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 and help you work out what the best yoga for beginners is!
Yoga can be used for a variety of reasons, but let’s take a look at 7 of the more common types that you’ll probably find when just starting out.
As beginners getting into yoga, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of the different branches of yoga, to help work out one that you might be interested in doing.
So let’s dive right in and take a look at some different types of yoga for beginners, 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’re probably referring to Hatha Yoga. So if you’re a yoga beginner, this is probably where you’ll start.
The word Hatha translates to force. This branch of yoga focuses on posture exercises, also known as asanas. The asanas are typically aligned with nature or some animal or bird forms.
For a beginner, certain asanas or postures can be somewhat difficult to achieve. These postures are needed to be held for some time.
Hatha Yoga classes are slower-paced classes in which you would hold poses longer. In order to improve the postures, you will need to keep practicing some of the simple postures before moving on to more advanced ones, just like anything else we do in life.
Once you’ve really nailed some of these beginner asanas like the Tadasana, you can begin to move onto more challenging poses like the Crow Pose!
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, like an increase in energy and you might even find yourself toning up!
- 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 for beginners. This branch of yoga is actually 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 focuses 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.
What are the benefits of Iyengar Yoga?
Some of the key benefits of Iyengar Yoga are:
- Improve your physical condition and psychological health.
- It will help to alleviate some 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 and Yang.
Yin Yang is a Chinese concept of showing how opposite ideas can be complementary and are needed to complete a whole. It is a duality that represents our universe – Hot & Cold and Male & Female are dualities; the same principle applies to this branch of yoga.
Let’s apply the yin-yang concept to our bodies: Yin represents the stable, fixed, and hidden part of the body. These are 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 for beginners 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 at yoga.
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. It’s the most popular type of hot yoga that people do.
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 or 41 degrees Celcius with 40% humidity.
It has started to become more popular in the last few years and is probably another you might have heard about.
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 which can sometimes be a little challenging yoga for beginners, but we’ve included it anyway because it’s a great stepping stone into more advanced practices.
Ashtanga Yoga starts with five sun salutation A’s and five suns 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.
Ashtanga yoga is usually without music and is sometimes performed in silence. There could be no verbal instructions provided too.
It’s definitely a yoga that skews more towards an advanced yoga practitioner.
What are some benefits of Ashtanga Yoga?
- Improves your body strength and can help make 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. This is a very popular form of yoga that is now taught in most places around the world.
This 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 how easy it can be, what looks like flowing movements, and the pleasant music that accompanies it.
What are some benefits of Vinyasa Yoga?
- Helps you burn calories.
- Contributes to well-toned muscles.
- Helps relieve stress.
- Depending on the class, is relatively easy.
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is a type of yoga that has seen a cult-like following spring up over the last several years from celebrities like Russel Brand singing its praises.
This yoga for beginners is still relatively physically and mentally challenging, however, and requires someone to perform a series of poses or “kriyas”.
Kriyas are a series of repetitive movements coupled with intense breathing – Things like chanting, meditating or even singing are often associated with Kundalini yoga as well.
What are some benefits of Kundalini Yoga?
- Helps improve mental and physical aspects of your wellness.
- Is a great way to focus on your spirituality
- Really foccuses on breathing tecnhiques
What’s The Best Yoga For A Beginner?
So, now you have a rough idea of some of the best beginner yoga’s out there.
Chances are good, you’re going to want to start with Hatha yoga, purely because it’s something that is taught in a lot of places, and is a more ‘traditional’ type of yoga.
However, if you do get the chance, you really should give something like vinyasa yoga a go, as the movements create a really freeing experience!
Did we miss something? What was the yoga style that got you into yoga early on?