There are many different types of yoga, whether you want a more physically demanding class or an easy, relaxing, meditative class.
Each style is a little different from the others, so you will find variations depending on the teacher. Trying a few styles and teachers before settling on your favorite will enhance your overall yoga experience and challenge you to step out of your comfort zone. While lineages aren’t as relevant today as they once were, if you’re looking for a traditional style, this guide will help you understand the basics before diving into a class.
Here are the 3 main types of yoga:
1. Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa means “to place in a special way” and, in this case, yoga postures. Vinyasa yoga is what is often considered the most athletic style of yoga. Vinyasa was adapted from ashtanga yoga in the 1980s. Many types of yoga can also be considered vinyasa flows, such as ashtanga, power yoga and prana.
How is Vinyasa yoga practiced?
In vinyasa classes, movement is coordinated with breath and movement to flow from one posture to another. Vinyasa styles can vary depending on the teacher, and there can be many types of poses in different sequences.
It is an endurance and strength workout. Because the challenging postures are performed in rapid succession, Vinyasa yoga helps develop muscle strength while improving your fitness.
2. Hatha yoga
The Sanskrit term “hatha” is a general term for all the physical postures of yoga. In the West, hatha yoga simply refers to all other styles of yoga (ashtanga, Iyengar, etc.) that are based on a physical practice. However, there are other branches of yoga, such as kriya, raja and karma yoga, which are separate from the practice of physically based yoga. Physically based yoga is the most popular and has numerous styles.
How is Hatha yoga practiced?
Hatha yoga classes are best for beginners, as they tend to have a slower pace than other styles of yoga. Current Hatha classes have a classical approach to breathing and exercises. If you are new to yoga, hatha yoga is a great entry point to the practice.
3. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar focuses on alignment as well as detailed and precise movements. In an Iyengar class, students perform a variety of postures while controlling the breath.
How is Iyengar Yoga practiced?
Generally, postures are held for a long time while the details of the posture are adjusted. Iyengar relies heavily on props to help students perfect their form and deepen the postures in a safe manner. Even if you don’t jump up and down, you will definitely get a workout and feel incredibly open and relaxed after an Iyengar class.
This style is really ideal for people with injuries who need to work slowly and methodically.
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