What type of yoga is best for me? What can I expect?

shutterstock_300309830I often get questions about types of yoga.  Here is a brief description of the different types of yoga and what you might expect from a class.

  1. Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any practice that includes physical postures, or asana. Hatha derives from “ha” for sun and “tha” for moon, symbolizing life force and consciousness.  A Hatha class will generally be a gentle introduction to basic yoga postures.  You should be able to gain strength, flexibility, and relaxation from a Hatha class.
  2. Ashtanga came to the west in the 1970’s by Pattabhi Jois. This practice follows a specific sequence of postures with each pose linked to a breath.  This can be a hot, demanding practice performing exactly the same poses in exactly the same order each time.
  3. Restorative (or Yin) yoga is designed to focus on the connective tissue and fascia. Poses are held longer, often with props to help the body sink into the experience without exerting extra effort.  Classes are usually held in the evenings and can be very relaxing and rejuvenating.
  4. Vinyasa refers to a sequence of poses. A Vinyasa Flow yoga class offers fluid movement with smooth transitions from pose to pose.  If you like variety, this may be the right class for you.  The term vinyasa if often used to refer to a short sequence of poses within a traditional Hatha class.
  5. Bikram yoga was designed by Bikram Choudhary about 30 years ago. A Bikram class always follows a set sequence of 26 poses in a hot room.  It’s quite popular on the coasts, but I’ve rarely seen it offered in the MidWest.
  6. Hot yoga is performed in a heated room and may follow a Bikram sequence, an Ashtanga sequence, or some variation of these. If you try this, be ready to sweat buckets!!

Namaste, Fancy