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Different Types of Yoga

Updated on March 21, 2013
Yoga classes are a popular workout with many health benefits.
Yoga classes are a popular workout with many health benefits. | Source

Yoga practice is on the rise, and with its numerous mental and physical health benefits it is no surprise. There are many different types of yoga practice, so if you are considering taking classes take a look at the variations of practice to determine which one is right for you. Whether your goal is to recover from an injury, lose weight, stay fit during pregnancy, gain flexibility or focus your mind, there is sure to be a yoga class for you.

Acroyoga and Aerial Yoga

Acroyoga and aerial yoga are a beautiful combination of acrobatics and yoga for those who want a thrilling, challenging class. In acroyoga, two people work as a team performing dynamic poses together. One person acts as the base while the other takes on the role of flyer, using balance and core strength to carry out elevated poses. A third person acts as spotter ensuring the poses are carried out safely.

Aerial yoga mimics trapeze and aerial arts with the aid of silk hammocks and slings. The hanging poses and inversions in this class decompress joints while increasing strength, balance and flexibility. Aerial yoga is gorgeous to watch and a super fun practice.

Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Flow and Power Flow

Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Flow and Power Flow classes are perfect for those who want a heart-pumping workout routine. These classes flow quickly through a series of strengthening poses. Emphasis is put on aligning your breath with the movements, which makes the practice calming and de-stressing while providing an intense workout. Because these classes are fast-moving, beginner yogis may find themselves struggling to keep up. Be forgiving of yourself and stick with it and you'll eventually get the hang of it. Familiarize yourself with the poses and increase your muscle strength to make the class easier to follow.

Bikram, Barkan, Hot Yoga and CorePower

Bikram, Barkan, Hot Yoga and CorePower classes are performed in high heat and humidity. The sauna-like conditions are meant to cleanse your system from toxins and loosen your muscles for deeper stretching. Yogis hold poses and breathe while sweating it out. While these classes may be beneficial for improvement in flexibility, be careful not to overstretch and cause injury during class. Also drink lots of water to prevent dehydration, and if you find yourself dizzy or nauseated call it quits to avoid heat stroke.

There are many types of yoga classes available, so take time to find the right one for your workout needs.
There are many types of yoga classes available, so take time to find the right one for your workout needs. | Source

Chair Yoga

As the name suggests, exercises in chair yoga are performed with the support of a chair. These classes are an excellent option if you have limited mobility or difficulty standing for extended periods. Seniors and beginners are frequently drawn to chair yoga, but classes at all skill levels are available.

Iyengar and Anusara

Yoga classes under the names Iyengar and Anusara are gentle, focusing on perfecting form. These classes are great for beginners who want to learn to correctly hold poses at a pace that is not overwhelming. They are also good for yogis looking to perfect their form or correct strength imbalances. Props such as belts and blocks are sometimes used to aid alignment in different postures, called asanas. If you like a fast-paced workout, this may not be the class for you, as instructors take time to correct every person's alignment.

Prenatal Yoga

Pregnant women who are new to yoga as well as those who are already experienced will enjoy prenatal yoga classes. Adaptations appropriate to your trimester are made to ensure a safe, healthy session for you and your baby. In addition to helping a woman improve strength, flexibility and relaxation during pregnancy, these classes also teach techniques that can be used during delivery. Hip openers, side stretches, all-fours positions and standing poses are the favored positions in prenatal yoga.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is an extra gentle class meant to ease muscles into relaxation. If you are recovering between intense workouts or easing back into fitness post injury, this is the yoga class for you. Props are used in restorative yoga to help the body hold poses for extended lengths of time. Lying down or sitting positions may be performed under a blanket to keep muscles warm in this relaxing class. Through passive stretching restorative yoga opens the body slowly.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga is a fun yoga class that has recently started trending. A Stand Up Paddle Board serves as your mat as you take yoga off land and into the water. Nature appreciating yogis enjoy this class, where balance is thoroughly tested. The board's paddle is incorporated into the workout, and external variances like wind make every session a unique challenge. Different size boards are used depending on a person's weight and experience level. Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga can also help teach you to focus and push through fear if you are adverse to falling into a large expanse of water.

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    • Maggie.L profile image

      Maggie.L 3 years ago from UK

      I've just started Bikram yoga. It's hard work doing yoga in intense heat but it's strangely addictive! Great article on all the yoga choices available.

    • Faith A Mullen profile image
      Author

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Hi Mama Kim! Thanks so much for your votes. There are even more yoga types than I have listed. I just stuck to the ones that are most popular right now! Prenatal yoga looks very cool. Hope you are able to find a class!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      I had no idea there were so many different types ^_^ I'll have to see if there's a prenatal yoga class nearby. Voting this hub up and useful!