If you are new to the practice of yoga, then you may find it overwhelming at first. If you want to learn more, then a yoga class can be very beneficial. But how do you find the right yoga class for you?
There are so many different yoga classes available, and they all have different names, techniques and positions to consider.
In this guide, we will cover the various different types of yoga, who they are best for, and what to expect in a yoga class of this kind. This can help you narrow down your search and find classes that suit your needs!
How To Choose A Yoga Class
When looking for a yoga class, there are a few things that you need to consider. Yoga classes often practice a particular type of yoga, and there are often so many to choose from! We’ll go over the details below, but you should also think about what you want to get out of the classes.
For instance, think about your experience level, and whether you want to learn more or become a better yoga practitioner.
Some classes will also focus on posture and alignment, whereas others may focus on breathwork, meditation, balance, or longer poses. Others work with props and focus on the body and anatomy.
So, if you know what aspects of your mind and body you want to focus on, you can narrow down the list of yoga classes much more easily.
You may also find that yoga classes have experience levels posted on them. For instance, a class may have 1-2 or 2-3, or 1-3 posted outside. Level one is a beginner, level two is a more intermediate level, and level three is advanced or experienced.
Some classes have 1-3 levels welcome, which means that the instructor is able to help beginners with more instruction, but it can also be beneficial for those who are more experienced.
If you are still unsure, then it is a good idea to call the class organizer or speak to the instructor for more information and advice.
Different Types Of Yoga
As mentioned before, there are many different types of yoga, which serve different purposes. Here are seven of the most common classes you may find available.
Hatha is likely the most popular and well-known type of yoga. Hatha is the physical practice of yoga, and how the poses connect to the sun (ha) and moon (that) energies. Hatha is typically a slower paced class, where you would be expected to hold the poses for longer periods of time.
However, the poses are generally quite gentle and relaxing. In this class, you would be expected to perform a combination of poses called asanas, and practice breathing exercises -which is called pranayama, and sometimes meditation too.
The purpose of Hatha yoga is to open up the mind and body. As Hatha is more slow paced, it is great for beginners and yoga enthusiasts alike. Hatha is a great introduction to the practice of yoga.
Another popular form of yoga is called Vinyasa. Vinyasa may also be referred to as ‘flow’ yoga, as this type focuses on keeping a rhythm and flow when transitioning from pose to pose.
During Vinyasa, breathing is very important, as the movements are synchronized with your breath, and you are meant to keep the movements flowing. As a result, Vinyasa can be very tiring, and you will be sweating after this class.
You can also find ‘power’ Vinyasa, where the transitions between poses and movements will be much more fast paced, and you will have to keep up with the breathing techniques too.
There is not as much focus on proper alignment, as this can be more of a workout, but good alignment is always a plus.
Vinyasa is best for those who want more of a workout, and can be suitable for beginners if they attend multiple classes, but it is often more suited to intermediate practitioners.
If you prefer meditation, then Yin yoga may be best for you. Yin Yoga is very meditative, and can help you calm the mind and soothe the senses. In these classes, you will have to participate in passive postures that are meant to target specific areas of your body.
However, these poses have to be held for very extended periods in order to release tension from the muscles and joints. If you love meditation, and you want to take care of your body, then Yin yoga may be for you.
Bikram is a type of hot yoga! In these classes, the rooms are heated to around 105 degrees fahrenheit and 40% humidity. In Bikram yoga, you will need to follow a specific set of 26 poses in rigid order.
There may also be breathing exercises to follow. Bikram is great for helping you sweat out toxins, work on your stamina and stretches, while improving flexibility. Hot yoga is not for everyone, so keep that in mind.
Iyengar Yoga is based upon Hatha yoga, and the practice pioneered by B.K.S. Iyengar, who wrote ‘Light On Yoga’, a definitive guide to yoga practice. Iyengar is one of the world’s most respected yoga teachers and spent his life studying yoga.
In these classes, the emphasis is on getting each specific pose right, rather than jumping between poses and moving at a fast pace.
To achieve better alignment, the instructor will help you find the correct pose, and will encourage the use of props such as chairs, harnesses, blocks, boards and more.
These classes are great for beginners who want to learn more about the fundamentals of yoga poses, and why the correct positioning is important, but Iyengar is also good for more experienced yogis who want to improve their alignment.
Ashtanga yoga is similar to Vinyasa, but has six pose sequences that are practiced consecutively at a fast pace. These poses are completed at the same time as the breath, and can help build a good understanding of the basics of yoga.
That being said, it is fast paced, so beginners would do better to go to a beginner Ashtanga class rather than signing up to any Ashtanga class.
Restorative yoga focuses on relaxing the body in various poses. You will not stretch too much, and you will find it soothing and calming. This type of yoga is best for recovering from workouts or events, perfect for a rest-day in between workouts.
To summarize, there are so many different types of yoga classes to choose from, with various expectations, poses and techniques.
With this guide, you can take a look at which style you would prefer, so that you can book that particular class, and get started on improving your yoga skills as soon as possible!