Decide on the yoga class that best suits your needs. A summary of the main styles paired with personality types and hints on how to get the most out of yoga.
Interested in starting yoga? You may be wondering which type of yoga is best for you or how you can obtain the most benefits from yoga. The style of yoga that suits you will depend on a few factors: your personality type, the instructor and class location.
Power Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Bikram Yoga Types
If you enjoy vigorous activity, are athletic, want a physical challenge, or like heating your body and sweating, then you’ll likely enjoy Power Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga or Bikram Yoga. These styles incorporate a flowing sequence of postures and specific breathing techniques which detoxify the body using heat and pressure. Due to the pace and structure of these classes, they are safest for those who have an established degree of body awareness and physical strength. They are not the best choice for beginners to yoga (unless it’s a class specifically aimed at beginners) or those with injuries.
Hatha Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, and Iyengar Yoga Types
If on the other side, you fancy a moderate pace, a gentler approach to activity, and you enjoy detailed information, then you will like Hatha, Kripalu or Iyengar Yoga. These classes are generally led slower, emphasizing alignment and customizing the practice to your individual needs. People with analytical minds rather than athletic ability tend to enjoy these styles.
Yoga Class Locations
The next question is where to practice yoga – at the yoga studio, a gym or a community center. Usually, the location of the class will dictate how often you attend, so the more convenient it is for you, the better. You may not find a perfectly suitable course or instructor right away but be persistent. After sampling a few different types of yoga, you will know what location works for you and which type of instruction helps you learn best.
Great instructors teach in all different locations. However, as a general rule, the most experienced instructors will teach at a yoga studio or even have their own studio. Wherever you attend class, be sure to ask about the instructor’s training and background. Fitness instructors are given a certificate to teach yoga after taking only a one-weekend workshop in some areas. Still, in India, for example,
In the area where yoga originated, teacher training can take years. It’s worth it to shop around for a well-trained instructor and to whom you can relate.
Yoga Class and Personal Practice
Whichever style and at whatever location you choose to practice yoga, the benefits you experience are directly related to the frequency of practice. At first, you may find it difficult to find time to add a yoga practice to your day, but after a while, you will find that you look forward to it. A few minutes daily is preferable to just one long session per week.
Practicing on your own also allows you to set your own pace, repeat postures, and practice what your body needs that day. Just as a musician who practices her instrument every day becomes proficient, so you too will become adept at playing the device of your body with your breath the more you practice. If you need the group energy or go with a friend for motivation, honor that and do what you can. Be mindful of the time you are practicing without wishing it was longer/shorter/more complex/more accessible, and let it be good enough.
Trying Different Yoga Styles
Each type of yoga has its advantages, and you may find that after some time with one class, you want to experiment with others. It is natural, and you can learn a lot this way. Once you have found the type that suits your particular needs, it is best to work with one teacher and stay focused. Changing styles all the time is stimulating but can hamper your learning in specific ways. It isn’t easy to understand if you are always going to a different class with another teacher and trying different styles.
Using the musician analogy, if one day the musician played jazz, another day opera, another day rock and roll, one day in a concert hall and one day in a studio. One day with one teacher and another day with a new teacher and so on, it would take them several years to become proficient in any one style. Focusing on one type consistently with attention will yield more excellent results.
Finding the Yoga Type for You
If you’re an athletic type who wants a physical challenge, you will likely enjoy active yoga styles like Bikram’s Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga. If you’re not particularly athletic and prefer a moderate approach, then you could try Kripalu Yoga, Hatha Yoga or Iyengar Yoga. By taking a class that easily fits into your current routine, you will increase the likelihood of attending class and obtaining more benefits.
The most qualified instructors can usually be found at yoga studios. Even if it’s short, a regular yoga session at home will yield more excellent than one or two lengthy sessions each week. It’s worthwhile to experiment with different styles and classes. Once you find the fit for your current needs, sticking to it will enable you to gain a depth of understanding which is invaluable. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to a fulfilling yoga experience, regardless of which yoga type you choose.