There is no one-size-fits-all yoga practice. The yoga class for you is the one that brings you what you’re looking for. Some days you may really want to sweat it out, and a hot yoga class is for you, and other days you may choose a yin yoga class to hold poses for longer periods of time and really get a deep stretch. Check out each of these yoga types and see which will be a good fit for you.
Hatha is somewhat of a blanket term when it comes to yoga—it just refers to linking poses with breath. What’s called Hatha yoga today, however, is usually set to a bit slower pace, requiring you to hold each pose for longer than, say, a Vinyasa class. Hatha classes are great for both beginners or yogis who want to deepen their practice, because holding the poses for longer helps you sink into each them and ensure proper alignment.
Vinyasa classes are more fast-paced, with the idea that you are synchronizing movement with breath and learning to work your way through a series of poses in a fluid manner. Vinyasa offers a vigorous movement with a continuous “flow” from one posture to the next. This style will be more dynamic and athletic in nature to hit the person searching for more of a “workout” rather than a time for relaxation. Check out our free 10-Minute Vinayasa Flow Workout to try it for yourself.
Ashtanga classes use the same series of poses for every class. You have to master the first series before going onto the second, and so on, making it ideal for perfectionists. Beginners might want to dip their toe in Vinyasa or Hatha before going to an Ashtanga class.
Yin yoga requires you to hold poses for several minutes at a time, requiring you to really soften and relax your muscles to target deeper connective tissue and fascia. Yin yoga is a more meditative class than the others, but it can have wonderful benefits for both your muscles and your mind.
A Kundalini yoga class is a little different, incorporating intense breath work and even chanting or meditation. The purpose of kundalini yoga is more centered around elevating your consciousness and activating energy centers or chakras in your body
Bikram yoga includes a specific sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises—it also has to take place in a heated room. The added heat is said to help your body stretch deeper, detoxify better, relieve stress, and can also help with chronic pain. Vinyasa classes are sometimes heated as well, but typically when you think “hot yoga” it’s a bikram class.