Yoga is a great way to work out, stay fit, meet new people and even add emotional balance to your life. But if you’re a yoga newbie, choosing the type of practice that’s right for you can seem daunting. Each type of yoga has a different personality, so choose a yoga practice that fits the type of workout you want or need.
Anusara. These classes are great for first-timers and encourage you to get creative with your poses. Your instructor will walk you through a variety of positions while encouraging you to express yourself as you move. During an Anusara class, you can expect to laugh, dance and do your own thing. It’s a judgment-free zone, so check your ego at the door. You might even find yourself chanting and humming along with your classmates.
Ashtanga. Build strength with an Ashtanga class. Best for yogis with some experience or an athletic edge, you’ll flow through a sequence of set poses, building strength and muscle by maintaining alignment and leaning into your postures. The fast-paced, vigorous series matches your breath to your movement to encourage blood flow and strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Bikram. Also known as hot yoga, Bikram classes are conducted in rooms that are heated between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This holistic workout increases muscle endurance and flexibility as you hold poses for longer periods of time. Bring plenty of water, wear as little clothing as you feel comfortable in and expect to sweat. The heat can make newcomers feel a little woozy, so be sure to ease into a new hot-yoga practice.
Hatha. This type of yoga involves a sequence of postures, or asanas, that are meant to provide alignment of the bones, muscles and skin. Hatha yoga serves to open the body’s many channels, allowing energy to flow freely. This type of yoga also helps create balance and unite opposite forces within the body, spirit and mind.
Kundalini. For yogis looking for a more spiritual practice, Kundalini offers a unique combination of chanting and poses to unlock latent energy at the base of the spine. The practice includes meditation and breathing exercises to harness your emotional and spiritual potential, and leaves you feeling restored and balanced. The class can be emotional and provides a wonderful outlet if you’re looking to de-stress, get through a breakup, or tackle your latest promotion with ease.
Vinyasa. Arguably one of the most popular forms of yoga, Vinyasa is a fun, flowing class that builds from the traditional Sun Salutation pose series. Vinyasa is great for all levels, as most poses can be modified for an easier or more difficult workout, depending on your experience level. Many power and Ashtanga classes use Vinyasa poses, so this is an excellent place to start your yoga exploration and still get a solid workout.