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The Best Style of Yoga for You

Yoga simply translated means union. This union is the connection of the mind through movement of the body, breath and poses. Sounds simple? Well, then there’s the yogic lifestyle, the eight limbs of yoga and much more that incorporates more realms beyond mind and body. But, we won’t get into all of that now, 

So, what about yoga for beginners? What about the person that is interested in going to a yoga class, but doesn’t know how or where to start? It can be so intimidating. There are so many types of yoga with new classes and styles being introduced all the time, which can leave the beginner wondering, what is the best yoga?

woman doing yoga

To choose the yoga class that is right for you, start out by identifying what you are looking for in a yoga class. Pick 2-3 statements that best describe your wants and needs when thinking about yoga.

I like a predictable class

I want to elevate my heartbeat, but not leave dripping in sweat

The spiritual nature of yoga is inviting to me

I want to start with the basics

I want to sweat, feel like I am getting a workout

I want a slower paced class 

I want a class that will help me wind down

I am looking for stress relief

I have significant pain/injuries that could limit what I can do in class (for example, unable to go from standing to sitting easily)

I want to be challenged

I want to move

Now, let’s talk about some common styles of yoga and compare them to your wants and needs in order to find the best kind of yoga for you.

woman yoga

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga broadly can be a term used to describe any yoga class. Typically, Hatha classes are slower paced and have no set formats or poses. Not to be confused with restorative or gentle, this class will still involve poses that can be challenging, but the transitions are slower. Similarly with the yogic lifestyle, the advanced philosophy of Hatha yoga incorporates eight disciplines to be followed strongly. Of course, you won’t get into this on your first class!

Good match for those who selected:

I want to start with the basics (unless it is listed as a level 2 or above class)

I want a slower paced class 

I am looking for stress relief


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga classes are a flow of one constant movement. Students move from one pose to the next with less time holding each yoga position, which becomes like a dance while still concentrating on the breath. If you’re wondering about incorporating yoga into workout routine, then simply take a Vinyasa class. There’s no doubt that your muscles will be engaged and your heart rate will elevate!

Good match for those who selected:

I want to move

I want to sweat, feel like I am getting a workout

I want to elevate my heartbeat but not leave dripping sweat

woman yoga

 

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is another great style of yoga. Ashtanga introduces foundational yoga poses in a repetitive flow with the breath synced to each movement. In traditional Mysore Ashtanga, students move through their practice at their own pace with a teacher there to provide assistance. When the student is ready, the yoga instructor introduces new yoga positions. Don’t worry, there’s lots of poses and challenges!

Good match for those who selected:

I want to be challenged

I like a predictable class

I want to elevate my heart rate

I want to sweat, feel like I am getting a workout


Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga, where yoga is taught in a heated room of about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, is definitely the ultimate yoga challenge and a great way to incorporate yoga into workout routine. This class is not recommended for those who don’t like to sweat! Leaving the studio dripping in sweat is completely unavoidable, but can also feel super cleansing. There are 26 poses and two breathing exercises all within a 90 minute class. While Bikram may sound intense, it is still suitable for beginners who want a challenge. The difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the poses in hot yoga vary while the yoga positions in Bikram yoga are set. Water is important before, during and after a class.

Good match for those who selected:

I like a predictable class

I want to sweat, feel like I am getting a workout

I want to be challenged


Kundalini Yoga

If you’re looking for spiritual based yoga experience, then Kundalini is the class for you. Incorporating breathing techniques, mudras, chanting, meditation and asanas (yoga poses), Kundalini is a very powerful among mind, body and spirit group activities. The main focus of Kundalini is to move the energy within each chakra. 

Good match for those who selected:

The spiritual nature of yoga is inviting to me

I am looking for stress relief


Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga, which focuses on holding poses for a longer period of time, gets into the connective tissue throughout the body and the fascia that encases the muscles. Due to holding the poses, there will be less poses than a Vinyasa class allowing those in the class to settle into a pose and become aware of alignment. 

Good match for those who selected:

I want to a slower paced class 

I want a class that will help me wind down

I am looking for stress relief


Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga classes are slower paced, often involving props like bolsters, blankets and eye pillows to assist students with relaxing deeply into the pose. Often times, these classes are floor practices. 

Good match for those who selected:

I want to a slower paced class 

I want a class that will help me wind down

I am looking for stress relief

I have significant pain/ injuries that could limit what I can do in class (for example go from standing to sitting easily)

Whatever class you choose, know that there are variations for poses and the teacher is there to assist. Yoga is a practice and all bodies are different. What looks and feels good to one person may not look or feel the same for another. Listen you your body, give the class and teacher a chance, and if you are up for it, try out a few different types of classes! The side effects of all yoga include improved health, friendships, inner connection and community. The best yoga is the one you come into with an open mind and end up loving. 


About the Author

woman author

Heather Watkins is a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, lover of flowers, rocks, fashion and subscription boxes. She can be found barefoot in Kentucky where she resides with her daughter, husband and tortoise. Connect with Heather on Instagram and Facebook.

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