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Types Of Yoga: A Definitive Guide To 4 Popular Styles
The world of Yoga is vast and enlightening. Learn what style best resonates with you as you begin your journey.
There is a jungle of yoga practices and poses (asanas) out there, and finding your own preference and purpose in the world of yoga can be just as exhausting as your very first yoga class. Whether you are a complete beginner or have done a class or two, we have scouted the terrain to give you a digest of four of the most practiced yoga styles. With this guide, you can decide which style resonates with you the most, so you may focus on rolling out that mat and make space for yourself.
Different yoga styles cater to different needs and goals. Some types are fast-paced and physically demanding, while others are more restorative and relaxing. No matter what your day looks like, it's a good idea to take a break and make space for yoga.
CHOOSE FROM DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA
It’s all very well buying yourself a yoga mat and getting the outfit right, but to really get the most out of your practice, it’s key to understand a little bit more about the different types of yoga.
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root word yuj, meaning to yoke, join, or unite, and this points to the underlying principle of yoga: to create a closer connection between your mind and body through controlled movement and meditation. Though people have been doing yoga for more than 2000 years, at its root, yoga has always been all about cultivating that connection.
If you make space in your life regularly—and find comfort and ease in your practice—yoga can be a daily opportunity for you to breathe and be yourself in both mind and body.
4 OF THE MOST PRACTICED YOGA STYLES AND THEIR BENEFITS
Whatever type of yoga resonates most deeply with you, through consistent practice, you can find a sense of harmony with yourself and the world around you—with the Earth and the elements. If you afford yourself the time and space to unwind, really focus and find flow, and delve deeply into your poses, you may discover new, transformative dimensions of your mind and body with any style of yoga. If you make space in your life regularly—and find comfort and ease in your practice—yoga can be a daily opportunity for you to breathe and be yourself in both mind and body.
Hot Yoga is performed in a super-hot room with a series of 26 poses that are the same worldwide. A sweaty experience, indeed, and arguably not for the faint of heart. During the 90-minute Hot Yoga class, the room is heated to approximately 105 °F (41 °C).
Hot Yoga is certainly sweatier than any other yoga practice, and wearing gear with AEROREADY technology which uses sweat wicking or absorbent materials to keep you feeling dry so you may focus entirely on your practice.
Yin Yoga is closest to meditation. Targeting your deep connective tissues instead of your muscles, it’s a slower-paced style where poses are held for up to several minutes. In keeping with its roots in Chinese medicine and the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang, Yin Yoga combines stretching and relaxing into various yoga poses.
Yin Yoga is a slower-paced yoga practice that turns the focus to stretching and is less dynamic. Wear yoga gear that moves and stretches with you as you stand up or lie down in yoga poses.
Hatha Yoga is the style that typically comes closest to what most people think of when they think of yoga. In Sanskrit, the meaning of the word Hatha is ‘discipline of force,’ but Hatha Yoga has come a long way since its 1st-century origins. The techniques of Hatha were honed by 11th-century Hindu master yogi Gorakhnath, and the style started spreading in the West during the late 19th century, gaining mainstream popularity in the 1960s. A modern-day Hatha yoga class focuses on the physical exercise of the poses. Hatha Yoga classes tend to be slower and less flowy than more dynamic yoga styles, with poses being held for a more extended period.
Though the history of Ashtanga is still debated, it has been growing in popularity since the early 1990s as a more dynamic and demanding form of Hatha Yoga. Often promoted as a modern-day take on classical Indian yoga, many people know Ashtanga Yoga through the various spinoff styles of Power Yoga. During an Ashtanga class, you go through a fixed order of poses, focusing on your breath to maintain the pose before flowing into the next one.
The Ashtanga sequence has sun salutations, strong standing postures, twists, backbends, and many forward folds,” says certified yoga instructor and adidas Senior Key Account Manager Helen Johnson. “The practice stays the same—it’s you that changes day by day.”
Yoga is so much more than sweaty poses on a slippery mat—it’s about making space in your life for your yoga practice. The key to any yoga practice is finding your own preferred yoga style, choosing a class and wearing yoga gear that allows you to move freely through the poses.
Whether you are just getting started or have some yoga experience, we hope you will be rolling out that yoga mat to make space for yourself.
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