All forms of yoga can help build fitness, but which is right for you? There are many different types of yoga to practice, so it’s important to find out which type fits in your fitness routine. Here’s a quick intro to a few of the most popular forms of yoga:
An easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the United States as source of exercise and stress management. This type of yoga is slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation with straightforward poses.
Benefits: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise, and improves breathing
Good for: Beginners
Ashtanga and Power Yoga
Both styles focus on flowing from one pose to the next without rest—making for a terrific calorie burn (about 500 per hour). So, yes, you will sweat. A lot.
In Ashtanga, the more traditional of the two, you’ll begin with chanting, then follow a sequence of poses (“asanas”) that never changes. In a Power yoga class, the poses vary each time and there’s usually none of the spiritual aspect. These are both is definitely physically demanding. They’re probably best suited for an ex-athlete or someone looking to really push their body
Benefits: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss
Good for: Fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina or lose weight
As in many types of yoga, the poses you’ll do in an Iyengar class are traditional. The difference is in how those poses are done. Iyengar teachers are trained in biomechanics, so they understand which positions are most likely to cause injuries—and how to modify them by tweaking your form and showing you how to use props to make them less intense, says Stephens. You’re less likely to strain something as there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time rather than moving constantly from one pose to the next.
Benefits: Helps improve balance, speeds up recovery from an injury, and builds up body strength
Good for: Beginners who want to learn the correct alignments in each pose and those with injuries, balance issues, and chronic medical conditions like arthritis
Have you ever thought yoga was too easy? Then Bikram yoga is for you. Also known as hot yoga, Bikram is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room. It’s typically a series of 26 poses that allows for a loosening of tight muscles and sweating. This method of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss.
Benefits: It is focused on developing physical strength, endurance and flexibility
Good for: Beginners and advanced yogis alike who want to push themselves and those with physical injuries. Pregnant women should avoid Bikram yoga