So you have decided to start participating in yoga classes, great! Which one will you be taking? Yes, there is more than one type of yoga class each with their own nuances and benefits. In today's quick blog we will take a look at a few different types of yoga to better help you decide which class you may want to start.
Hatha yoga can be thought of as the umbrella of all yoga. It is not a specific type or style of yoga, it is all yoga practice. Hatha is a combination of two Sanskrit terms: ‘ha’ meaning sun, and ‘tha’ meaning moon. Hatha represents the joining and balance of the masculine (sun) with the feminine (moon). The words Hatha, and Yoga, are sometimes used interchangeably.
A Vinyasa class is sometimes referred to as a ‘flow’ class because of the constant moving your body flows through, using the breath to guide you. In these classes you can expect a lot of movement, your body flowing through each asana on every inhale and exhale. There is no permanent or set list of asanas (poses) in a Vinyasa class, so each class can be wildly different depending on the teacher. So if you find yourself in a Vinyasa class you do not particularly like, simply seek out another instructor who’s style you will better relate to.
Bikram Choudhury is the creator of Bikram Yoga. His style of yoga practice incorporates 26 poses, performed in a 90 minute class. It is always the same set of asanas, never changing. This series of poses is done in a room which is heated to a temperature of 105 degrees, and the room is held at around 40% humidity. Performing a yoga practice in this atmosphere rids the body of toxins through profuse sweating, and allows for greater muscular flexibility. Bring two towels with you, they both will be soaked by the end of class—I mean you will literally be able to wring out your towels they will be so soaked! Also bring a bottle of water, you will need the replenishment.
There is a set series of poses in an Ashtanga practice. In most Ashtanga classes, there is no teacher leading a class. Instead, the teacher is there to adjust your poses, mind your safety, and remind you of the poses if you forget. You are welcome to arrive or leave class whenever you choose, because there is no instruction; it is up to you. As you learn the sets of poses, you will practice one certain series each time you go to class, and the teacher will let you know when you are ready to move on to the next series, or add a few more poses. This is a very physically demanding practice and appeals to those who are self-motivated. It may take you months or years to perfect the primary series of poses before you are ready to move on to the intermediate series.
Power yoga is a style similar to that of Ashtanga, as far as the physically demanding side goes. There is no specific set of poses, so every class can be very different. The emphasis in these classes is strength and flexibility. They are very popular with those who enjoy exercising and are quite fit. There is a limited amount of chanting and meditation in this style.
Now that you learned about a few different types of yoga classes, you can make a more informed decision as to which class you might take.
Have you taken any of these yoga classes before? Which one did you really enjoy and worked for you? Please let us know in the comments below!