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6 Common Types of Yoga

So you’ve finally mustered up the courage to try yoga. But where to start? You may be surprised to find that not all yoga classes are the same. There are many different types of yoga out there, whether you want a more physically demanding class or an easy, relaxing class. Each style is a little different from the others but sometimes you’ll find commonalities in the sequences and poses. Many modern yoga classes even incorporate music. If you’re seeking a traditional style of yoga, here is a guide to six common types of yoga.

1. Hatha Yoga
Hatha is Sanskrit for “force.” Many view Hatha Yoga as the original and mother of all yoga practices. A Hatha Yoga class is usually slow-paced and often involves holding poses for about 5 minutes. Classes can last 90 minutes to 2 hours. There is usually no flow but the class is perfect for beginners as it introduces you to a raw form of yoga and teaches you all the common poses. This class is all about basics and focusing on each pose slowly and deeply.

2. Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga)
This is the style of yoga that is practiced at Hot Yoga Chelsea. It is widely considered the most popular form of yoga in America. It is typically 60 or 90mins long and practiced in a studio heated to over 105 degrees. You are certain to sweat during this practice. The heat allows your muscles and body to relax allowing you to stretch deeper into the postures. Moving swiftly through the sequence of 26 postures combined with the intense heat can send your mind into a frenzy but the key is to fight for the focus and balance. While this practice is perfectly suitable for beginners, it also challenges your muscles, veins, ligaments, and organs.

3. Vinyasa Yoga
Another common form of Yoga in America is Vinyasa. This style requires you to coordinate your breath with movement creating a flow through the postures with swift and smooth transitions. This class is often customized and based on the teacher’s creative preference. Many studios also incorporate a modern athletic flow to challenge the body through a workout. However, as a beginner you should look for a slower class.

4. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga focuses on alignment and precise movement. The class also doesn’t have a flow and each pose is held deep for a long period of time with the goal of expanding with each breath. This style of yoga incorporates a lot of props like blocks, straps, bolsters and blankets. The goal of each pose is not just to stretch your muscles but also to align your body and bone structure while focusing on improving balance and strength. This class is recommended for those with injuries and chronic stiffness or pain.

5. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini focuses on breath work and activating your Chakras. This yoga makes you more aware of the connection between your mind and body. This style is all about releasing the kundalini energy in your body that may be trapped within. Kundalini is one of the most spiritual styles of yoga and often includes meditation, chanting, and deep breathing from the core. Students often say this class is mentally challenging. Like all forms of yoga, it requires a lot of patience and being present.

6. Yin Yoga
This style of yoga is very slow paced and gentle. Though you may hold each pose for at least five minutes, they tend to be on the softer side and performed laying or sitting on the floor. It’s another great form of Yoga for those dealing with injury or chronic pain. Yin is also practiced in a heated room that helps you expand your muscles and improve circulation. This is a perfect form or yoga for those looking to calm their nervous system and get rid of stress.

This quick guide to common types of yoga can never supplement the real experience. That’s why we recommend to just go out and try them all and see which fits best for you. You may even work in a rotation of 2-3 of your favorite types. You may also find that one type of yoga calls to you over another at different points of your life. No form is better than the other, so it all depends on your goal, interest and intensity level. For a Bikram-inspired Hot Yoga class check out our schedule for classes right in the Flatiron/Nomad area of Manhattan. Regardless of which type you choose, all these forms of yoga can bring out the best in you physically and mentally.