While getting a pretty mat is a good way to embark on a yoga practice, trying to google the difference between hatha and yin yoga can harder than holding a half-moon pose. If you had attended your first yoga class and didn’t enjoy it, it’s not that yoga and you aren’t meant to be — it’s probably because you haven’t found a style that works for you. Here are the five most popular styles, although it’s important to note that as hip hop yoga studios and goat yoga practices become the hottest classes to go for in the recent year, more classic forms of yoga have been adapted to be more fitness-focused.
Hatha classes are usually a good place to start a yoga practice because it tends to be more low key, and slower paced. It focuses on basic postures, such as downward-facing dog or the warrior poses and breathing tends to be rhythmic. Hatha is also a good practice for anyone looking for a good stretch or to work on their alignment.
Vinyasa tends to be a more vigorous practice, incorporating a series of poses called sun salutations. Each movement of the sun salutation is matched to the breath. A typical class would see an instructor taking you through a number of sun salutations to warm up the body before moving to intense stretching.
A meditative practice that lets your body get comfortable, focusing on lengthening the connective tissues in the body. It’s meant to compliment muscle-forming yoga practices, letting the tired muscles relax with gravity and rest. Yin is usually performed with the assistance of props with little or no music in class. While it’s restorative, you need to exercise patience to stay in postures for longer periods of time.
Kundalini yoga is a combination of breath, movement and sound. Deriving from the Sanskirt term ‘kundal’ which translates to coiled energy, the idea of Kundalini stems from the belief that we all have energy gathered at the base of our spine, and through the practice, we bring it up and through the seven chakras. You tend to hold each posture for an extended period, sometimes up to five minutes and you’ll also be taken through chanting, and meditation.
Kundalini yoga is a combination of breath, movement and sound. Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury who’s more than just a little bit infamous in the yoga world, Bikram yoga is practiced in a heated room. The heat loosens up tight muses and facilitates profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set of 26 poses, although not all classes practice this.