The vast range of yoga styles out there may leave the yoga beginners confused as to which one is the right one to start with. On the other hand, you may have experience with a certain yoga style but are looking for something new but similar to try. The fact is that the world of yoga is extremely rich and there is a suitable type of everyone. You just need to find the perfect one for you.
Before starting with yoga, make sure that you have done your research and have chosen a style. In addition, prepare well in advance by selecting comfortable clothing that will provide the necessary range and flexibility for your body. Yoga leggings are an ideal choice if you want to remain comfortable and confident at all times.
Which type of yoga is best for me?
To make the choice of yoga easier, we have prepared a list of nine popular yoga styles along with their basic objectives. The list can help you understand what to expect from each and can save you some time and uncomfortable experiences in the future.
Here we go!
1. Hatha Yoga
It’s no surprise that Hatha yoga is the first one on our list. The word “Hatha” from Sanskrit includes all physical movements of yoga. Hatha yoga, in other words, includes all yoga types concerned with the body. If you are new to the world of yoga, you may be wondering what we mean by “physical” yoga types.
There are certain yoga practices, such as Raja, Karma, or Iyengar, which are not founded on physical yoga practice. They are rather states of mind and their purpose is to ultimately work inside the mind and soul of the individual.
Hatha yoga is a great choice for beginners thanks to its slow pace. Once you get into a pose from Hatha yoga, you will be advised to stay in the position for a few breaths and concentrate on your state of mind. You will also get the chance to work on your breathing and to develop the right postures. Relaxation is a must once Hatha practice is over so you will also get the fundamentals of relaxation techniques.
2. Vinyasa Yoga
The meaning behind the word vinyasa nicely sums up the purpose behind this yoga style – “to place in a special way”. This extremely athletic yoga style focuses on its diverse range of postures. It can be described as a variety of Ashtanga yoga, another strength-demanding practice.
If you visit a vinyasa yoga class you will notice that there is a lot of attention placed on the importance of synchronizing the breathing with the different poses. Vinyasa yoga is among the quick-paced styles available out there and is preferred by a more experienced yogi.
3. Ashtanga Yoga
You may have come across Ashtanga yoga as this is one of the popularized yoga types. Another name for Ashtanga Yoga is Power Yoga, which describes well its fundamental nature.
Ashtanga yoga is one of the most physically demanding yoga paths to take. It can also be referred to as the “eight limb path”. You will not see a lot of beginners in an Ashtanga yoga class as the majority of movements and poses require a high level of body preparation in advance. The style not only requires a lot of body strength but high levels of flexibility.
The typical Ashtanga class will include a number of surynamaskars in addition to floor postures. On standard, Ashtanga practice will go through six series of postures. If you have been intrigued by Ashtanga Yoga and want to walk down that road, remember to stay patient as it may take years before you truly get to grips with it.
4. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga is one of the more spiritual oriented practices. It creates a perfect balance between body and soul in its attempt to unlock the mysterious and hidden energy of the body. The kundalini energy is believed to be predominantly stored in the human spine. Certain yoga postures and poses help to activate the flow of kundalini and unlock its potential.
Great emphasis is put on meditation, inner concentration, and peace of mind. In order to reach the desired effect of the practice, one must perform fast-paced movements and maintain a clear focus at all times. This yoga style requires attention to the inner sensations of the body and is a perfect choice for those looking for something more than just flexibility from their yoga workout.
5. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is a hot experience, literally. This method’s main mission is to free the body of toxins by excessive sweating. Meanwhile, the flow of oxygenated blood to the body’s organs increases thanks to the vast range of postures.
Founded by Bikram Choudhury, a yoga guru, this yoga style is performed in a heated room. The desired room temperature for the practice is 41 degrees centigrade with humidity of 40 percent. The standard duration of a Bikram yoga session is 90 minutes, during which a total of 26 postures are completed. The session involves breathing exercises to help you keep focused and in control of your body.
It is essential to stay hydrated during the activity.
6. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is quite similar to Bikram yoga. Again, the objective is to make the body sweat and therefore release unnecessary and harmful toxins. Unlike Bikram yoga, Hot yoga does not have a limit of 26 postures. In fact, any type of yoga performed in a heated room can be classified as hot yoga.
Apart from releasing toxins from the body, the heat is also beneficial for loosening up the muscles and allowing your body to expand its flexibility. There are no official restrictions regarding the duration, number of poses, or practices when it comes to hot yoga. It’s all about the sweating and as long as it’s there – it is all good.
7. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is an amazing way to finish the day or welcome the morning. It helps your body release the stress, calm the mind, and soothe the soul. The main focus of restorative yoga is to relax the body through slow and enjoyable movements.
The pace is slow and you can indulge in a small range of postures without a hurry. If you have experience with other types of yoga you may notice that restorative yoga actually uses poses from different styles. The main difference is that they have been modified and made easier to perform. Restorative yoga usually uses accessories such as blankets or eye pillows as a means to the end goal – relaxation.
If you’ve had a long day and are looking for an alternative way to calm the body, restorative yoga is certainly worth the try.
8. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga’s history is rich but it first entered the United States in 1957 thanks to Swami Vishnudevananda who first introduced the practice in the country. The fundamentals of this style lay on the five yogic principals. These include:
- Positive thinking
Visiting a Sivananda yoga class will certainly introduce you to these five simple ways to maintain a healthy yogic lifestyle. Getting the basics can be useful if you are considering jumping on to a more dynamic form of yoga, such as Ashtanga.
Sivananda yoga practice is comprised of 12 simple postures or asanas, including the Sun Salutations and the Savasana. What is interesting about this yoga style is that no music is involved. Instead, the focus is on the mind and the inner world of the individual.
9. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is where the real mind magic comes in place. This type of yoga concentrates on meditation and teaching the body to be strong without doing much work. In other words, if you have become good at yin yoga you will be able to stay comfortably in a pose without putting too much pressure on the muscles.
Yin is an extremely passive method and was created as a complement to Yang yoga, or a practice focused on the formation of muscles. Similar to restorative yoga, its main purpose is to offer the body a relaxation method. You can enjoy some music in Yin yoga class but it is certainly not the main area of focus. In some occasions, there may be no music and the mind is left in complete calmness.
The presented varieties in our list of yoga styles are certainly not the only ones available. There is a wide range of other yoga styles that you can explore and try, depending on your personal preferences and abilities. The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional acrobatic or have years of ballet experience to be able to do yoga. The diversity out there offers something for everyone.
Remember to stay patient when you choose your yoga style and start practicing. Especially if you have little to no experience, it may take a while for your body to start responding well to the specific postures and movements. Give yourself time and stay focused.