The Different Kinds of Yoga
Are you considering getting into yoga? There are many proven health and wellness benefits to regular practice of yoga. Originated in India, yoga is shown to mitigate stress, boost one’s mood, alleviate chronic pain, and even provide a sense of community and routine to one’s life.
Congratulations on taking the first step to incorporating this ancient spiritual practice into your life. We understand that it can be intimidating to folks who have never tried yoga before. You may think you need to be flexible or strong already. You worry you’re not “zen” enough to enjoy yoga. You may think yoga is only for women.
We’re here to tell you: none of the above are true. Yoga is for everyone! There are different methods of practicing yoga for everyone of any level, age, gender, or background.
The first step is deciding which type of yoga is the right fit for you. There’s no way we could list every kind of yoga here, but here are some of the most popular iterations of yoga:
This kind of yoga is most likely what you see when you imagine “yoga.” The Sanskrit word haṭha means “willful” or “forceful.” It refers broadly to the practice of yoga poses, so really, almost all kinds of yoga are classified as Hatha yoga.
Hatha yoga is an ideal style for beginners, as it will introduce you to the basic poses of yoga.
Bikram Yoga, or “Hot Yoga”
Bikram yoga is what you may have heard referred to as “hot yoga.” Hot yoga must take place in a room heated to 105 degrees. Each class features the same 26 poses and lasts 90 minutes. You might be wondering, why hot? Isn’t yoga enough to get you sweaty? Well, the theory is that excessive sweating allows the body to get rid of toxins and improve circulation.
Warning: this is not an ideal type of yoga for beginners. Bikram yoga is something you may be interested in after practicing for a while.
Vinyasa Yoga, or “Flow Yoga”
The standard yoga you’ve probably seen involves holding poses in a static position, but Vinyasa yoga keeps things moving. It’s often called “flow” yoga because the poses are strung together in a flow of movement, measured by breath. Unlike Bikram yoga, with which every class is the same, Vinyasa yoga varies class-to-class.
Vinyasa yoga is also not an ideal type of yoga for beginners, as the added movement can be more strenuous.
If you enjoy high-energy, high-movement exercise classes, this is the kind of yoga for you. Like Vinyasa yoga, power yoga incorporates movement into the traditional yoga poses. For this reason, the two are often confused. Power yoga is different for incorporating loud music and a hot room (usually around 90 degrees).
Unless you are accustomed to intense cardio in hot environments, power yoga may not be the best way to get into yoga at first.
Aerial yoga involves holding poses while hanging from a sling connected to the ceiling. It might look like the latest wacky fitness trend that’s bound to pass, but this isn’t true! There are many unique benefits to aerial yoga that traditional yoga can’t offer. It’s a wonderful cardio and ab workout, and perfect for those with joint problems exacerbated by pressure. You don’t have to be an acrobat to try aerial yoga, but it may not be an ideal choice for beginners.