Which Style of Yoga is Right for Me?

There are so many different types of yoga that are practiced today and each style has its own personality and benefits.  With so many options, it may be difficult for you to decide which style is most suitable for your mind and your body.  Here are descriptions of the most common yoga styles that are practiced everywhere to help you decide which type of class is best for you!Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a slow-paced and gentle style of yoga that focuses on breathing and meditation.  Participants will learn basic yoga poses, relaxation techniques and stretching.  Hatha yoga is a great introduction to the yoga practice and is great for beginners.  Hatha yoga will help to relive stress, improved breath and allow you to lengthen and strengthen your muscles.  Although this is a great starting point for beginners, Hatha yoga is also a great way to unwind and end a busy day.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is the original flow practice from India.  This practice is fairly fast-paced and consists of a non-stop series of yoga poses which include lunges and push-ups.  Ashtanga yoga focuses on special breathing techniques that help to focus the mind and control the flow of breath throughout the body.  The breath links poses together in a flowing sequence of movements timed with breath.  Ashtanga yoga allows you to get in touch with your spiritual side while helping to relieve stress, improve balance and coordination and aid in weight loss.  If you are looking to maintain strength and stamina and reduce stress, this style may be the right fit for you.

Vinyasa  Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is somewhat similar to Hatha Yoga in that it focuses on connecting your breath to basic poses.  However, Vinyasa has a strong emphasis on the sun salutation – a series of poses in which the movements match the breath.  This style of yoga is designed to improve strength and flexibility while developing lean muscle throughout the entire body.  If you are brand new to yoga, you may want to begin with a Hatha class to familiarize yourself with the different poses as a Vinyasa class moves through the poses and salutations at a quicker pace.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is also commonly referred to as Hot/Heated Yoga.  Bikram Yoga is practiced in a room that is 95 to 100 degrees.  It is based on a series of 26 poses that aid in loosening tight muscles and increasing flexibility.  In addition, due to the higher temperatures, your body is able to flush out toxins and leave feeling cleansed.  Bikram Yoga can also speed up the recovery of physical injuries.  If you currently suffer from a medical condition (ie. Hypertension, diabetes), be sure to check with your doctor prior to attending a hot yoga class.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga focuses on healing the mind and body.  This style of yoga uses simplistic poses that are held for longer periods of time to teach your body and mind to relax.  Props such as bolsters, pillows and straps are used in restorative yoga to aid in supporting the body so that you are able to hold the poses for longer periods of time.  Restorative yoga is suitable for all levels and is especially great for those who are recovering from injuries or other health concerns.

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga focuses on relaxing, seated postures that are designed to target the connective tissues in hips, pelvis and lower spine.   Poses are usually held for longer periods of time – anywhere between one and ten minutes.  Yin Yoga will help to increase flexibility while at the same time, allow your body to relax and come to a sense of peace as you learn the basics of meditation.  Yin Yoga is a great way to release tension from overworked joints and also for those desiring relaxation and peace.

Power Yoga/Yoga Sculpt

Power Yoga is probably the most athletic form of yoga.    Power yoga flows through a sequence of traditional poses while focusing on upper-body strength, flexibility and balance.  Yoga Sculpt classes include the use of light hand weights to aid in building stronger , lean muscles.  For those desiring more of a cardio workout while still gaining the benefits of yoga, power yoga is a great combination of both!  If you are new to yoga, you may want to try a few slower paced classes to get a feel for the poses and gain confidence in your abilities.

All styles of yoga will benefit your mind and body.  As you begin your yoga journey, try a few classes and see what is best for you.  Peace and relaxation can be yours!

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