Think all yoga classes are the same? Fortunately not! Whether you want to focus on slow stretching, tough muscle work or sweaty balancing, there is a type of yoga for you. Read on to find your perfect class.
If you consider yourself a relatively fit individual and are interested in an athletic form of yoga, Ashtanga may be for you. The poses gradually increase in intensity and fluidity, which makes for an incredibly rewarding and physically demanding class.
Hatha is the foundation of all yoga styles and is basic in nature, which makes it ideal for beginners. The combinations of postures and breathing are used to help calm thoughts, enjoy meditation and connect the body and mind. Hatha teachers will likely encourage you to move at your own pace and take breaks if necessary. This is a great yoga style if you need to de-stress.
Bikram yoga, occasionally labelled “hot yoga” at certain facilities, has gained a lot in popularity over the past few years. The unique quality of Bikram yoga is it takes place in a room that is heated to 35–40 degrees C. The raised temperature improves flexibility and detoxification. Performing the physically demanding poses in a heated environment isn’t for everyone, though. If you do take on this challenging workout, be sure to bring plenty of water, and don’t be afraid to step out if you start to feel light-headed, dizzy or nauseated.
If you want to take Ashtanga yoga one step further, consider trying power yoga. Many of the poses are the same, but you go through them at a much faster pace. Each move flows into the next, which makes for an incredible aerobic workout. The focus on strength moves, such as push-ups and handstands, also makes it a great activity for building muscle.
Iyengar is a totally different yoga experience, as it focuses primarily on precision and alignment. This means you are more likely to use yoga props such as blocks and bolsters to achieve the correct positions. The props can be extremely helpful if you are recovering from an injury or need to put less stress on your muscles. You are also more likely to hold postures for an extended period of time. This can be a challenging form of yoga, but your body will thank you for it in the long run.
Vinyasa is occasionally called “vinyasa flow” because of its fluid nature. It encourages participants to synchronize their breathing with the almost dance-like sequence of postures. The poses used to achieve this breath-body connection vary greatly by teacher, so try out a few classes before settling on the one best suited to you.
These are some of the more common forms of yoga you are likely to find classes for in your community. If none of them seem quite right for you, check out matsmatsmats.com to learn of even more possibilities. All forms of yoga are great for strength, flexibility and relaxation, so you really have nothing to lose by checking out what options are available at studios and gyms near you. Different facilities and teachers offer their own unique styles, so have fun experimenting!