As many of you know, yoga is a worldwide practice that promotes healthy bodies and minds. People all over use yoga for workouts, a way to relax and as a way to recharge after long days. The problem is, it can be an intimidating thing to walk in to if you don't know what you're doing - let's be real, some yogis are intense! Most beginners start out with what is called a vinyasa flow class, but it's important to make sure you're starting off with a type of yoga suited to your needs and what you're trying to get out of it.
There are many different styles of yoga, so here is a run-down of the most popular types to help you get started in a place you'll enjoy, with a style that will maximize your experience!
Hatha is all about breathing. It is a practice that focuses on holding each pose for a certain number of breaths. It is a slower form of yoga, and it teaches you how to use your breath with movement. This style is great for beginners or people with physical implications that make it hard to do more involved types of exercise.
Vinyasa is all about flow. In this style you move at a faster pace from pose to pose, meaning that it will get your heart pumping. Vinyasa is great for those who want to incorporate cardio into their lives without having to go for a run! This style is also a safe alternative for athletes.
3. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is not for the faint of heart. Personally, I ran competitively for seven years and have done countless strenuous workouts but, hot yoga is by far the hardest workout I've ever done. This style is great for tight muscles because the heat helps loosen you up as you move from pose to pose. This is another great one for athletes or highly active people, as well as body builders and frequent gym-goers.
4. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is similar to hatha yoga. In yin yoga the poses are held for several minutes, and places a large focus on connecting the breath to the movement. This is also a very gentle yoga which makes is great for a recovery day, tight muscles, or injuries. It does require a lot of patience and balance, however.
5. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is a style that includes props such as, blankets, bolsters and blocks. It incorporates movements that allow your body to relax and open up. This is great for people want an off day from working out, or for people that are mentally, emotionally or physically exhausted.
No matter what you are trying to achieve through your practice the most important thing to remember is that yoga is an activity that anyone can enjoy. And, just because you start out with one style doesn't mean you can't incorporate others in as you go along. Everyone is different, and the style that one of your friends enjoys might not be right for your body, so mix and match until you find the perfect practice for you. If you have specific health goals that you're trying to reach using yoga, check out this article for more information. Namaste!