Here at Silent Mind, we love hearing from instructors and practitioners of yoga who make our singing bowls part of their daily wellness ritual. Just like us, we’re sure they’d encourage you to make space in your life for more yoga.
But if you’ve ever scanned videos online, or visited a few studios, you know that not all yoga practices look alike. Here’s a very brief overview of ten different yoga styles for every mood and intention.
Many styles of yoga are rooted in Hatha, since it is a blanket term for the overall physical aspect of yoga. If you want a solid foundation from which to build a yoga practice, the focus on alignment and slower pace will suit you well.
One of the top reasons we turn to yoga, in any form, are the stress release benefits. Restorative yoga is a relaxing practice with lots of supportive props, making it perfect for those recovering from injury or working with limited mobility.
The breath is a key component of any yoga practice, but it receives special attention during a Kripalu class. It’s also a good choice for people who want yoga to be a more meditative experience. The word ‘kripalu” means “compassion”, and much of this style is focused on creating a practice that’s best for you as an individual.
If you like order and form, a traditional Ashtanga class is for you. An Ashtanga sequence is demanding, but ultimately purifying. Working through the primary series can be very challenging, so it’s best to get basic Hatha experience first.
Vinyasa flows, also referred to as power yoga or core yoga, are derived from Ashtanga practices. The key difference is that with Vinyasa, we build different sequences from the postures. No matter the order, it’s all about keeping the breath going as you move quickly.
What happens when you turn up the heat on Hatha? You get something like Bikram, a style of hot yoga that emerged in the 1970s and exploded in popularity several years ago. A consistent temperature of nearly 100°F keeps muscles warm and pliable as you flow through this transformative, and often grueling, practice.
Want to improve joint health and increase flexibility? Then you’ll love a deep, contemplative Yin practice. It’s more active than restorative, but the polar opposite of a power flow. You’ll be able to loosen up with long holds that have mental and circulatory benefits.
Yoga perfectionists turn to the Iyengar style to really refine their alignment. You’ll have plenty of time to get it right, as the asanas can be held for minutes at a time. However, you’ll get a lot of support from the ample props typically used in an Iyengar session.
If you want yoga as a spiritual practice, Kundalini is worth looking into. In Kundalini, the goal is to awaken an energy portal located in the base of the spine. A Kundalini practice will involve some movement, but also mantras, chanting, and yogic breathing exercises (pranayama).
Anusara yoga has only been around for a little more than 20 years, but those who want to marry the precision of Iyengar with a compassionate internal practice can really dedicate themselves here. It’s a Hatha-based system that focuses on the positive, making it a possible pick for those looking for more joy in their practice.
Do you practice yoga? Do you have a favorite style, or do you let your mood decide what kind of practice you’ll do that day? Let us know below!