1. Hatha Yoga/Iyengar Yoga
It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures. “It’s a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is all hatha yoga,
Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice.
Here you’ll get nit-picky about precision and detail, as well as your body’s alignment in each pose. Props, from yoga blocks and blankets to straps will become your new best friends, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective.
2. Vinyasa Yoga/Slow Flow
Get your flow on in these dynamic practices that link movement and breath together in a dance-like way. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick.
Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and endurance athletes are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.
3. Yin Yoga
If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practices. Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. You’ll use props so your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked.
Best for: People who need to stretch and unwind. Keep in mind, Yin yoga is not recommended for people who are super flexible (you might overdo it in some poses) or anyone who has a connective tissue disorder..
4. Restorative Yoga
While it may feel like you’re not doing much in a restorative yoga class…that’s the point. The mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience deeper relaxation. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose.
Best for: Everyone.
In particular, it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has experienced insomnia or who struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.