Yoga has been a trendy way of both keeping mind and body in shape in the United States for decades. Its general benefits are to relieve the stress brought on by a hectic lifestyle and to physically benefit its practitioners by reducing back pain and getting your general cardiovascular system in shape. Medical professionals often recommend yoga as a inexpensive and natural way to keep healthy.
Though it seems there is only one type of yoga everyone practices, there are actually a number of variations, each dependent on what’s right for you and your specific body. Some types actually require you to have experience in yoga before moving up, up, and away into the more advanced forms.
There are five types discussed in this article which are the said to be the most popular used by people of all ages and shapes. If you are new to the idea of yoga, read on to understand what each type is and how they can benefit you.
1. Hatha yoga
The first thing you need to know is the term “asana.” It is simply the yoga word for posture. Hatha yoga is basically any style of yoga that has asana(s) and pranayama breathing, which is specific to yoga in general. The goal is to develop a meditative state that will enhance your inner well-being. For newbies to yoga, this is the ideal starting point to begin to learn the various postures and is the reason for its popularity.
2. Vinyasa yoga
This type of yoga gets its popularity from being the next level up from Hatha yoga, where its focus is more dynamic movement by executing a series of postures. The key is to focus on one breath and one posture at a time but you aren’t required to hold the asanas for very long. This gives it a dynamic movement aspect that helps beginner practitioners keep moving while maintaining their focus throughout the session. You can look at this type as one that helps beginners transition to the more mental aspects of yoga rather than just focusing on the physical.
3. Hot yoga
This is a type of yoga that says what it means. Rather than working out in a comfortable climate you turn up the heat and practice in an environment of a minimum of 85 degrees. Sessions have been known to raise the temperature to as much as 105 degrees, but those who are new to hot yoga should proceed slowly. The purpose of ramping things up is to add an element of detoxification to the physical part of the yoga. If you are wondering if you should drink water prior to a session, the answer is it is strongly recommended. Also, bring clothing that is breathable since you are likely to be sitting in a small pool of your own sweat. Showering afterwards is also highly recommended.
4. Restorative yoga
The concept behind restorative yoga is to achieve a state of deep relaxation for the body. Interestingly, in addition to the standard yoga mat you will add props such as blocks and a blanket. Though this may sound more comfortable than other forms of yoga, you are challenged to hold the various asanas for five minutes or more. You should have some experience in the more basic types of yoga before proceeding to this one.
5. Ashtanga yoga
The reason this is one of the top three in popularity is because it is an athletic style and appeals to many people who want to take yoga to a much more serious level. It consists of the Series A and B sun salutations, a group of abs asanas, followed by a series of inversions. For experienced practitioners this is challenging as some of the poses are downright crazy, and the entire session will physically and mentally challenge you. Beyond the various forms you will also be required to focus on controlled breathing. Be warned though, as this is not a style for everyone despite its popularity.
As you can see, there is a type of yoga for everyone, and though these are among the most popular there are many other styles that will be just right for your level of time and commitment. But do not be afraid to move to the next level or try some of the more challenging types. They are popular for a reason, and will extend the benefits as a regular practitioner of yoga.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker