Confused by all the different classes at your local yoga studio? We’ve decoded 5 popular styles to help you decide which one is best for you.
What it is: Hatha yoga is the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of body postures (asanas), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) with the goal of invigorating both mind and body. It’s also where almost all modern styles of yoga are derived from.
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Who it’s for: Hatha is a slower-paced practice, which focuses on breathing and basic poses, so it’s a great practice for beginners.
What it is: Vinyasa is also called flow yoga because of the fluid transitions between poses. Breathing is extremely important in this practice, as the movements are synchronized with the breath.
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Who it’s for: There is a lot of movement and variety in Vinyasa, so if you’re hoping to sweat this style is for you.
What it is: Bikram is hot! And by hot we’re talking temperature. Done in a sauna-like room at about 40.6 degrees Celsius and 40% humidity, a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises are performed during every class.
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Who it’s for: The high heat allows you to dig deep into the stretches, simultaneously building your stamina and flushing toxins from your body through intense perspiration. Hot yoga is not recommended for pregnant women and those with heart problems should consult a doctor first.
What it is: A highly meditative practice, Yin yoga uses Taoist traditions and focuses on passive postures that target the connective tissues in the body, like the hips, pelvis and lower spine. It may be slow, but you need patience, as the poses are held anywhere from one to 20 minutes.
Who it’s for: Yin yoga is a great starting point for those who want to quiet the mind with meditation and is also ideal for fitness buffs in need of releasing tension in overworked joints.
What it is: Named after its founder B.K.S. Iyengar, this practice is a form of Hatha yoga, which teaches there is a correct way for every pose. To help achieve ideal alignment, the practice relies heavily on the use of props like blocks, straps, harnesses, chairs and boards. Ashtanga principles are also integrated with focus placed on linking specific asanas together.
Who it’s for: This is a great practice for more advanced yogis who want to better their alignment, but is also an ideal way for beginners to gain an understanding of the basic postures.