With all the different types of yoga in existence today, choosing the right one can be hard for a beginner. It’s important to choose the variety of yoga that’s right for you in terms of fitness level, your spiritual and physical goals, and you health. Here are a few of the most common types of yoga to help you pick the best one for you and your situation.
Iyengar Yoga: This type of yoga focuses on precise movement and the alignment of the body. It often uses straps, blocks, and other props to help less flexible beginners perform the same movements as experts. These items can also help people with injuries adapt movements to their individual bodies. This allows everyone to perform yoga poses with comfort.
This type of yoga pays a lot of attention to detail, but poses are flexible and can be modified, making it a good choice for people who suffer from neck or back pain. Adjusting the poses can also help people with other injuries. Iyengar Yoga is a good choice if you’d like to get a good basic knowledge of classic yoga poses, giving you the fundamental for other types of yoga later on.
Teachers of Iyengar yoga are likely to focus on inner awareness and alignment. Inner awareness begins with the body, but then moves to other parts of ourselves as we continue with practice on a regular basis.
Ashtanga Yoga: This type of yoga has also been referred to as “power yoga”. This is because flowing, powerful movements are a big focus of this discipline. Lunges, pushups, and other stamina- and strength-focused movements that aren’t usually associated with yoga may be involved. People who are looking for a more challenging practice, or are looking to build strength after overcoming injuries, particularly to the back, may wish to practice this type of yoga.
If you’re already fairly athletic, but want to add more balance to your routine than running, cycling, or working at the gym can provide, Ashtanga Yoga may help you. It can help you improve your concentration, and build muscles you don’t normally use.
Bikram Yoga: This yoga type is also called hot yoga. This is because its chief feature is being performed in an extremely warm room. Heat can help tissues to stretch, making this kind of yoga a good tool for increasing your flexibility. However, if you have a heart problem or other cardiovascular disease, the warmth of the room in which Bikram Yoga is performed can be dangerous, because it places extra strain on this system.
Viniyoga: This type of yoga links breathing and flowing movements into individually adapted exercises. If you have a back problem or neck injury, this variety of yoga might be a good fit, as it’s easily adapted to each person.
Raja Yoga: Designed to liberate the mind through meditation, this type of yoga works well for people who are interested in engaging in intense concentration.
Bhakti Yoga: A form of devotional yoga, this practice focuses on the surrender of the self in the face of the divine.
Mantra Yoga: Known also as the “yoga of potent sound”, this practice focuses on the liberation of the mind via the repetition of sounds which have power. “Om” is the most familiar, but other mantras include “ram” and “hum”.
There are plenty of different types of yoga to pick from. Before you join a class, talk to your teacher and find out his or her philosophy of yoga and beliefs on the subject. This will help you decide if the type of yoga is a good fit for you.
Want to learn more about how yoga can change your life? Check out Sarah Russell’s new book – The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga and Meditation – at: