What makes yoga so unique and appreciated by so many walks of life is that every practice is different and there are a wide range of styles to choose from. One person could be craving something intense, potentially done in a hot room, and the next might be looking for a restorative practice full of deep stretches and slow movement.
Whether you’re new to yoga or looking to expand your practice, we’ve broken down some of the most popular and our favorite types of yoga.
What to expect: In this practice, you’ll hold each pose for between five and 10 breaths, with a strong focus on stability and building strength. It’s suitable for beginners and experienced yogis – helping build the foundations of breath and body awareness.
What it’s good for: Improving your sleep, reducing stress, and enhancing mindfulness
What to expect: Movement is coordinated with your breath and movement to flow from one pose to another. For example, throughout practice, a yogi might flow from downward dog to chaturanga to upward dog. It’s also a great style for those who need movement for meditation.
What it’s good for: General toning, strengthening, lengthening and aligning of the body. Bonus – it can also help develop cardiovascular fitness, stamina and endurance.
What to expect: To some, this can be one of the most intimidating yoga practices. While any style of yoga can be done in a hot room, most hot yoga classes feature powerful postures, vinyasa and sequences. The temperature varies from studio to studio but tends to range from 80 - 100 degrees. Be sure to check in ahead of time and remember to hydrate.
What it’s good for: Preventing injuries, increasing balance and flexibility, better awareness of breath and mental endurance.
What to expect: While Ashtanga and Vinyasa are similar and both utilize flow techniques, this practice has a set sequence of poses that you can't deviate from. It also has a greater emphasis on breath work and meditation.
What it’s good for: Building and developing strength, flushing the nervous system, and calming the mind.
What to expect: Evolved from Hatha Yoga, Iyengar maximizes the opening of the body and places a great importance on how the posture is executed. You’ll likely utilize props, such as yoga blocks, to assist alignment and perfect the sequence. Pro-Tip – Iyengar is all about quality over quantity so don’t be taken back if you get less poses in one practice.
What it’s good for: Learning poses and understanding their benefits, building safe alignment.
What to expect: This slower practice allows you to deeply lengthen muscles and fascia (connective tissue.) Don’t be surprised if you end up holding poses for longer than you’re use to – some instructors will keep postures for up to ten minutes.
What it’s good for: Start to increase mobility and flexibility, as well as deeply work into connective tissues of the body.
What to expect: The name says it all – Restorative Yoga creates an opportunity for your body to calm down and create a deep space of relaxation. Expect to spend more time in relaxing poses and use a lot of props.
What it's good for: Relaxing your mind, releasing tension, and complementing more active practices or workouts besides yoga.