The huge range in different types of yoga available means there is certainly a style that will suit you, no matter what your requirements! If you want to relax, you’re covered. If you want to stretch out tired muscles, you’re covered again. And if you want to connect with your inner self, you’re certainly catered to as well.
Whether you’re new to yoga and you’re wondering where to start, or you’re experienced and wanting to change it up and try a different yoga style, you have many options in front of you. Each different type of yoga has benefits, including increased strength and flexibility, better bone density, reduced anxiety and stress levels, and reduced blood pressure. And whatever your body type or needs, there is certainly a type of yoga for you. Don’t fall into the false trap of thinking you have to be a certain type or person, or have a certain type of body for yoga. This is a discipline which is for all.
Let’s explore a few of the most popular, and see if any jump out as a new technique for you to try.
Iyengar yoga is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to learn the basics of poses properly, i.e. the correct alignment, and is also great for anyone who is suffering from joint problems or arthritis. The reason for this is because you are learning how to do it properly, and until you have it 100% correct, you won’t progress to the next pose. This type of yoga uses breath and props, such as bolsters for extra support.
If you want a work out, give ashtanga a try! This is a vigorous type of yoga, and one which works through a series of different poses, all being held for a certain number of breaths (five) and then a smooth transition to the next pose. This is possibly not the best choice for beginners, but certainly one to work up to, perhaps before moving onto an even more demanding type.
If you don’t want to socialise, you don’t want to talk, and you simply want to focus on your yoga practice, vinyasa flow is a good one to try. There is no talking or hesitation with this type because you move from pose to pose instantly, giving you a constant and effective (yet gentle) workout. Again, probably not for beginners because of the pace of the class.
Everyone has heard of bikram yoga – made famous by celebrities recently! This is not for the faint hearted and not for anyone who is averse to sweat! However, if you’re looking for a workout, this is ideal for you. A series of 26 poses are worked though, and no matter where you go, you will work through the same series. Not only that, it is all done in a heated room, hence the sweating. Muscle strength is promoted, as well as a body cleansing effect, shedding toxins due to the heat of the room. Certainly work up to this one, but it is a fantastic way to combine yoga and rigorous exercise together.
If you enjoy the spiritual side of yoga then give kundalini a go. Meditation is incorporated into practice, as well as learning the correct way to breath and how to use breath to help you move from pose to pose and hold it for longer. Chanting is often used in kundalini, more than any other type, as well as a large range of poses and breathing techniques, such as nostril alternate breathing. For anyone who wants to possibly develop their more spiritual side, this is a good one to go for.
Hatha yoga is quite generic and, for that reason, it is the ideal starting point for beginners. This type of yoga introduces a large range of different poses, giving you the chance to master them properly before moving on without flowing from pose to pose in a fast sequence. This is also quite gentle, so if you are struggling with flexibility, this could help you loosen up a little before advancing your skills.
If you want to develop your flexibility and learn how to balance, then yin yoga is a great style to try. This type of yoga is also great for anyone who wants to learn how to meditate as well as anyone who wants to relax or release any built-up tension in their body. Yin yoga is all about postures which are seated, so it is much less demanding than some other types. The whole point of being seated is that you are basically turning your attention to the connective tissues which are situated in the lower back, hips, and in the pelvis, which is where we tend to hold tension when we are stressed out.
Finally, we have restorative yoga which is about the body and mind as one, rather than treating each as a separate entity. This particular type is about healing, and simple poses are used to help relax the body, and are often held for anywhere up to 20 minutes at a time. Obviously, there are aids available, such as cushions and bolsters, but if you are wanting to find a style which his more about relaxation than anything else whilst building up strength in a subtle way, restorative yoga is a good go-to.
These are the main types of yoga out there currently, and whilst new versions are popping up all the time, it’s always worthwhile to explore whether they are worth it for your requirements. Not all of us want a rigorous workout, but some of us would like to use our yoga practice as our main form of exercise. For that reason, identifying your perfect type is important.
Which type of yoga do you enjoy the most? Do you find rigorous workouts like bikram yoga relaxing, despite how heavy-going this particular type can be, or do you prefer to connect with your higher self, perhaps using yin or kundalini?
We are all different, and the reasons we practice yoga are equally as individual.