Participating in yoga classes can have so many benefits. Yoga improves your flexibility and posture. It can also help you relax and gain control over your feelings mentally. However, there are many styles of yoga out there, and knowing which type of class to attend can be difficult if you're new to the practice. The best type of yoga for you really depends on your goals and personal preferences. Here are a few styles of yoga to consider.
Some yoga practices are more spiritual, whereas others focus more on the physical body and athletic aspect of the practice. Hatha yoga is a style that heavily focuses on athletic performance. If you are taking yoga classes with the goal of improving athleticism or sports performance, this is a good style to start with. Your instructor may discuss what muscles certain moves activate, the exercises to perform to stretch certain parts of your body, and so forth.
This style of yoga has a focused emphasis on breathing deeply while you perform certain postures. It really promotes relaxation and deep stretching. Your instructor will probably have you use some props like a Bisou ball or stretchy cables, since the poses are held for longer periods in Iyengar yoga. This is another good choice for those new to yoga and those who are less interested in the spiritual side of the practice.
Vinyasa yoga is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Hatha and Iyengar yoga. It is quite a spiritual practice in that your instructor will encourage you to meditate, clear your mind, and let your thoughts flow throughout the experience. Vinyasa yoga tends to have a lot of flow. In other words, you are not holding a single pose for a long time; you are instead moving from pose to pose throughout the session.
Yin yoga is another more spiritual type of yoga practice. It focuses on meditation and awareness of the mind and body. Yin yoga is less physically challenging and slower-paced than Vinyasa yoga. Most of the postures are seated and are rather easy to hold for a few minutes at a time. Yin yoga is a great choice for older participants or those recovering from sports injuries.
Which type of yoga sounds best suited to your goals? If you're still unsure, try attending classes in a few different styles, and then stick with the one you like best.