If you’ve ever been to a studio or looked up classes online, you may have realized by now that there are different kinds of yoga that you can practice. For beginners, this may seem overwhelming and intimidating. However, you’d find that there is a type of yoga that will match your body’s needs, boost and enhance your current mood, and nourish your spirit. We’ve broken them down for you, below.
This energetic and revitalizing practice is perfect if you’re feeling up for a challenge. Created by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century, this flowy, fast-paced style of yoga is characterized by invigorating, heat-building postures that are linked together.
The Ashtanga Primary Series is the most popular sequence of the ashtanga method, and helps you build strength and flexibility, while cultivating dedication and discipline. Ashtanga sequences are fixed, which is why students eventually memorize them. With enough practice, you’ll see yourself progressing and mastering each asana or posture.
In Sanskrit, vinyasa means “to place in a special way.” Fittingly, practicing Vinyasa entails going through a string of postures that are linked by the breath. Although many of these postures are also found in Ashtanga, Vinyasa offers a larger selection of postures. Each class is different from the other, so it’s perfect for yogis who enjoy fluidity, creativity, and variety. You might have heard of classes like Power Yoga, Gentle Flow, and the like—these are usually offshoots of Vinyasa that vary in difficulty and energy.
What is indispensable to both Ashtanga and Vinyasa, however, is the sun salutation or surya namaskar. This is a chain of postures that you will find in both practices, and these help build internal heat in the body! Doing a few sun salutations everyday definitely helps boost circulation, detox your system, and uplift your mood
Compared to Ashtanga and Vinyasa, Hatha is slower and involves more static holds. While it still features the strong standing postures of the aforementioned practices, more time is given for alignment and for one to fully immerse in a single asana. Each pose is held for several breaths, before moving on to the next one.
Hatha may be a better fit for you, if you’re still quite new to yoga, would like to familiarize yourself with postures, and prefer to move at a slow to moderate pace. Most Hatha classes also incorporate pranayama (breath work) and meditation, so they are also good ways to explore or immerse yourself in the overall experience of yoga.
If you’re in the mood to unwind and destress, then enroll in a Yin Yoga class. Each pose is performed seated or lying down, and often held for several minutes at a time. These long holds target myofascial release, and get deep into the connective tissues that hold stress of tension.
Some Yin postures can actually be very stimulating, while others are very restorative and relaxing. Either way, Yin helps you get into a reflective and meditative state of mind. It’s the perfect complement to fast-paced, strength-building types of yoga. Sometimes you just need to relax.