Understanding the Different Styles of Yoga
While all yoga classes have options for all levels, some classes are more physically demanding than others. Just like with other fitness classes, your body might want different types of yoga on different days depending on how you are feeling. Here are a few types of yoga you might see in a studio along with a description of what to expect:
Vinyasa yoga: Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to “to place in a special way.” This is what most people think of when they imagine a yoga class. The instructor leads you through a series of asanas, or poses, in a flowing sequence where you often have continual movement.
Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a specific sequence of poses that was popularized in the West in the 1970s by K. Pattabhi Jois. The sequence is always the same from class to class, and it is a fairly rigorous practice. You might also see this on a yoga class schedule as the Primary Ashtanga Series.
Hatha yoga: Hatha is essentially the basis for most yoga classes, and is much more focused on getting into the poses and working on them, rather than flowing from one to the next. While you may not be moving as quickly, you’ll still seriously work your muscles and mind in a Hatha class!
Restorative yoga: Restorative classes use lots of props, like bolsters, blankets, and blocks, to help participants passively ease into restful poses. This class is very stress-relieving, and might also include sections of meditation as well.
Yin yoga: Yin yoga is a fairly new form of yoga, and is a good balance to intense physical practices. Similarly to restorative yoga, yin yoga often uses lots of props to allow participants to passively relax into postures. In yin yoga, though, the focus is more on connective tissue and releasing into more stretching postures.
Photo by Oluremi Adebayo