So, you’ve heard about yoga and you’re thinking about getting into it, but a quick google search shows a bunch of different types of Yoga, and now you’re overwhelmed. This article will help break it down a little for you!
Yoga can be used for a variety of reasons, but let me first explain to you the 7 best yoga types for beginners. As beginners in this domain, it is good to obtain an understanding of the different branches of yoga, to help work out one that you might be interested in trying out.
So lets dive right in and take a look at some different types of yoga, and what they’ll mean for you!
What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha Yoga is the most commonly known form of Yoga. If you refer to Yoga without specifying the type or branch, then you refer to Hatha Yoga. The word Hatha translates to force. This branch of Yoga focusses on posture exercises, also known as asanas. The asanas are typically aligned with nature or some animal or bird forms.
For a beginner, the asanas or postures can be somewhat difficult to achieve. These postures are needed to be held for some time. Hatha Yoga classes are a slower-paced class in which you would hold poses longer. In order to improve the postures, you will need to keep practising some of the simple postures before moving onto more advanced ones, just like anything in life. Once you begin to retain these postures without difficulty and have focussed breathing, you will realize the true benefits of Hatha Yoga.
What are the benefits of Hatha Yoga?
Some of the key benefits of Hatha Yoga are:
- You will notice a physical change in your body. Your muscles will be toned better.
- You will increase your feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
- You will feel more relaxed due to controlled breathing.
What is Iyengar Yoga?
Iyengar Yoga is another well-known branch of Yoga. This branch of Yoga is derived from Hatha Yoga. It was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar and is named after him. Mr. Iyengar died at the ripe old age of 95, so he was definitely doing something right!
Iyengar Yoga focusses on the alignment of the body to a particular posture. It also does not stretch the limits of your body. Props, such as yoga blocks, or ropes, can be used in Iyengar Yoga. The sequencing of the poses is very specific and needs precision to be followed. The timing to hold the pose is also longer, so this is also another slow-paced class.
Below is a video that provides further details on Iyengar Yoga.
What are the benefits of Iyengar Yoga?
Some of the key benefits of Iyengar Yoga are:
- Improve your physical condition and psychological health.
- You will get rid of your postural issues.
- You will be able to release emotional tension.
- Also notice a positive increase in your energy.
What is Yin Yoga?
To understand Yin Yoga, one must know the concepts behind Yin Yang. Yin Yang is a Chinese concept of showing how complementary opposite ideas are needed to complete a whole. It is a duality that represents our universe. Hot & Cold and Male & Female are a duality; the same principle applies with this branch of yoga.
Let’s apply the yin-yang concept to our body. Yin represents the stable, fixed and hidden part of the body. This is the stiff connective tissues such as the tendons and ligaments. Yang is the changing, moving, and visible part of the body. Yang is the mobile and pliable muscles and blood.
Yin yoga is a meditative practice that is slow-paced when the postures or asanas are held for a longer period of time. This can be from 45 seconds to 2 minutes if you are a beginner. While the more advanced practitioners can hold the poses for more than five minutes.
In a yin yoga class, the poses are mostly performed on the floor and focus on the inner thighs, pelvis, hips, and lower spine.
What are some benefits of Yin Yoga?
- Calms and balances the mind and body.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Increases circulation.
- Improves flexibility.
- Releases fascia and improves joint mobility.
- Balances the internal organs and improves the flow of chi or prana.
What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Yoga was designed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, who brought the practice to California from India. A Bikram Yoga class consists of the same twenty-six yoga postures and two breathing exercises. It is ninety minutes long and done in a room that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity.
Its started to become more popular in the last few years, and is probably another you might have heard about.
You can read more about Bikram Yoga in my detailed article here
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Derived from a Sanskrit term, Ashtanga means “Eight Limb path”. Most people consider Ashtanga Yoga as the traditional style of Indian Yoga. This form of Yoga includes a very demanding sequence of postures or asanas. Ashtanga Yoga starts with five sun salutation A’s and five sun salutation B’s and then goes into a series of standing and floor postures.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois introduced Ashtanga Yoga to the United States in the early 20th century. The Yoga is usually without music and sometimes performed in silence. There could be no verbal instructions provided too. It’s a yoga that skews more to the advanced yoga practitioner.
What are some benefits of Ashtanga Yoga?
- Improves your body strength. Makes your muscle well toned.
- Relieves tension from the body.
- Helps manage stress.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Again a word from Sanskrit, Vinyasa translates as “to place in a special way”. This refers to the placement of the yoga postures. Vinyasa Yoga is derived from Ashtanga Yoga which you read about a short while ago. This is a very popular form of Yoga that is now taught in most places around the world. The Yoga focussed on the movement that is coordinated with your breath. You tend to flow from one pose to another, almost similar to a dance or tai-chi.
Vinyasa yoga has become very popular due to what looks like flowing movements, and pleasant music.
What are some benefits of Vinyasa Yoga?
- Helps you burn calories.
- Contributes to well-toned muscles.
- Helps relieve stress.
What is Anurasa Yoga?
Anurasa Yoga is a modern form of Hatha Yoga that was developed by John Friend in 1997. The word Anurasa is derived from a Sanskrit word and means ‘flowing with grace’, ‘following your heart’, and ”flowing with nature’.
This form of Yoga was hit by a major scandal due to which John Friend had to leave the founding organization. Anurasa Yoga now has very few teachers associated with it. However, it’s still a good type of Yoga to know.
What are some benefits of Anurasa Yoga?
- Helps improve mental and physical aspects of your wellness.
- Makes you feel more energetic.
- Also makes your body more flexible.
7 best Yoga for Beginners – Conclusion
That concludes my article on the 7 best Yoga for beginners. No matter what you aim to get out of Yoga, you will find a branch that is useful. Feel free to try our the Yoga branch that you think works best for you. Let me know in the comments section, which Yoga branch you choose and why.