Have you ever been asked, “What type of yoga do you practice?” and answered, “I don’t know, it’s yoga.” You’re not alone. While yoga is yoga is yoga, there are many different types (or flavors) of yoga readily available to you. Below are brief descriptions of the primary types of yoga offered at “mainstream” studios.
Vinyasa - Vinyasa is the blanket term used to describe yoga classes that offer yoga flow. Rather than holding one pose and workshopping or fine-tuning that one pose, vinyasa classes flow from pose to pose with a focus on the breath. Most vinyasa classes are rooted in ashtanga (see below) and will include most, if not all, of the following components: sun salutations, twists, standing poses, balancing poses, heart openers, and hip openers.
Ashtanga - Ashtanga is the original vinyasa yoga. Ashtanga follows a set sequence of poses and has a primary, intermediate, and advanced series. An ashtanga practice moves in accordance with the breath - one pose/one breath. The ashtanga series are physically demanding and assists from a seasoned instructor are to be expected.
Yin - While vinyasa focuses on movement, yin focuses on stillness. The purpose of yin yoga is to stretch the connective tissue through holding postures for 3-5 minutes. Yin incorporates bolsters, blocks, and blankets for added support. Most yin poses are practiced on the ground with the practitioner rarely standing up, if at all. Yin is practiced at room temperature.
Restorative - Restorative yoga is related to, but not the same as, yin. Restorative yoga is intended to soothe, to nurture, and to heal the nervous system. Through the use of blankets, bolsters, straps, and blocks, a person is set up in a posture in which there is little to no effort needed. Restorative postures can be held for up to 15 minutes, allowing the body time to “power down” and restore.
Yoga “families” - as there are many other types of yoga than the above mentioned, here are groupings of yoga and what you can expect.
*Vinyasa, Flow, Power, Baptiste, Ashtanga - You will flow, move, breathe. The room may be heated.
*Iyengar, Hatha - You will practice one pose at a time and breakdown each pose.
*Yin, Restorative, Stretch - You will likely remain seated on your mat and you spend time in each seated posture.
There is a wide world of yoga out there, enjoy and explore!
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2018