Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a first timer, the benefits of yoga are undeniable: your mind, body, and soul – all merged into one during one yoga practice. Beautiful. But with more than 50 styles of yoga being regularly practiced across the country, which type of yoga is right for you?
A crash course on a few yoga styles
- Hatha: Hatha yoga is one of the most popular and widely practiced forms of yoga, it focuses on promoting balance between mind and body and includes poses for all levels.
- Bikram: Bikram uses 26 postures that are performed in a hot room, up to 100 degrees F, to promote flexibility in your muscles and reduce the risk of energy. The heat also helps to detoxify your system.
- Ashtanga: Ashtanga yoga is made up of a fast-paced sequence of poses that increase in difficulty in an increasing flow.
- Vinyasa: Vinyasa flow yoga is typically a 75-minute practice that focuses on moving from one pose to the next in a flow, moving from standing poses to seated poses, incorporating both balance and flexibility.
- Kundalini: This type of yoga is practiced to stimulate a powerful energy chakra that is located at the base of the spine, which brings a powerful sense of well-being and promotes higher awareness.
- Bharata: Bharata yoga focuses on aligning your spine, and this practice will also help to improve your posture and flexibility.
- Forrest: A more modern type of yoga, Forrest is a more fitness intensive yoga that will make you break a sweat for the entire practice. Postures are held for a longer period of time to strengthen your core muscles with the intention of strengthening and purifying the body, as well as to release negative energies.
The physical side
One of the great things about yoga is its accessibility – all fitness levels can find a practice. Just about every yoga practice is tailored to your own needs, and most do not ask you to push your body beyond its own limit, because yoga is about listening and learning about your body.
For those just starting out, Hatha or Ashtanga yoga is a great style to practice. Vinyasa, Bikram, or Forrest are great styles for those looking for a more physically-intensive practice. For those looking for physical therapy, Bharata yoga or Kundalini yoga both promote balance, posture, and wellness all in one.
The mental and spiritual side
More than just about getting a workout in, yoga connects body, mind, and soul. As much as it is physical, yoga is also a way to deal with stress, anxieties, and serves as a way to look within yourself. Yoga teaches concentration, focus, and a way to confront any negative energies that arise. Each asana, or pose, focuses on a different part of the body or a different part of the mind. Yoga is not competitive, and centers on a deep sense of compassion and self-improvement in a communal setting.
Many yoga practices also incorporate forms of meditation, which helps students of yoga to become even more well rounded in body, mind, and soul.
Ultimately, what is right for your neighbor or your friend may not be right for you, so finding the yoga class that meets both your physical and spiritual needs is part of the fun and exploration of the practice. Many gyms offer free classes, so there’s no harm in trying a sequence. Each practice offers different benefits, but all are fun and a great way to explore yourself – namaste!
What do you think?
What is your favorite type of yoga? Do you practice yoga regularly? Are you looking to start yoga? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.