10 Yoga Styles: Find Your MatchShift into downward dog with the most ideal practice for you
Your thermos is full of electrolyte water. Your Danskin tights are washed and ready to go. Now what?
With such a wide variety of yoga classes out there, it may be difficult to choose the best one for your mind, body, and soul. Don’t sweat it — here are the top 10 most popular options to consider before you and the mat become one.
Slow-paced and often replete with simple breathing exercises, Hatha is a fantastic class for yoga beginners. Benefits include the ability to manage stress, achieve a sense of self-realization, and retreat to a calm, meditative state.
Encompassing the mind, body, and spirit, Vinyasa often moves at a faster pace while taking participants through a variety of asanas (poses). Although the practice can vary according to the instructor’s liking, classes almost always begin with a number of sun salutation repetitions. Vinyasa can be physically challenging, but devotees often report enjoying stronger and leaner muscles.
Power yoga quite possibly offers the greatest cardio workout when compared with other forms of the practice. The key to its intensity? A constant and fast-paced flow when moving from one asana to the next. Many popular yoga studios even kick the workout up a notch by making sure members practice in a heated environment.
Iyengar, which emphasizes body alignment, often requires participants to hold poses longer than other varieties of yoga. This is a fantastic practice for those recovering from an injury, or even for advanced yogis looking to tighten the precision of their asanas.
This style mostly focuses on releasing the energy located at the base of the spine. It also often uses chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises throughout class, rather than poses, to awaken the full human awareness in each individual.
Founded by internationally renowned yoga master Kali Ray, this practice features a number of fluid, dance-like movements that work one’s posture, breathing, and focus. People who embrace this style of yoga often applaud it for its ability to help them achieve inner peace and awareness.
Developed by husband and wife duo Ganga White and Tracey Rich, White Lotus classes are taught at a 40-acre center situated smack dad in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara, California. Practitioners who venture on retreats are able to fully immerse themselves in the yoga experience in order to achieve the founders’ mission.
The brainchild of yoga master Bikram Choudhury, this internationally recognized style is typically practiced in a room that’s heated between 95 and 100 degrees. Followers maintain that the discipline, which always leads practitioners through the same 26 asanas, allows them to flush toxins from their bodies (thanks to all that sweat) while building lean, strong muscle mass.
A gentle form of yoga, this practice encourages individuals to discover their true spiritual being by holding different poses for varying lengths of time. A class is typically divided into three stages: learning the asanas, holding them while concentrating on inner awareness, and flowing from one pose to the next in a (hopefully) meditative state. The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is a great resource for would-be yogis curious about this style.
This form of the exercise is founded on the Five Tibetan Rites, which are yoga-inspired moves designed to help people feel energized, revitalized, and healthy. Benefits also include a clear mental state, weight loss, and even longevity.