Now I will not claim to be an expert in this department… Like at all. But I do know when I was getting started into yoga and not having any idea, but feeling an urge to really buckle down and stick with it, see where it could take me. It did help to know what types of classes were out there and which class would help me to accomplish my goals. Below I am going to break down some of the most popular styles of yoga, and what to expect from that particular class. Hopefully this will help you to decide where you would like to start!
I am going to begin with my personal favorite. Vinyasa.
Vinyasa is a kind of blanket term for a range of yoga styles. Mostly Vinyasa focuses on matching movement to breath. Classes tend to be a bit more fast paced with little focus on the finer points of each pose. It is a constantly moving practice, so perfect for those who have a hard time sitting still! With it’s dance-like movements it is also known as flow yoga.
These classes can be physically challenging so expect to get your heart pumping! Don’t be discouraged if you try a class and it just isn’t working for you. You may need to try a few before “you find what feels good” as Adriene from Yoga with Adriene would say! You can check out a vinyasa flow I personally do from her youtube channel here.
As a beginner I would seriously check her site out. She breaks down poses for you, Reminds you through out the video about your posture and breathing and just straight up keeps you in the moment. She also has a Foundations of Yoga series that is definitely worth checking out if you feel unsure of your movements and poses.
Next we will venture into Ashtanga.
Ashtanga is similar to Vinyasa in the sense that it is more fast paced, and focuses again on breathing. However, Ashtanga is a series of poses performed in a precise, sequential order, linked together with your breath. This routine and stricter guidelines appeal more to those who enjoy a sense of order and accuracy.
An Ashtanga class aims to synchronize breathing and movement. It can be quite vigorous and demanding. This class requires some patients as it takes time to perfect all the poses in the sequence. Here I have attached a link to a Gentle Beginners Routine for Ashtanga yoga with Jeff Lichty. This video has some great reviews from aspiring Ashtanga yogis, and is just a taste to get your feet wet before jumping straight into the full series.
Anusara – meaning “to flow with grace”
A more uplifting and flowing style of yoga, classes tend to be filled with laughter. This style is great for those wanting an emotional yoga experience, it best suits those seeking a lighthearted environment. Anusara aims to connect the yogis with their own inner joy, creativity and playfulness.
Embrace your playful side in these classes and try not to take yourself too seriously! Have fun with it. I haven’t been able to find a really good Anusara youtube video for beginners, though I do feel this style would be more beneficial in a class setting anyways! If you know of any good channels to check out though and would like to share please leave a comment below!
We’ve all heard of Bikram yoga.
This for me was an intense (emotionally and physically) class. Every Bikram class features the same 26 posed and takes place on a 40 C room with 40% humidity. This class is for people who do NOT mind the heat, and want a physically demanding class.
Bikram is very beneficial for your circulation, and removing toxins from your body. It aims to move fresh oxygenated blood to your entire body! It’s also great for weight loss. Many yogis claim it has an addictive quality which could explain the enormous following!
Unless you have a room that you have specifically set up in your house, to handle 40 degree heat with high humidity I would suggest attending a class to try this style out!
Iyengar not highly known, but has great health benefits.
Iyengar is perfect for beginners, it is the practice of precision, and focuses heavily on structural alignment of each pose. This is a very detailed oriented class, and requires the yogi to be entirely focused. Poses tend to be help for long periods of time allowing the yogi to relax, balance, and breathe into each pose.
Health benefits from this class include, reduced neck or back pains (your chiropractor will thank you), and it also helps to alleviate anxiety and fatigue. This class does often require some props as lots of the poses are standing, and balancing. So if you are interested in home practice come prepare with a chair, blocks, and straps.
Yoga with Lin and Leo, who are both experienced Iyengar teachers have a 30 Day yoga series available on youtube that is definitely worth checking out. I have attached the link above.
Yin = passive.
Yin being a passive, slow paced style focusing on seated and supine poses that are held for longer periods of time is ideal for those who need a good long stretch after a workout, or hey even before the workout to get your ready for your day!
This style of class is great for athletes looking to stretch without exhausting themselves. Typically this class is practiced laying on the floor, and aims to still and cool your body down. Poses are generally held between two and twenty minutes. Great way to calm the mind, and really get into those deep tissues.
Often a yin class will be complemented with a meditation. So these classes are not for those who like me have a problem sitting still, and quieting the mind.
I am going to refer you back to Adriene for this style as well. She does a wonderful beginners intro to yin on her channel (can you tell I watch her channel A LOT?) it’s a wonderfully relaxing class that I hope you will all enjoy.
These are just 6 styles of yoga classes that are out there, but I encourage you to search for more, and find the best style of yoga that will get you excited to get back on your mat every damn day! If there are more styles or if I missed something that you would like to see covered in a future post please leave me a comment below!
Namaste my friends – xo
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