, though!
Restorative yoga is for those looking to relax. It helps provide physical and mental balance to prevent stress and anxiety, through the use of props that allow yogis to hold poses longer, giving them all the benefits of deep, passive stretching.
- When I first went to a restorative yoga class long ago, I got bored pretty quickly, wanting movement, action, and deep stretching. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I came to fully appreciate the beauty of restorative yoga. I now leave these classes feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Yoga can be a great way to give your mind, body, and spirit a good workout. It’s important to start slowly to experience success. Being successful will help to ensure that you want to go back again and again. No matter which type of yoga you try, you are sure to reap the benefits of this great form of total body exercise.
Which type of yoga that you have tried do you like the best? Comment below. Others benefit from hearing others’ experiences.
Check out my other blogs about the benefits of a yoga practice!