The 6 Basic Types Of Yoga Schools You Can Sign Up For
Ashtanga Yoga: Take this class if your goal is to improve strength, flexibility and stamina (toning is an added benefit). General Format Of An Ashtanga Yoga Class: The class duration can last anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours, depending on breath work (ujjai breathing). The class starts off with two versions of sun salutations, followed by standing and seated asanas, and back bending and inversion postures.
Ashtanga Yoga Level: Usually meant for intermediate and advanced practitioners. If you plan to learn this style, be sure to choose a beginner level class, also known as a led class.
Bikram Yoga: It involves 26 hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises practiced in a heated room set to 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity level. Take this class if your goal is: weight loss, and increasing flexibility and strength.
General Format Of A Bikram Yoga Class: The total duration is 90 minutes. It is a dialogue driven class. Arrive 15 minutes early and be sure to stay hydrated and light on the stomach. The class begins with pranayama breathing, followed by an intense standing series which graduates to a spine-strengthening series on the floor, and finally winds down with kapalabhati breathing and a relaxing savasana. Level: Beginner.
Hatha Yoga: It combines yoga asanas or postures with breathing exercises or pranayama. Hatha yoga comes in a wide variety of classes: Hatha Flow, Hatha Vinyasa, Traditional Hatha Yoga, and Bikram Yoga. Take this class if your goal is: Increasing overall focus, flexibility, relaxation, and restoration.
General Format Of A Hatha Yoga Class: It starts off with a prayer or chant, followed by setting intentions for class, performing postures, breathing techniques, and winding down with savasana. Level: Generally ideal for beginners. But, many newer classes are being customized for weight loss or fused into innovative, “more fun to do” hybrid yoga styles. Be sure to check beforehand.
Iyengar Yoga: Yoga asanas are performed with the assistance of props to ensure precision of body alignment. Take this class if your goal is: To support joints, decrease back and neck pain, improve muscle strength and improve your body’s overall alignment.
General Format Of An Iyengar Yoga Class: It involves standing, seated and twisting asanas accompanied by back bending poses and inversions. Level: Beginner and intermediate.
Kundalini Yoga: It is a meditative form of yoga. It taps into opening your chakras to evoke relaxation of the mind and energizing of the body. Take this class if your goal is: To be more spiritual and de-stress.
General Format Of A Kundalini Yoga Class: The class is broken into four parts: breathing, meditation, performing postures, and inducing relaxation. Level: Open to all levels.
Vinyasa Yoga: For the common person, let’s refer to vinyasa yoga as speedy yoga; speedy because you link one posture to another in continuous motion like a dance without breaks or long holds. You will see several classes incorporating this style like: Vinyasa Flow, Hatha Vinyasa, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Power Yoga. Take this class if your goal is: Weight loss.
General Format For A Vinyasa Yoga Class: Surya namaskars or sun salutations followed by standing asanas, seated asanas, and inversions. The crux of the class will be to build your body’s strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility. And obviously all these qualities are added benefits to the inches you will be trimming. Level: If you are a beginner, only attend classes that are labeled for beginners or open for all levels. If you choose an Ashtanga class, be sure it is a led class (not a Mysore Ashtanga class (these are self-practice classes).
It can often be confusing, trying to decide what style of yoga to practice if you are not tuned into the current yoga studio scene or gym trends. But, the key to a successful practice is to go for a class that resonates with YOU.
The first step towards this is to decipher what your goals are, and what you hope to gain from yoga. You must be clear about what you want.
Are you looking for an intense heart pumping class that will give your body some sculpting and toning? Or, are you looking for a meditative practice to calm your mind and help you de-stress after a long day at work? Or, maybe something that falls in between?
Well, yoga schools and styles are aplenty, but knowing the basic six will help you find your match. Read on.
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