Have you ever skimmed the descriptions of all the different types of yoga at your local studio? It can be overwhelming to decide which is right for you. Here’s how to decide which class best suits your needs before hitting the mat.
Many Different Types Of Yoga
There are many different types of yoga to choose from. Sometimes it can be overwhelming when deciding which class to partake in. Should you sweat it out in Bikram, or breath deep in Hatha? We’re here to help. Of course any exercise is better than no exercise. However, picking the right class can allow you to get the most out of your time.
You also don’t need to just stick to one class. Many yogis bounce back between different types, depending on what they feel their bodies need that day. A marathon runner might want to take a restorative yoga class after a long run. A pro dancer might want to take a Vinyasa class to increase endurance and mobility. When it comes to picking a class listen to your body, and be adventurous. The right class is out there for you- You’ll find it eventually.
Perhaps the most controversial, and most talked about type of yoga is Bikram. Some people call this “Hot Yoga,” although “Bikram” is a specific type of hot yoga. Bikram is held in a 105 degree room. The class is made up of a specific sequence of 26 poses. If the class is truly a traditional “bikram” class these poses will be in the same order every time. The class is 90 minutes in length. Other “hot yoga” classes might incorporate different poses in different orders, with a slightly lower temperature.
Both are great for a detoxing experience. Lovers of bikram say that sweating out the toxins is therapeutic. There are also theories that the warmth helps you to dive even deeper into postures. This class is great if you want to spend longer than an hour on your practice.
Bikram is definitely a commitment. You’ll probably leave VERY sweaty. It’s not a class you can pop in and out of, and then run to another activity right after. You’ll probably want to go home and shower and change. For that reason it’s best for those with a lot of free time, or a special day devoted to their practice. You’ll also want to be sure to stay hydrated before and after the class.
The term “hatha yoga” typically describes a basic Yoga class. This is a great choice for beginners, or those just dipping their toes into the Yoga world. The class will most likely flow at a slow pace. You might not leave feeling like you exerted a ton of energy, but you will leave feeling balanced and mobile. This is also a great choice for athletes who have a rigorous practice schedule, and want to use their yoga practice as a relaxing restorative time. If you’re unsure what to expect in Hatha yoga, contact the studio and just ask. Each studio might have a different idea of what “Hatha” sound be. It’s important to know what you’re signing up for.
Speaking of athletes, those looking for a relaxing experience should consider restorative yoga. Restorative yoga typically moves at a glacial pace. It incorporates all sorts of props like straps and blocks. The idea of this class isn’t to work up a sweat. Instead people attend hoping to relax and sink into each pose. You should leave this class feeling like you had the best night’s sleep of your life. We wouldn’t recommend this class to those who get bored or anxious easily.
In contrast to restorative yoga, Vinyasa is great for people who want to work up a sweat and move in and out of poses quickly. Think of this as the closest thing to “cardio yoga” you’ll find. Some studios might call this “Power yoga.” Vinyasa incorporates breath and movement to create a “flow.” You might repeat a sequence of poses multiple times, moving with your inhales and exhales. This type of yoga helps to connect the mind and body. You’ll leave feeling warm and worked.
Unlike Bikram yoga, Vinyasa classes are ever evolving. This is a great option for people looking to spice up their workout routine. You’ll never experience the same class twice, and a good Vinyasa teacher is always coming up with new and exciting flows.
Ashtanga Yoga is similar to Vinyasa yoga, except like Bikram it follows a specific sequence of poses. This is a great class for people who enjoy the flow of Vinyasa, but want structure and reliability in their class. This class is all about building muscle and endurance, so it isn’t for the faint at heart. Be prepared to work hard, and leave feeling accomplished.
Of all the different types of yoga, this one is pretty obvious. Prenatal Yoga is meant for pregnant women who want to stay in tune with their bodies throughout pregnancy. It’s great for remaining active, which has been shown to help women throughout pregnancy and birth. Prenatal yoga teachers typically have special certifications. They’re able to help women move in and out of poses safely. It’s important to know what you’re doing so that no mother or child is in danger. By remaining active and in shape during your pregnancy you’ll be able to bounce back quickly after giving birth.
Yin Yoga is quite similar to restorative yoga. It is a practice focused on calming the mind, and meditating. Expect to hold poses for a long time in this class, and let gravity do all the work.
There are so many different types of yoga to choose from, we hope this list is helpful for you. When in doubt call your local studio and inquire about what to expect. You also might want to ask about each specific teacher’s backgrounds and philosophy. Yoga is a beautiful way to exercise, and its many forms make it incredibly versatile.