4 Major Styles of Yoga to Check Out

August 30, 2016

  • by
  • Sara Fruman

Ready to begin the yoga practice but have no idea where to get started? Well, first you need to decide what style of yoga will help your body chill out, cool down, or fire up. 

Below you’ll find our ultimate guide to the major styles of yoga. Check them out and decide which style is right for you. 

Hatha Yoga

If you want to get down to basics and get a solid base practice, Hatha Yoga is a great place to begin; all modern yoga styles stem from this practice.  

Hatha is a traditional form of yoga that refers to a set of physical asanas (poses) and sequences of asanas, designed to align your skin, muscles and bones. These poses are intended to open the many channels of the body, especially the main channel or spine, so that energy can flow freely. This can be healing to the rest of the body and be a great supplement to whatever workout you’re already doing.

Summary: Want to slow things down and get back to basics? Go for Hatha.

Vinyasa Yoga 

Many people are scared off by yoga’s slow-moving pace, so if you are looking for more movement, Vinyasa Yoga may be a good choice for you. And Power Yoga is usually a faster-moving form of Vinyasa. 

The word “ Vinyasa”  means to place in a special or mindful way –it’s all about alignment and movement. It may also refer to flowing from Chaturanga (high to mid plank) to Upward-Facing Dog, which is a major feature of many Vinyasa practices. It will cause you to break a sweat or give you a more-intense cardiovascular workout, which can likely replace a day in the gym.  

In addition, Vinyasa Yoga is perhaps the most creative and playful style of yoga, so you won’t get bored by repetition. It’s often referred to as moving meditation.

Summary: Want diversity and movement? Try Vinyasa.

Hot Yoga

Are you a fan of getting hot and sweaty? If you answered yes, the Hot Yoga (or Bikram Yoga) practice may be for you. 

Traditional Bikram classes run for 90 minutes and consist of 26 poses, as well as two breathing exercises. They’re practiced in 40°C (104°F) with a humidity of 40 percent, which lubricates the muscles and increases flexibility. Variations on the traditional sequence are common now, and many Vinyasa classes are also heated. 

Hot Yoga is a great option for those who crave consistency and you “ type A”  personalities.

Summary: Type A who likes to sweat and know what to expect? Go hot.

Restorative Yoga

Been going hard in the gym, on the slopes or out on the trails? Consider full-body relaxation through Restorative Yoga —a practice that helps renew the body's health, strength, and consciousness.

This practice typically involves holding poses for a long period of time with the help of props to relax your body. It is ideal for someone who needs a rest or has been previously injured. It’s also intended to combat the physical and mental effects of everyday stress and helps ailments like headaches, backaches, anxiety, and insomnia through restful postures, pranayama and sometimes guided meditation. 

Summary: Ready to slow it down and heal? Begin a restorative practice. 

Now that you know where to start, check your local listings to see which styles are available in your area. Practicing with an experienced teacher is always the safest way to start no matter what style you choose

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