Yoga styles – how to find the right one for you
There are so many different Yoga styles. So many things to try and such a hard decision what to start with. If you’re a Yoga-newbie it’s even harder to know what’s right for you. In my last post I already mentioned a few Yoga-styles and gave some general tips for Yoga-beginners, but today I want to define some of the many different styles a little more precisely to help you choose.
- Hatha Yoga
A good place to start as it introduces beginners to yoga with basic asanas, breathing- and meditation-techniques. The classic Yoga-style – it’s body related and focuses on energy and Asanas.
- Vinyasa Yoga
A dynamic style that focuses on the flow and the breath. Asanas are connected smoothly to synchronize body movements and the breath. Sun Salutations are a big part of the flow. There is no routine here, each time a different flow is possible.
- Ashtanga Yoga
A powerful Yoga style developed by Pattabhi Jois that builds stamina, is dynamic and physically challenging because it involves lots of movement. There are 6 series with each a fixed set of Asanas.
- Yin Yoga / Restorative Yoga
A calm Yoga-style that focuses on relaxation, recovery and restoration of the body and mind. Mostly simple Asanas are used to gently stretch and open the body and often props like pillows, cushions and blankets are used to help the body rest.
- Kundalini Yoga
A more spiritual and calm Yoga style that focuses on the awakening and raising of the Kundalini energy that lies coiled up in the root Chakra to reach a state of enlightement. An intense style with plenty of breathing exercises, long holding of Asanas, chants and meditations.
- Iyengar Yoga
Named after B.K.S. Iyengar. Many props like blocks, straps, cushions and blankets are used in this style that focuses on proper alignment. Each Asana is held for a longer time to really sink into it with body and mind. A good style for beginners as the different props are a great help.
- Power Yoga
Like Ashtanga Yoga this is a more physically challenging style, developed by Bryan Kest und Baron Baptiste. The Asanas are connected in a flow and breath is used with each movement. Unlike Ashtanga Yoga there is no given set of Asanas.
- Bikram Yoga
A hot Yoga style that is practiced in room with around 38°C and 40% air humidity that includes a set of 26 poses. Developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s.
- Jivamukti Yoga
Developed by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984. A powerful and dynamic Yoga style with challenging poses. Often music is played during classes. It also includes mantras, sun salutations and relaxation at the end of every class. Meditation in movement.
- Anusara Yoga
Developed by John Friend in 1997 to open the heart. A very spiritual style to become calm and peaceful. Focuses on inner self and the mind.
- Aerial Yoga
A playful yoga style where you hang around in silk hammocks. A challenge for mind and body to ‘let go’ while floating in the air.
- Acro Yoga
A playful partner Yoga style with partner Asanas, massages and a shared acrobatic flow, founded by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer.
Try it out
There are even more styles out there, but too many to name them all. In my opinion it’s best to try out as many styles as possible to see what you really like. Especially when you think you know what you like, you might be surprised by quite the opposite.
I also got surprised when I found out that I love restorative Yoga a lot, especially on days when I lack energy. In the beginning of my practice I usually only went to powerful classes and avoided relaxing and calmer classes. Here’s a blogpost about my experiences with restorative Yoga.
On days when I feel more powerful I will pick an advanced-Vinyasa class or even Ashtanga.
So far I didn’t want to devote myself to one single style as this would feel limiting for me. I’m curious to know and learn more and I always want to keep my mind open for new experiences.
So here you go: Pick a new class every now and then and try it out! :)