There are many different styles of yoga to choose from, and their names don’t often clue you in to what you can expect out of a class. For a beginner looking to attend their first yoga class, to an advanced yoga practitioner who is looking to try something new, here is a list of eight of the most common yoga styles and what you can expect from each!
Hatha Yoga – Hatha yoga is probably one of the most common forms of yoga practices in the US, which is why it is first on our list. ”Hatha” refers to the physical practices of yoga, and can technically be used to describe all classes that include asanas (postures.) In yoga studios or a gym, hatha usually means it will be a slower-paced class that teaches you how to align your body and breathe into your postures. These kinds of classes are wonderful for people who are new to Yoga.
Vinyasa Yoga - Also a common name for a yoga class, Vinyasa classes can vary, but most likely they will be faster paced than Hatha and will involve a lot of Sun Salutations. Vinyasa classes are often referred to as “Power Yoga” at gyms and health clubs. Expect your heart rate to go up in one of these classes! They can be challenging, but as with anything in yoga, you can practice variations that suit you, and you should never push past your limitations or if something doesn’t feel right.
Anasura Yoga - Anasura translates into “flowing with grace.” The practice itself is a medley of challenging poses, life-affirming teachings, and key alignment principles.
Ashtanga Yoga - Ashtanga is a physically demanding practice that focuses heavily on Sun Salutations, arm-strengthening poses like Chaturangas, and jumpbacks and pickups.
Bikram Yoga – In Bikram classes, the temperature in the room is turned up to 105 degrees, and the point is to sweat, sweat, sweat. The practice features a sequence of 26 poses, and followers of this type of yoga swear by the post-exercise bliss it induces. Bring a towel if you are going to try one of these out!
Iyengar Yoga - Iyengar Yoga teaches fundamental building blocks of alignment and stresses the use of props to enhance your practice and avoid injury. While the class is slow-paced, holding positions for an extended period of time will leave you with burning muscles and a serious workout.
Restorative Yoga - When you feel like you have less energy to spare than a used-up lightbulb, restorative yoga is the practice for you. In these classes specific postures, usually supported, are held that allow you to sink into complete relaxation and soothe tense muscles and anxieties. Perfect for a day when you need to unwind, refresh, and re-set your thinking.
Yin Yoga – Yin Yoga is based on the meridian theory of traditional Chinese medicine, and is said to enhance the flow of Prana in the tissues around joints by using long-held poses. Each pose is held for several minutes and is meant to create space in your joints and ligaments while completely relaxing your muscles. Yin is perfect for days when you really feel like you need a good stretch, and like Restorative Yoga, if you need to refresh and re-set.