If you’re considering taking up yoga you may feel overwhelmed. There are many styles of yoga. Understanding them all and knowing which one is right for you can be complicated. Instead of trying several different styles of yoga, use this guide to help you make a choice.
Most yoga styles are Hatha based. In fact there are more than 90 different types of Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is based on poses or asanas, cleansing techniques and breathing. If you’re looking at a yoga class or practice chances are it is a form of Hatha yoga. Ha and tha mean sun and moon. It’s a forceful type of yoga that can be physically demanding. However, when most people talk about yoga they’re referring to Hatha yoga. It’s the most popular type of yoga.
Ashtanga is a type of Hatha yoga. It is physically demanding. You’ll move quickly through series of postures. This type of yoga is designed to build strength, flexibilyt and endurance. If you’re a beginner only take an Ashtanga yoga class if they offer beginner instruction classes. Consider starting with a basic Hatha yoga class to learn the postures and breathing first.
Kundalini yoga is more focused on the breath and release of energy than other forms of yoga. In a Kundalini class you’ll likely see the same classic poses you’d find in a Hatha yoga class. However, you’ll spend more time focusing on breathing and coordinating your breathing to your movements. You’ll also likely spend a bit more time on meditation than in a standard Hatha yoga class.
Power Yoga or Power Vinyasa
Power yoga is often also Hot Yoga meaning it takes place in a heated room. Most rooms are gnerally around a 100 degrees. The goal is to eliminate toxins from your body through sweat. Power yoga is more active and physically demanding than other yoga styles. Generally the goal is to improve strength and flexibility however you’ll move through the poses quite quickly.
Take a beginners course if you’re not familiar with standard yoga poses. In a power yoga class you certainly won’t have time to figure out what the instructor is doing before they move onto the next pose. It is important to be somewhat knowledgeable so you get the most out of the class.
Also, if the course is taught in a hot room make sure it’s safe for you. If you have high blood pressure or other conditions spending ninety minutes in a 100 degree room while exercising may not be good for your health.
Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury. It is a structures series of 26 asanas or poses and the classes are always in a hot room. This type of yoga isn’t for everyone. Make sure you bring a lot of water and are healthy enough to take this type of class.
Ivengar yoga may be the second most popular type of yoga, second to power yoga. Most of the poses in Ivengar yoga are active poses. You’ll be on your feet. You’ll also use props like blocks and belts to help you adjust the pose to your fitness level and experience. It’s popular because it is welcoming to most all health levels and fitness levels. And instructors are rigorously taught before they receive certification. You know an Ivengar yoga teacher is on top of things! Precise alignment and attention to detail are part of an Ivengar practice.
Vinyasa / Vinyasa Flow
Vinyasa yoga offers more flow between poses than other forms of yoga however, it is still quite rigorous. You’re only supposed to take one breath per movement. So breathing and control are necessary. Yet most Vinyasa yoga classes are considered less traditional than other forms. You may experience a variety of poses, rather than repetition. You may also listen to music during your class instead of meditative silence.
Before starting any yoga class consider what you want to gain and focus on. Are you looking for a spiritual experience? Do you want it to be part of an intense fitness program? Are you looking for a more well-rounded experience? Most yoga studios offer beginner classes and a first class is free option. Take advantage of these. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And if you’re considering power yoga or hot yoga make sure your doctor gives you the okay.