The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There

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Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There

You’ve decided to finally

start doing yoga

— but after Googling classes in your area, your head is spinning. Should you try Ashtanga or Iyengar? And what’s the difference between

hot yoga

and Vinyasa? The array of options can be enough to scare newbies off the mat for good.

But here’s why you shouldn’t be scared: Like cross training, incorporating a variety of types of yoga into your regular practice can help

keep you balanced

, says Nikki Vilella, senior teacher at Kula Yoga Project and co-owner of Kula Williamsburg. “Try a few different studios, teachers and styles. Then, stick with the one that resonates with you for a good amount of time and be dedicated to the practice,” says Vilella. “The first day you don’t like a class shouldn’t be a reason to bolt and try something new.”


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Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. “A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things,” Vilella says. “Someone who is

hyper-mobile

and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and

stiff

.”

So with all the choices out there, where do you start? Don’t lose your ujjayi breath (that’s yogi speak for calming

inhales and exhales

). We’ve got your definitive list of classes that specialize in yoga for beginners — plus tips for identifying the style you might like best.


Yoga for Beginners: The 9 Types You Need to Know

Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There


1. Hatha Yoga

It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to

any

yoga that teaches

physical postures

. “It’s a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is

all

hatha yoga,” Vilella says.


Best for:

Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice.


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The Woom Center Immersive Yoga

2. Vinyasa Yoga



Get your flow on in this dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick, so be prepared for your

heart rate

to rise. Teachers will often pump music, matching the beats to the sequences of the poses.


Best for:


HIIT

lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and

endurance athletes

are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.

The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There


3. Iyengar Yoga


Here you’ll get nit-picky about precision and detail, as well as your

body’s alignment

in each pose. Props, from

yoga blocks

and blankets to straps or a ropes wall, will become your new best friend, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective. Unlike in Vinyasa, each posture is held for a period of time. If you’re new to Iyengar, even if you’ve practiced other types of yoga, it’s good to start with a level one class to familiarize yourself with the technique.


Best for:

Detail-oriented yogis. If you like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form, you’ll love Iyengar — teachers share a wealth of information during class. Iyengar can also be practiced at any age and is great for those

with injuries

(though you should consult with a doctor first), Vilella notes.


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Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There


4. Ashtanga Yoga


If you’re looking for a challenging yet orderly approach to yoga, try Ashtanga. Consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat. The catch is that you’ll perform the same poses in the exact same order in each class. Some studios will have a teacher calling out the poses, while Mysore style classes (a subset of Ashtanga) require you to perform the series on your own. (But don’t worry — there will always be a teacher in the room to offer assistance if you need it.)


Best for:

Type-A folks. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll like Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.


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Try Daily Burn’s Yoga Made Simple

Yoga for Beginners: Guide to Every Type of Yoga


5. Bikram Yoga


“All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do.”

Prepare to sweat: Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. Remember, the vigorous practice combined with the heat can make the class feel strenuous. If you’re new to Bikram, take it easy: Rest when you need to and be sure to

hydrate beforehand

.


Best for:

People who gravitate toward a set routine. Those who are newer to yoga might like Bikram because of its predictable sequence.


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Yoga for Beginners: Guide to Every Type of Yoga


6. Hot Yoga



Hot yoga

is similar to Bikram in that it’s practiced in a heated room. But teachers aren’t constrained by the 26-pose Bikram sequence. While the heat will make you feel like you can

move deeper

into some poses compared to a non-heated class, it can be easy to overstretch, so don’t push beyond your capacity.


Best for:

Hardcore

sweat lovers

. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class.

Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There


7. Kundalini Yoga


Celebrity devotees including actor Russell Brand and author

Gabrielle Bernstein

have given Kundalini a cult-like following. Yet, this physically and mentally challenging practice looks very different from your typical yoga class. You’ll perform kriyas — repetitive physical exercises coupled with intense breath work — while also chanting, singing and

meditating

. The goal? To break through your internal barriers, releasing the untapped energy residing within you and bringing you a higher level of self-awareness.


Best for:

People looking for a spiritual practice. Those who are seeking something more than a workout may enjoy Kundalini due to its emphasis on the internal aspects of yoga, including

breath work

, meditation and spiritual energy.


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Yoga for Beginners: The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There


8. Yin Yoga


If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga,

Yin yoga

poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper

connective tissues and fascia

, restoring length and elasticity. You’ll use props so your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked.


Best for:

People who need to stretch and unwind. Keep in mind, Yin yoga is not recommended for people who are super flexible (you might overdo it in some poses) or anyone who has a

connective tissue disorder

, Vilella says.


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 Restorative Yoga


9. Restorative Yoga


While it may feel like you’re not doing much in a

restorative yoga class

…that’s the point. The mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience

deeper relaxation

. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose.


Best for:

Everyone. In particular, Vilella says it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has

experienced insomnia

or who struggles with

anxiety

. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.

Ready to try yoga? Head to

DailyBurn.com/YogaMadeSimple

for a free 30-day trial.

Originally published August 2015. Updated September 2017.


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This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at dailyburn.com

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