Some seasoned yogis might advise that the best way to learn yoga is to just unroll a mat and hop on. But that’s easier said than done if you’re unversed in the world of Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Kundalini, and the like. For starters, why do you want to practice yoga – for the physical benefits? The meditative benefits? The spiritual benefits? Or a combination? Of course, there is crossover among the different types of yoga, but knowing what you want to accomplish is the first step. If you’re looking for a practice that gives you a taste of everything, Vinyasa yoga is a good place to start because it combines a series of flowing postures with rhythmic breathing for an over-all body-mind workout. Here are some comparisons of just a few of the different types of yoga to help you get acquainted.
Ashtanga is a fast-paced series of six sequential postures which increase in difficulty, and integrate breath, movement, gaze, and posture. The movements are fluid and fast, but students can work at their own pace. (https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/not-all-yoga-is-created-equal)
Bikram is the original hot yoga which is a series of 26 postures practiced for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105°F. By adding heat, the idea is that it warms the muscles and can help yogis avoid injury, but that is also helps burn fat faster and detoxifies the body. (https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-know-which-yoga-practice-is-best-for-you-2018-4)
Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga focuses on the functional details and the alignment of each posture by holding each pose for longer periods of time, and incorporating props like belts, chairs, blocks, and ballasts for added stability and balance.
Power Yoga is a cousin of Ashtanga Yoga, as is sometimes referred to as fitness yoga. This type of practice uses mostly vinyasas, but with a focus on strength, flexibility, stamina, and stress
The best advice for any person new to yoga is to do some research on the different types of practices, and try different classes until you find the style of yoga that meets your needs. LHAA offers a variety of yoga classes designed for any ability level! Check them out here.
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