Yoga: it’s all the buzz in the exercise world. However, do you know what style of yoga best suits you? Before you go buy a yoga mat (or go find the one that’s hiding in the closet), it’s important that you make sure you know the types of yoga offered to choose the one best for your body. Below is a quick overview of just a few styles of yoga.
In many instances, hatha is often confused for what many call “yoga,” which means a large number of yoga classes offered are in fact of the hatha style. Hatha yoga is often suggested for yoga beginners. According to WebMD, hatha yoga is focused on meditating and engaging in exercises that help “improve your flexibility, breathing, decrease stress and maintain health.”
During hatha yoga, the classes are typically slow paced and largely focus on breathing and perfecting yoga poses. In a class, there are a number of different postures including standing, sitting and, for those who are more advanced, headstand positions. Hatha yoga also focuses on breathing exercises that work to relax your body and focus your mind.
Vinyasa is highly focused on your breathing. Lululemon describes Vinyasa as a series of different poses, which “will move you through the power of inhaling and exhaling.” The movements during this practice are often slow and flowing. Vinyasa yoga involves more movement than that of hatha yoga, hence there is more physical activity involved.
Similar to hatha, vinyasa is also a good yoga practice for beginning yoga students.
Sometimes called “power yoga,” ashtanga is a strenuous yoga practice, which according to Ladies’ Home Journal involves controlled breathing with a “fast-paced series of poses.”It is often advised that before class you learn the different poses, as in ashtanga yoga you move rapidly from one pose to another.
Women’s Mag says there are “six established and strenuous pose sequences,” which are referred to as primary series, second series and so on. The goal of this yoga practice is to improve circulation, build strength and endurance and ease the mind.
Bikram yoga is more commonly referred to as hot yoga and is one of the up and coming yoga practices. This form of yoga is practiced in extreme heat conditions, wherein the room’s ideal temperature for this practice is typically 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is meant to warm your muscles to allow you to practice a deeper stretch, according to Livestrong.
Bikram yoga generally involves 26 yoga postures, including standing and lying positions, with focus on spinal alignment, healing and increasing balance.
Overall, extreme measures should be taken before taking this class. From having done this form of yoga before, I cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare a few days in advance. Be sure that you are well, and I mean well, hydrated a few days before taking your first bikram yoga class. The high temperatures cause you to, frankly, sweat massively and you need to be sure your body is ready for this. If you do not hydrate properly, some of the negative effects can include dizziness, vomiting and dehydration.
The next time you decide you want to practice yoga, be sure you know which style is best suited for you and your body.