As you may know by now, I teach yoga – specifically power yoga – but I love to take all different types of classes, including hatha and yin!
Now you may be thinking to yourself, ‘what the hell were all of those words that she just said!?’ It’s okay, it can definitely seem confusing at first, but I am here to break it down for you.
Yoga can sometimes be viewed negatively. I have heard many people say that they are afraid to attend yoga because they are worried it will be religious, too slow, too hard, too preachy, etc. Unfortunately, I myself have been to some classes where I have not felt comfortable. However, please know that yoga is not meant to make you feel bad about yourself! If you have a bad experience, try not to let that stop you from trying a different class. And to help you figure out what you may prefer, here is a breakdown of some different styles:
If you have never done yoga before, this can be a great place to start. Hatha is a very gentle, slow-moving, yoga that focuses on centering, breathing, and holding poses for longer periods. Hatha is also great if you are just looking to wind down and enjoy a more gentle stretch.
Once you know the basics, vinyasa takes it up a notch. You will flow from pose to pose in vinyasa, as opposed to holding poses for longer periods of time. You will also notice that the classes will focus on linking your breath with every move that you do.
Power yoga, is a somewhat more vigorous, faster paced style of a vinyasa flow, and it is my personal favorite. However, power yoga can (not always) be performed in a warm or heated room. You will flow just like you would in a vinyasa class, as well as link your breath with the poses. Music is also often played. Power yoga is what I personally teach, and in my classes I always play music to go along with the tone of the class (so upbeat while we are flowing, and slower, more relaxing music while we cool down). It is also common in power yoga to work up a sweat and get in a great workout, as well as a stretch.
Ashtanga is very much like power yoga, and focuses on building heat, strength, and helping you to sweat! Ashtanga is sometimes used interchangeably with power yoga, but they can vary (especially depending on the studio), so make sure you read the class descriptions first. The biggest difference between ashtanga and power yoga is that ashtanga always follows a set series of postures, while power yoga has a little bit more freedom. You may see more variety and change in a power class, but the style and poses will be very similar to ashtanga.
Bikram gets hot! Bikram yoga is typically practiced in a 105ºF room, and you can expect consistency across any studio or class that you attend. Bikram is a set series of 26 poses that you will do every time. Some may find repeating the same poses every class redundant, while others love the consistency and improving upon each pose every time. The classes are all 90 minutes, so please make sure that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after class.
Kundalini is not your average type of yoga – nor does it really “look” like what you may think a typical yoga class should look like. Kundalini focuses on repetitive movements, breath work, and even some chanting and meditation. The goal of this style of yoga is to really help you break through any internal barriers, to open up more, and have more self-awareness.
Iyengar is a more technique-based yoga. You will use props, receive plenty of direction and have a more intense focus on proper alignment. Each pose is held for much longer so that you have the chance to understand and feel the precise alignment of each pose.
Yin is another one of our favorites! Yin is a slow moving practice that holds poses for 4-5 minutes or longer. Don’t worry, you will not hold a standing pose for that long. You will spend most of your time in some variation of a floor pose. Yin can be quite challenging in the sense that your body really begins to open up and stretch when holding in a pose for so long. The purpose of holding the poses this long is to help work into your connective tissues (tendons, fascia, and ligaments), to help increase circulation and flexibility.
Similar to yin, restorative yoga focuses on holding poses for longer periods to help you have a gentle stretch. It is a more relaxing, and passive, style of yoga that uses a lot of props to help you relax and let go.
No matter what style you prefer, just have fun with it! You do not need to stress or worry – and if for some unfortunate reason the class is not welcoming, then move on to the next class! So go grab your mat and sign up for a class or try the flow below: