Russell Simmons

Which Type of Yoga is Right for You?

Whether you’ve decided to try yoga for the first time or are looking to change up your existing yoga routine, the sheer number of yoga studios, classes, and styles can be overwhelming.  If you’re new to yoga, you may be looking for a class that moves slowly and includes plenty of instruction. But what if you are recovering from an injury or want to push yourself with a more challenging class?  Knowing what to expect from the most popular types of yoga will help ensure you spend your valuable time and money in the right place.

This guide to nine of the most common types of yoga is designed to assist you in choosing the best yoga class to meet your needs.  In addition to learning what to expect from each type of class, don’t be afraid to call ahead and ask any questions you may have. The instructors will be happy to assist you in coming to class prepared to get the most out of your session!

Hatha:  New to yoga?  Hatha is a good place to start!  Hatha yoga features basic postures performed at a slower pace.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to watch and learn as you become familiar and comfortable with a range of common yoga poses.  This class will leave you feeling relaxed and loose.

Ashtanga:  This type of yoga is more suited to those with experience.  The class will be rigorous and consist of a series of specific poses performed in a specific order.  If you’re looking for a demanding yoga class with a flowing style, Ashtanga may be a good fit.

Vinyasa:  You’ve most likely heard of Vinyasa if you’ve done any research on yoga at all.  A Vinyasa class will include many types of poses meant to coordinate movement and breath.  The sequence of poses will vary from class to class and will provide you with an strong workout.  Vinyasa yoga is athletic and fun, good for a yoga novice or anyone who likes variety in their workout.

Bikram:  Bikram yoga is probably a familiar term as well, even if you are new to yoga.  These classes will be held in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. In other words, be prepared to sweat!  Bikram follows the same sequence of 26 poses, each of which is performed twice. This is a popular yoga class and should be easy to find.

Iyengar:  The focus in an Iyengar yoga class will be on alignment.  The class will involve holding poses for longer amounts of time with the use of props such as blocks, straps, and chairs to assist in holding the correct form.  The methodical and slower pace of an Iyengar class can be a good option for someone recovering from an injury.

Hot Yoga:  This is another popular and easy to find yoga class.  Hot Yoga is similar to Bikram in that it is held in a heated room.  However, the sequence of poses will vary from the strict Bikram form.

Kundalini:  The goal of Kundalini yoga is to release energy that is coiled and trapped in the lower spine.  In this class, you can expect chanting, mantra, and meditation as well as a vigorous core workout.  The flow of postures will be fast moving.

Yin Yoga:  Beginners looking for a slower paced class should look for Yin Yoga which focuses on seated postures held for longer periods of time.  This is a meditative, relaxing class.

Restorative:  If your goal is to destress at the end of the day, a Restorative yoga class would be a good choice.  This class is all about relaxation and unwinding at the end of the day. You will spend more time in fewer postures and use blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows to achieve a deeper state of relaxation.  

Yoga has so many benefits for the mind and body.  Taking the time to find the best class (or combination of classes!) to suit your needs will certainly pay off in the long run.