It is easy to get confused about the type of yoga you wish to practice, especially if you are new to practice. The teacher’s styles may vary and the number of choices is big enough to cause you to give up before even trying. Even if you are an experienced yogi, you may be stuck in a practice that you got the most out of, so it may be beneficial to see what else is out there when it comes to different yoga styles.
This type of yoga is very slow and focuses on four or five different posses that are held passively for 15 to 20 minutes each. Students are experiencing calming effects while lying down on their mats, using bolsters and blocks for support, and blankets to keep warm. Restorative yoga puts yogis into meditative state similar to nap time and the muscles are never overworked. As it is very easy to do the restorative type of yoga, anyone who works behind the desk all day long or that needs some kind of recreation could benefit from it.
This type of yoga is a Taoist discipline in which yogis passively hold their poses, which results in relaxing their bodies and softening their muscles. By doing Yin yoga, students increase their flexibility by accessing connective tissues deeply while at the same time getting into the meditative state of mid that helps them find their center and balance. Yin yoga is totally opposite of Yang yoga where the focus is on physical workout and muscle building. People that are in rehabilitation programs for eating disorders, addiction, various types of trauma or anxiety may benefit from Yin yoga as it is easy to do and doesn’t require much physical effort.
Most of the Western style of yoga falls under the Hatha method which is not the yoga style on its own but rather combination of yoga styles that focus on physical posture by starting with basic poses or asana, along with breathing exercises or pranayama and meditation. People that never tried yoga before get entranced by this perfect Hatha combo that focuses on most basic benefits of practicing yoga and meditation at the same time. Hatha yoga is easy to do so people that are new to yoga practice are encouraged to start with this type of yoga first.
Pregnant women benefit from Prenatal yoga as it tailors to their unique needs. Classes combine Hatha poses that are slow and gentle, while helping pregnant women stretch their lower backs, open up their shoulders, strengthen their thighs and open up their hips while incorporating pelvic floor exercises in order to help them prepare for the easier labour. Prenatal yoga is easy to do for expecting mothers and although it can be done through all stages of pregnancy, it is also recommended to be practiced postpartum.
Yoga has eight limbs and Kundalini yoga unites them all into unique practice that offers complete transcendence while providing meditative, spiritual, mental and physical benefits all at the same time. Yogis that practice Kundalini yoga often wear white clothing as this colour is believe to expand a person’s aura and shield them from negative projections. Through Kundalini yoga we learn how to chant and breathe at the same time while constantly moving ourselves. Although poses change on daily basis, it is expected in each class to start with breathing warm-up and sun salutations, exercising in chakra sequence, chanting of mantra, meditating, relaxing, and finish with a blessing song. Kundalini yoga can vary in difficulty from easy to medium and it is recommended for people that do not declare themselves to be of any particular religion but still feeling very spiritual and in touch with their chakras.
Also named as “furniture yoga” due to use of many props, Iyengar yoga practitioners may expect meaningful sequencing and precise alignment of movements. Props that are usually used are blocks, harnesses, straps, and incline boards. Incline boards are used to perfectly position the body and then hold the poses for specified amount of time to increase physical challenge. Teachers that teach Iyengar yoga undergo very broad training which empowers them to suggest modifications and offer guidance to yogis that have chronic conditions or injuries. Iyenar yoga has medium level of difficulty and it is great for people that are yogi perfectionists along with those who suffer from chronic conditions or injuries.
This type of yoga started out recently, in 1997 and is considered one of the newest types of yoga. It focuses on grace, the goodness in people and heartfelt acceptance. Yogis are expressing themselves through each asana the best they can. The focus is not on achieving perfectly formed poses, but at least trying and holding it. Anusara yoga offers medium level of difficulty with an increased physical challenge for all nonconformists out there. Classes always begin and end with chanting and meditation.
Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga
Hot yoga practice emerged around 30 years ago and yogis everywhere fell in love with heat of around 105º F (or 40º C) and about 26 medium to moderately difficult poses. Through such a high heat, our bodies stretch deep and effectively, while buckets of sweat help to detoxify. It is not easy to perform yoga under such a hot conditions, and if yogis find themselves being too hot or lightheaded they can just rest for a pose or two. Hot yoga or Bikram yoga are almost the same except for the order of the poses. People that like to sweat enjoy this type of yoga and it is recommended to bring a mat-sized towel, bottled water, a mat and breathable yoga attire.
Vinyasa also goes under names of “flow” or “power” yoga. This is the only type of yoga that includes a cardio type of exercise. It was adapted from Ashtanga yoga in the late 1980s and consists of quick moves that make body feel like it’s flowing. Heart rate is increased and yogis are rhythmically moved from one pose to another, while paying special attention to their breath. Classes are done with energizing music and teachers are often changing pose sequence for each session. Vinyasa yoga is good for the type of yogis that get bored easily as it is medium to hard in difficulty range. If the studio is heated, it is recommended to bring some bottled water, a mat and mat-sized towel.
Ashtanga is more ancient type of yoga compared to the Vinyasa or other types of yoga. It is considered hard practice and uses flowing and constant moves that warm up muscles while stretching them deeply. In Ashtanga yoga instructors are following same rigid routine of six sequences each time. Usually experienced yogis will practice this type of yoga as it is hardest one to do. People that are highly energized and athletic, such as cyclists or runners, usually prefer Ashtanga yoga. It can be held in a heated room as well, so bottled water, a mat and mat-sized towel are recommended to bring to the class. Another, more difficult type of yoga is known as Mysore Ashtanga and it’s usually self led by yogis who know the six sequences by heart.