For the beginner, choosing the right style of yoga can be confusing as there is a bewildering array of options. However, by asking yourself a few basic questions, you can pick the yoga form best suited to you.

  • Do you want to get in shape as well as find the mind-body connection?
    • Choose vigorous yoga styles like power yoga, Bikram yoga, or ashtanga yoga.
  • Do you want to focus on meditation and spirituality through yoga?
    • Try yoga styles that emphasize chanting, meditation, and the philosophic aspects of yoga, such as kundalini yoga.
  • Do you have any injuries or medical conditions?
    • Choose styles that focus on alignment like Swar Yoga or Iyengar yoga.

Here is a brief description of the popular forms of yoga:

Ashtanga yoga: for strength

A challenging yoga style, ashtanga yoga involves a preset series of poses always performed in the same order. It is physically demanding because poses flow one to the other constantly and daily practice is emphasized.

Ashtanga yoga is categorized into primary, intermediate, and advanced series and is usually taught “Mysore” style, where students work independently while the instructor provides guidance and help when required. The poses help develop targeted muscles all over the body.

Power yoga: for athletes

Another challenging style that is based on the sequences in ashtanga yoga, power yoga helps build upper body strength, balance, and flexibility. It also addresses body parts that become stiff due to cycling, weightlifting, and running like the shoulders, chest, mid and upper back, hamstrings, hips, and thighs.

The practice is meant to create heat due to the constant flow of poses and may burn as many calories as an intense aerobic session. Also called vinyasa flow, flow-style yoga, or flow yoga.

Bikram yoga: for quick weight loss

Also called hot yoga, classes are taught in a heated room (95 degrees-104 degrees F) with 40% humidity to cause profuse sweating and loosen tight muscles. The practice consists of a series of 26 poses, which helps you lose excess water weight.

Hatha yoga: for stress relief

A gentle yoga form, hatha yoga focuses on straightforward poses and moves at a relaxed pace, allowing the instructor to pay individual attention. It is a great style to start practicing yoga with and helps stretch tight muscles using a combination of poses, meditation, and deep breathing.

Swar Yoga: for Relief from Disease

Swar Yoga relies on the selection of the right yoga poses and done in a customized way depending upon individual disposition and body structure. Swar Yoga through its customized application focussing on individual body alignment corrects the balance of the Ida (cold) and Pingala (hot) channels of the body to provide tremendous relief from health disorders. To connect with a swar yoga expert, leave your details here

Iyengar yoga: for beginners

Another great style for beginners, Iyengar yoga is slow-paced and detail-oriented. Props such as pillow-like bolsters, blocks, and belts are used to perform the poses with the correct alignment. Poses are often held for longer periods of time instead of moving quickly from one pose to the next.

Iyengar yoga is great for experienced people who may have suffered injuries or are pregnant. Similar gentle styles of yoga are Anusara yoga and Viniyoga.

Kundalini yoga: for better sex life

More philosophical and spiritual in approach, kundalini yoga involves poses called “kriyas,” meditation, breathing techniques, and chanting. The purpose is to free energy in the lower body and allow it to travel upwards through all the chakras, thus releasing one’s sexual energy. In kundalini practice, the exploration of the effects of the breath or “prana” is essential.

Yin yoga: for flexibility

The opposite of vinyasa flow, yin yoga involves holding a few positions for 5-20 minutes each and allowing time to slowly stretch muscles and connective tissue. The slow, passive approach makes the practice meditative and is great for goal-oriented people looking for stress relief and anxiety reduction.

Anusara yoga: for meditation

The mind-body-heart connection is key in anusara yoga, which involves vinyasa-style flow along with a focus on alignment. Props are used to achieve the perfect pose and practitioners are encouraged to find inner peace, uplift themselves, and seek “the light within themselves.”

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