After hearing all the compliments about yoga from its participants, including “Yoga makes me a better person” (wow!), you might be interested in trying it for yourself as well. You may be able to find a good yoga partners along the way too. But have you ever wondered, while looking at a gym class schedule, “What are the differences in styles of yoga and which one is right for me?” If you are new to yoga, this would be the first question that comes to your mind before you step into one of its classes. Here are some tips to answer your questions.
Hatha is a general category of yoga practice that includes most of the yoga styles practiced in the West. You can expect the basics of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (yoga breathing exercises) in a slow pace in its classes. It is a gentle form of yoga. It is great for beginners.
In order to optimize its results, Bikram repeats the same 26 posture sequences each class, in a room heated to 105 degrees. Heated rooms warm the muscles and allow you to work more deeply and safely into the various postures while sweating out toxins.
This is a dynamic form of yoga and a very popular yoga style. Vinyasa keeps you move quite rapidly from one asana (posture) to the next . . . in conjunction with pranayama (breathing). If your mind wanders off in a slow-paced yoga class, Vinyasa is the right one for you. With great music playing and its flowing movement, Vinyasa often creates a theatrical atmosphere.
Branched off from Vinyasa, Power Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga are also practiced, largely by yogis. Expect a faster pace, more fitness-based moves, and more sweats in Power Yoga, while you will be challenged by more vigorous postures in Ashtanga.
Yin is a slow-paced yoga: each pose is held for several minutes. If you are looking for calmness and the meditational aspects of yoga, or some deep stretches, Yin is the right style for you.