The Basic Styles of Yoga

The Basic Styles of Yoga | Vanilla & Velvet
The yoga section of the blog is getting stronger each month as I continue to develop my own practice.  I know yoga can be overwhelming, especially if you are new or have only attended a couple classes.  So I thought I would introduce a few of the basic styles of yoga.  If you are thinking about starting up yoga I recommend finding and starting with a style that suites what you are looking for – wether that is mental or physical benefits.  When I first started yoga it was 100% physical, but I would say I fell in love when I allowed yoga to teach me to breath and I discovered what it could do for me mentally.   Put in the work, whether that is once a week for a few months or several times a week for a month in order to see and feel the benefits of yoga.

I personally have the most experience with vinyasa and iyengar styles.  I have tried out a handful of bikram, ashtanga, and restorative classes but I always find myself going back to the “flow” and variety which lives in vinyasa and iyengar.

Styles of Yoga

  • Ashtanga (Fast Sequence) a fast-paced physically demanding style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures.  Similar to the vinyasa style, ashtanga links  every movement to a breath.  However, ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order.
  • Bikram (Hot Yoga) is practiced in an environment where the temperature is 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit, which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. Bikram follows the same sequence of 26 poses each class.
  • Hatha (Gentle Yoga ) Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures, today Hatha is often used to describe a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures and move at a gentle and slow pace.
  • Iyengar (Proper Alignment) promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. The purpose is for students to recognize the subtleties of each posture and to pay attention to their musculoskeletal system and body alignment. Using props (blocks, belts, blankets, etc.) to accommodate a variety of fitness levels and special needs is common in Iyengar yoga.  Anusara yoga is a more modern form of Iyengar.
  • Restorative (Relaxing Yoga)  is a way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort – allowing muscles to relax.
  • Vinyasa (Flow) classes are known for their fluid sequences and intense practices. You flow from one pose to the next without stopping to talk about the details of each pose.  These workouts focus on sun salutations and the connection of breath and movement.

Never attended a yoga class?  Remember you have to start somewhere and just because you are “bad” doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga-.

“Those of you who are really bad at yoga, you’re in the right place. I hope everyone will allow themselves to be really crappy today, to walk away from being perfect. The real yoga isn’t in the perfect pose; it’s in the crappy pose that you are really feeling. You want to feel it from the inside out, rather than make it perfect from the outside in.” Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *