One of the questions I am asked most often is “which yoga is the best?”
I always respond the same way, it depends.
The type of yoga that is “best” depends on so many factors. It depends on the person practicing, it depends on the mood of the person, it can even depend on the time of day the person is practicing.
Here are a few things to ask yourself when looking for a “type*” of yoga to best suit you.
- What do I want to focus on with this yoga practice?
- What do I want to feel after this yoga practice?
- What is my primary reason for participating in this yoga practice?
These questions will give you a sense of what you’re looking for out of a yoga class and help guide you to specific types of yoga classes.
Here are a few popular types of classes available in most areas:
This is basically the source of all yoga. It generally encompasses all practices of yoga. It is were most yoga practices stem from, from the asana (pose) sequence as well as pranayama (breath) practice.
Vinyasa Flow Yoga
This type of yoga is very much the typical yoga people think of. It’s very fluid, moving from one pose to another in line with the breath. You breathe in with one pose and out with another. This can fluctuate in intensity, from power yoga which is usually very active, fast paced, and builds strength, to Ashtanga, which holds a bit longer in each pose.
This type of yoga is slow paced, holding poses for long period of time (can be anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes).
This type of yoga blends together spiritual practice with asana. This practice incorporates movement with breath as well as chanting specific mantras. The goal is to increase consciousness as well as improving vitality.
This type of yoga uses the same 26 poses in the same sequence. It stemmed from hatha yoga practice, joining movement with breath. Generally, Bikram Yoga is practiced in a hot room for 90 minutes.
There are many other types of yoga out there. I always recommend new yogis try different types of classes as well as different teachers. You may find you like the style, but a different teacher can really change the outcome of the class. Ultimately, like I said, the style of yoga depends on a lot of factors. The best thing one can do as a new yoga student is to be a YES, be open to the possibility of the class. You never know what you’ll find.
*(Note: I do not subscribe to types of yoga, for me its all about the sequence that is put together, not the name given to a sequence or flow)