If you’re just getting started with yoga, all of the options can feel a little overwhelming. After all, there are over 100 different “schools” of yoga out there, all with varying levels of difficulty, movement and intensity. This is actually a good thing, however, as you have the option to choose a yoga style that fits well with your personality, your current fitness or ability level, as well as your personal goals. It means that it is possible for absolutely anyone to get started with yoga. All styles of yoga will help you build strength, improve flexibility and balance, relieve stress and tension, and help you quiet your mind. Here, we’ll go over some of the most common and most popular types of yoga, so you can find the best fit for you! As you read through these common yoga styles, keep your goals, fitness level, intentions and personality in mind. Do you want to manage stress? Relieve pain? Lose weight? Gain strength? Do you want to relax and sink into poses or keep it moving? Do you want to focus on the meditative and spiritual aspect of yoga or get a good workout? Are you a total fitness newbie or do you have an existing injury or medical condition? Having an idea of what you like and where you stand can help you choose the right class for you.
Hatha yoga focuses on simple poses that can be modified for any level and moves at a slow, relaxed pace. It is a great option for beginners to both yoga or exercise in general and is a good choice if stress-relief is your primary goal. Serious fitness junkies might be bored by the slow pace or lack of physical challenge of Hatha yoga.
A more in motion type of yoga, vinyasa moves uninterrupted from one pose to another and focuses on breathwork. Vinyasa is a good choice for those looking to break a sweat with their workout, but focuses less on the spiritual and meditative aspects of yoga.
Yin yoga is almost the exact opposite of vinyasa in that it focuses on just a few poses each class and holds them for long periods of time. It is about getting as deep as possible into a particular pose and is great looking for those looking to increase flexibility and balance. With a slow, meditative focus yin yoga is an excellent stress and anxiety reliever.
Another slow paced, gentle option is Iyengar yoga. Wonderful for beginners or those with an existing injury, Iyengar helps build stability and increase mobility. It is common to use props like belts or blocks to get into poses with proper alignment.
Power yoga, as you might have guessed, is all about building strength. This is a much more physical type of yoga that leaves little time for the more meditative aspects of yoga. Great for those looking to get in a solid workout, but perhaps not the best choice if you are new to exercise or simply looking for a slow-paced yoga practice.
If you were waiting for one of the more spiritual types of yoga to appear, here it is: Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga blends rhythm, movement, breathwork and sound to awaken and shift your energy. As you move through poses you will actively focus on your feelings in order to allow your energy to flow. If meditation and spirituality are part of your goals, Kundalini might be for you.
Last on our list is Kripalu yoga, a dynamic approach that blends breathing techniques, poses and meditation to calm and quiet the mind. You’ll be prompted by the instructor to listen to your body and how you’re feeling in order to move more deeply into or modify poses as necessary. This is another great choice for beginners, those with an injury or medical condition, or those simply looking to focus on mind-body awareness and relaxation.
Choosing the right type of yoga for you is as simple as getting down to your reasons for starting a practice and combining them with your personality, goals and fitness level.