Practicing yoga has become more and more popular, and for good reason. Yoga is a great form of physical activity, helping to increase strength and flexibility. It can also reduce stress and promote the mind-body connection. With a yoga studio around every corner, it may be hard to decide which type of yoga is best for you. Here is a cheat sheet to some of the most common classes, and what to expect from each.
Common Yoga Styles: What to Expect
- Vinyasa Yoga is the most popular type of yoga in the United States. You move from one pose to the next in a fluid sequence of movements. Unlike some other types of yoga, Vinyasa classes are different every time.
- Bikram Yoga is sometimes known as hot yoga because the studio is heated to 105 degrees. The class always follows the same sequence of 26 poses. Stay hydrated pre-class and take advantage of the small hand towels provided.
- Hatha Yoga, also known as gentle yoga, is focused on slow movement. It can be a good class for beginners to learn basic poses.
- Restorative Yoga typically involves a sequence of only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. You may hold a pose for five minutes or more. Poses included light twists, seated forward folds and gentle backbends. You will use blocks, towels, pillows, etc. to get into poses for total relaxation.
- Ashtanga Yoga is also known as power yoga. You do a series of poses that are always the same while focusing on your breath. This physically demanding style of yoga may be more appropriate for experienced yogis.
- Anusara Yoga begins with an invocation, then proceeds through several stages before ending on a centering meditation. A key element in an Anusara class is a heart theme. Movements and actions within every pose are coordinated with the breath.
- Iyengar Yoga focuses on alignment. Poses are held for long periods and often modified with props. Participants use of blocks, towels, straps for alignment purposes This method is designed to cultivate strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness
- Kundalini Yoga is more spiritual and philosophical in approach than other styles of yoga. Kundalini yoga classes include meditation, breathing techniques, and chanting as well as yoga postures.