Interestingly enough, the Sanskrit term “hatha” means any yoga practice that works with physical postures. However, in most studios today hatha yoga practice means slow, gentle yoga where each posture is held for a couple of breaths. It’s a wonderful way to begin your practice or work on correct posture as you deepen your yoga work.
Postures and breath are linked together in this flowing practice. You will get your heart rate to rise in these classes, making it great for people who love cardio and intense exercise. Instructors often play upbeat music, matching the poses with the beat.
Named after Bikram Choudhury, this type of yoga is all about bringing your body temperature to new heights. This style of yoga features a set sequence of poses in a room set to 40 degrees Celsius. The sequence include 26 postures, each performed twice. If you enjoy heat and a series of postures you can really get to know, this is the class for you.
Similar to Bikram, this class will help you move deeper into poses compared to non-heated classes. However, unlike Bikram, instructors aren’t beholden to the 26-posture sequence. Just remember, it is easy to push yourself beyond your limits in a heated room, so take it easy.
Calm your mind and body in a Yin yoga class. Unlike faster flowing classes, Yin poses are held for a couple of minutes each. It is designed to help your connective tissues lengthen and strengthen, as well as helping your mind settle into a meditative stance. If you’re looking to unwind, this class is for you.
Like Yin yoga, restorative yoga is about taking time to wind down. This slow-moving practice allows your body to get balanced again, and deepen your relaxation. You’ll use props like blankets, bolsters and blocks to support your body as you move through calming poses.
If you’re looking for a spiritual practice, this is the type of yoga for you. In this practice you perform kriyas, which are physical movements plus breathwork, and chant, sing and meditate. There are many schools of Kundalini yoga, depending on the practice it can be fast-moving or as slow as holding postures for as long as 15 minutes each. Know which school you’re going to before your first class, so you understand what to expect.
Ashtanga means eight limb path in Sanskrit. There are six series of yoga poses, so you’ll know what to expect once you get the hang of it. While some studios have instructors helping you move through the poses, Mysore-style classes require that you know how to move through the sequence yourself. This style is recommended for those with good knowledge of yoga and who like strict guidelines.
Practice your poses with precision in an Iyengar class. Like Hatha yoga, you’ll hold poses for a longer amount of time to help you sink into the correct posture. You’ll use props like blocks, blankets and straps to better align your body in each pose. If you’re new to the practice, be sure to start with a level one class to get settled into the techniques.
Yoga is an incredible practice that has been around for thousands of years. Choosing the right type of yoga for you will make your practice a better experience. We hope to see you on the mat!