Popular Types of Yoga

Making yoga a natural extension of your life is the best way to enjoy its benefits. With the wrong routine, you are going to have a harder time and are more likely to get discouraged, leaving yoga behind instead of turning into a lifelong student!

There are quite a few different styles of yoga, making the decision to settle into a certain class or routine even harder for beginners. However, there are also a few key differences between the styles, and understanding them will help you ease into your routine much quicker.

Anusara Yoga

Anusara yoga helps students open their minds, and their hearts, and use a specific sequence of poses to test both your body, and your mind. Classes are great for helping you open up to the world around you, keeping you relaxed and stress-free and give you a much better outlook on life, in general.

Ashtanga / Vinyasa

Ashtanga is one of the more rigorous forms of yoga, coupling the flow of poses with your breath.  Ashtanga and Vinyasa are very similar in intensity and class design, but Ashtanga students perform the exact same group of poses every class. Vinyasa classes vary the routine and are geared toward students that are looking to push their own physical boundaries.

Bikram / Hot Yoga

Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga will make you sweat, but nothing can help your body release toxins like a solid Bikram or Hot Yoga class.  While they are two different styles of yoga, they share quite a few similarities. Hot Yoga classes vary the routines, while Bikram utilizes the same sequence of 26 poses that were used 30 years ago.

I personally did not care for the militant/strict style of Bikram yoga. However, I will say that it is somewhat empowering. I felt like if I can endure a hour and a half of working out in heat then I can do almost anything.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is among the most physical style, and is generally found in the Western countries. These classes are great for beginners, giving you a smooth introduction into various poses that you’ll encounter with other styles.  In terms of beginner friendliness, Hatha will give you the same benefits of other classes with a much smoother learning curve.

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga is the strictest style of yoga, developed by B.K.S. Iyengar.  These classes focus specifically on the alignment and holding of each pose.  This is much harder than it sounds, and typically requires the use of props such as straps, blankets, chairs, balls, wedges, even ropes.  Don’t let the slow moving nature of Iyengar classes dissuade you, though. They are arguably more intense than any other style of yoga.

Think about what it is that you’re looking to achieve with your practice before you decide on a routine.  For instance, are you trying to relax and let go of the day’s worries, or would you rather determine your own physical limits and develop the ultimate mind and body?

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