Interested in reaping the benefits of yoga and don’t know where to get started? We’re all familiar with this current exercise craze, but it can definitely be intimidating walking into a group of yogis! If you’re just getting started, note that there are many different types of yoga to practice, so find one that is right for you. Read on to see what style is best suited for your needs.
One of the six original branches of yoga, Hatha is slow paced, gentle and focuses on breathing and meditation. Encompassing many types of modern yoga, Hatha pays extra attention to basic poses and techniques, making it great for beginners.
Best For: Those looking to learn the basics of yoga and reap its physical and spiritual benefits. If you’re seeking a style to help you relax after a long day at the office, Hatha yoga is for you.
Fast paced and intense, this strenuous workout is considered a form of power yoga. Focusing on six pose sequences, Ashtangis flow rapidly, moving from one pose to the next. Through repetition of athletic poses, this style is known to improve coordination, relieve stress and encourage weight loss.
Best For: Ashtanga yoga is preferred by type-A personalities and those who prefer to move at a quicker pace. Those with an athletic background and fitness junkies looking to maintain strength and stamina will enjoy this style.
Bikram, also known as hot yoga, has been all the rage in the yogi community in the past few years. Practiced in a 95-100 degree room, it focuses on a series of 26 basic yoga poses designed to loosen tight muscles and encourage sweating and detoxification.
Best For: If you’re looking for a good sweat, Bikram yoga is the way to go. Burning up to 600 calories in one class, it’s perfect for those looking to shed a few pounds while ridding the body of toxins. The extreme heat also promotes deep stretching to help flexibility.
Known commonly as “Vinyasa Flow” this style of yoga is similar to Hatha, but focuses on the Sun Salutation, a series of 12 poses to improve strength and flexibility. This class keeps you moving constantly, teaching you to link your breath with the movement.
Best For: Great for beginners and advanced yogis alike, this style is great if you like to move! The perfect cross training style, those seeking aerobic and muscle toning benefits will appreciate Vinyasa.
Using props like blocks, straps and incline boards, Iyengar yoga focuses on precise body alignment. Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, this methodical style features deliberate sequencing and is great for balance, coordination and overall strength.
Best For: Detail-oriented people and perfectionists are well suited for this style due to its methodical nature. Those suffering from physical ailment or in need of physical therapy can also benefit greatly from Iyengar yoga.
Kundalini yoga seeks to release the energy of the root chakra, which in turn is said to unleash unlimited potential. This invigorating style involves more sitting than other yoga practices and additional core work around the abs and spine.
Best For: More than just a workout, Kundalini is great for those seeking a more spiritual experience and awareness of your mind and body. If you’re in need of a little extra help around your mid section, you will also benefit from this style.
Restorative yoga involves more relaxation than any of the other styles. Based on just 4 or 5 simple poses, it is likely you will spend your time in these modified asana poses using props to help promote deep relaxation. The mental cleansing aspect will leave you feeling open and rejuvenated.
Best For: Restorative yoga is a great style to mix into your routine in addition to more active classes. Those under severe stress or in need of injury rehab will find great benefit in this type of class.
Looking for a class near you? Check out YogaFinder.com.
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