Whether you are interested in yoga for relaxation or to burn a ton of calories it can be difficult to figure out what type of class you should take. With so many different styles of yoga being offered nowadays that it can be confusing to understand the differences. All yoga is based on the same types of poses but each style has it’s own intension. Here are a few descriptions of some of the most popular yoga practices available today.
Hatha. If you are new to yoga it’s always best to take a beginners class before diving in headfirst and this is one of them. Classes described as Hatha yoga are generally slow, gentle and the perfect way to get introduced comfortably to traditional yoga poses and postures.
Vinyasa. This style of yoga is also called Vinyasa flow because of the constant movement that is paired with synchronized breath. Vinyasa is more demanding as it takes you through a series of poses including sun salutations and deep stretching. The practice can be considered to be intermediate to advanced.
Bikram. Also called hot yoga this type of practice was created by Bikram Choudhury who trade marked the method of 26 poses performed in a 95 degree heated room with 40% humidity for 90-minutes. The heat allows tight muscles to be loosened and the body to be cleansed and detoxified. Something to keep in mind is that all Bikram classes are hot but not all hot yoga classes are Bikram, so be sure to ask your studio.
Ashtanga. This type of yoga is one of the most popular and favored forms of practice. Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit and is a fast-paced intense yoga style that demands a lot physically. You move from one pose to the next on a set series that is always performed in the same order. Another name for Ashtanga is power yoga; which is based on the same practice with less conformity to the rules.
Iyengar. This practice focuses on alignment of the body and poses are held for long periods of time rather than flowing from one to the next. A yoga practice that is based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar where props and the best yoga mat use is encouraged.
Remember this, if you aren’t comfortable taking a public class start at home. Here are 3 of the best yoga DVD’s for your practice. These routines will give you a full body workout and introduce you to the poses so that you can join a class with confidence.
Read more from NY Yoga Writer Cristina Pierce here.
Check out her blog Skinny Healthy Girl here.