There are over 20 different styles of yoga. There’s Iyengar, Jivamukti, Sivananda, Kundalini…you get the point. It can be daunting to start your yoga journey without knowing the difference between all these types. Here’s a short list of the six main types of yoga that you need to know about.
Vinyasa yoga may be the most popular form in today’s yoga scene. Vinyasa means “flow” in Sanskrit, and that’s exactly what the classes do: they flow. Vinyasa teachers structure their class to be based on fluidity and intense movement, choreographing smooth transitions from pose to pose. Usually music is played during class to keep things light and make sure students aren’t taking themselves too seriously. The fun thing about Vinyasa yoga is that no two classes are the same!
The other most popular form is Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is also very lighthearted and most classes will involve gentle yoga poses and basic sequences. These classes are typically for those who are just starting to try yoga or those who want an easier class.
Bikram yoga, known for it’s intense nature, was founded by Bikram Choudhary in 1963. Choudhary created this style of yoga to be a workout for weight loss, muscular strength and cardiovascular flexibility. There are specific sets of 26 poses that must be followed during Bikram yoga practice. Each class is the same and always practiced in a room that is 95 degrees F or above. The heat promotes flexibility and detoxification.
- Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is exactly what it sounds like: HOT. It’s very similar to Bikram yoga, except it does not follow a specific sequence of poses. In that way, it is like a Vinyasa yoga class in a room with the heat cranked up, and you will sweat. And I mean sweat. You’ll be sweating so much that you think you didn't know you had that much stuff to sweat inside you. Hot yoga is playful, and it’s great for when you just want to detoxify and have some fun.
This form of yoga was created by K. Pattabhi Jois in 1948 and brought to the west in 1970. Ashtanga yoga has you synchronize your breath with each progressive movement. Similar to the principle of Bikram yoga, Ashtanga yoga also has you follow a specific set of poses structured into six series. Ashtanga is very physically demanding and will definitely get your heart rate accelerating.
- Restorative/ Yin
Restorative and Yin yoga are both very relaxing and stress-reducing forms of yoga. In Restorative classes, students will often use bolsters or blankets to prop them while staying in passive poses for a longer period of time. Both Restorative and Yin yoga involve passive poses, but Restorative focuses on relaxing the muscle and mind while Yin focuses on healing the joints and lengthening connective tissues. Both are great for calming the body and restoring energy.
There is are multitudes of yoga styles, but these seem to be the most well-known, popular ones offered in most yoga studios today. Some styles may not suit you, so it’s important to listen to your body when trying them out. Make sure to never push yourself past your body’s limits and treat it well!
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