After practicing yoga for a while, after hopping studios here and there, you probably notice that there are so many different types of yoga out there. It sometimes makes us wonder, which type of yoga is right for us?
Some people are more into physically demanding class, others might be more into easy, relaxing, meditative class. In order to find the one that is right for you, we say, find the one that makes you excited to go. With each style a bit different from one another, you’ll find variations depending on the teacher. Hence, our suggestion is to give a few styles and teachers a go before settling on your favourite type.
Today we will pick few types of yoga and provide some explanation in the hope that it will help you understand the basics before jumping into class.
Vinyasa yoga is an incredibly common style. In Vinyasa classes, every movement is synchronized with the breath and it is a flow-based yoga where you smoothly transitition between poses. When you are able to connect every move with the breath, it can be very calming and meditative in nature. We love to call it moving meditation! Anyone who wants a more active flow or movement will love Vinyasa class.
Ashtanga is a flow-based yoga as well, but unlike Vinyasa, Ashtanga follows the same sequence and series of poses in a precise order. So if you don’t like surprises and love routine, this type of yoga will be great for you.
Bikram yoga is developed by Bikram Choudhury. It is a form of hot yoga. Like Ashtanga, Bikram uses a set of series of poses to flow through and the practice has strict rules. Each class is 90 minutes, with 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The room must be 40.5 degree Celcius with 40% humidity. Since Bikram yoga has so many rules, many studios simply call their classes “Hot Yoga” so they can customize the practice. This type of yoga is great for those who love hot temperatures!
Iyengar was founded by B.K.S Iyengar. The practice of Iyengar Yoga emphasizes on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of yoga postures. Iyengar yoga is known for its resourceful use of props. Multiple props are often used in Iyengar classes including chairs, walls, and benches, in addition to more common ones like straps, blocks, and bolsters. This style is really great for people who like detailed instructions, anyone with physical limitations or those in need to work methodically.
Hatha yoga derives its name from the Sanskrit words for sun and moon, and it’s designed to balance opposing forces. The term Hatha is an umbrella term for all physical postures of yoga. Hatha yoga classes usually have slower pace than other yoga styles, hence it is best for people who are new to yoga. It will be a great point to start your yoga journery. To be considered as Hatha yoga, classes must include a combination of asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercise), and meditation. So other types of yoga like Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc are technically considered to be Hatha yoga as well.
Yin yoga is a passive style of yoga in which poses are held at least 1-2 minutes. They are all in seated postures and you are supposed to let gravity do most of the work, so it is very relaxing type of class. Unlike other styles of yoga, the practice of Yin yoga is more inwards and meditative. While other forms of yoga focus on the major muscle groups, yin yoga targets the deep connective tissues and fascia. This is a great class for beginners, anyone interested in a slow paced practice, as well as those who need to find balance after a tough workout.
Each types of yoga above has its own unique style and benefits. Sometimes, you might even encounter a mix of those types of yoga in the same class. Keep exploring, and hopefully one day, you will find the one that is right for you.