April 14, 2024

Which style of Yoga is best for me? By Jessica Matthews

Which style of yoga is best for me? With a number of different styles of yoga to choose from, it’s important to be familiar with some of the specifics of each in order to ensure that you select a style that is in lie with your unique health, fitness and wellness goals, as well as your particular needs and interests. Below is a general overview of five of the different style of yoga currently being offered (this is by no means a comprehensive list)-

Hatha- This term, which can encompasses a variety of physical types of yoga, is typically reflective of gentle, slower-paced yoga classes which are great for beginners as well as for those seeking a solid, foundational understanding of basic yoga postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) to help reduce stress.

Vinyasa- Much like Hatha, this term may also be used to describe a variety of class styles. The term vinyasa in its Sanskrit roots means “to place in a special way,” as this style of yoga is comprised of breath-synchronized movements designed to create flow throughout the practice (this style of yoga commonly referred to as “flow yoga.”)

Ashtanga- Sometimes referred to as “power yoga,” this physically demanding practice is a great option for those looking for a more serious physical challenge, as it is devised of six series of asanas which increase in difficulty.

Bikram- Also commonly referred to as “hot yoga” (although not all hot yoga classes are Bikram classes), this practice is comprised of a set sequence of 26 asanas that are performed in a heated room. Bikram classes are typically 90-minutes in length, and because of this it’s important to keep hydration in mind, as it takes time for the body to acclimate to exercising in heat.

Iyengar- This style of yoga focuses on bodily alignment, and encourages the use of props to facilitate precise body position within each pose. Emphasis is placed on holding the postures longer (for several breaths) as opposed to quickly flowing from one posture to another, making it a suitable option to accommodate those with any special needs, such as previous injuries or structural imbalances.

Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT, is an exercise physiologist, yoga teacher, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, adjunct professor, blogger and fitness personality. Jessica strives to open minds, ignite passion and inspire the world to health and fitness through purposeful movement, quality nutrition and kind words. She has been featured as a fitness expert on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including Shape, Self, Oxygen and Oprah.com. For more health and fitness information, follow Jessica at www.twitter.com/fitexpertjess


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