We’ve all heard of yoga, but it’s more than tree poses and downward dog.
People have the misconception that yoga is only about spiritual health and doesn’t provide any physical benefits. There are a variety of yoga styles that focus on the body, the mind, or both! In reality, yoga can strengthen your mind, body, and soul.
In this article, we will discuss the different types of yoga and the benefits of each yoga style. We’ll also throw in some pointers to help you choose the right style for you. Let’s dive in!
What Is Yoga?
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. The practice of yoga involves various postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Yoga is a holistic practice that addresses the overall health and wellness of an individual, rather than just focusing on just physical fitness.
Many get confused about the differences between yoga, barre, and pilates but yoga focuses more on spiritual awareness and is less intensive movement. That being said, you can find classes that fuse yoga with pilates or barre.
Benefits Of Yoga
Yoga, just like any other exercise, can help you get in shape, but it also has a load of other benefits including strengthening your mind.
Yoga helps to:
- Balance the mind and body
- Improve physical health
- Tone muscles
- Enhance energy levels
- Reduce stress
- Promote relaxation
- Align posture
- Increase self-awareness and mindfulness
- Improve flexibility and range of motion
- Enhance concentration and focus
- Reduce the risk of injury
Each type of yoga has its unique benefits and characteristics.
6 Major Types of Yoga
There are many different types of yoga, ranging from gentle and restorative practices to more vigorous and challenging. Each style has its own unique characteristics, but all share the goal of promoting health and wellness through the practice of physical postures, breathing, and meditation.
1. Aerial Yoga
Aerial yoga, also known as elevated yoga or anti-gravity yoga, is a type of yoga that involves performing traditional yoga postures and dance moves while suspended from a fabric hammock attached to the ceiling. The hammock supports the body, allowing for deeper stretches and spinal decompression without putting too much strain on your body.
It provides numerous health benefits, such as:
- Improved posture
- Increased strength
- Enhanced flexibility
- Reduced stress
- Balance and coordination
Aerial yoga requires a balance of strength, flexibility, and focus.
2. Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a type of guided meditation that is designed to induce a state of deep relaxation and conscious awareness. It is also known as “yogic sleep,” as it is practiced lying down in a comfortable position. It involves relaxing the body and mind through a series of guided visualizations and breath awareness techniques.
It has numerous benefits, such as:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Improving sleep quality
- Increasing self-awareness and self-regulation
- Improving overall physical and mental health
If you’re looking to reduce stress, enhance your meditation practice, or simply relax deeply, this class is right for you.
3. Chopra Vinyasa
The word “vinyasa” comes from the Sanskrit term “Nyasa,” meaning “to place,” and “vi,” meaning “in a special way.”
Vinyasa Yoga, or flow yoga, includes a continuous flow of movement and breath. It is a fluid and dynamic practice that involves moving through a series of postures while coordinating the breath with each movement.
The benefits of Vinyasa Yoga include:
- Improves strength, flexibility, and balance
- Enhances endurance
- Promotes mindfulness and relaxation
- Reduces stress and anxiety
Vinyasa Yoga is a popular style of yoga and is suitable for individuals of all levels, from beginners to advanced.
4. Restorative Yoga
Restorative Yoga is a gentle and relaxing style of yoga that is designed to promote deep relaxation and healing of both the body and mind. It involves relaxing into poses and holding them for extended periods of time, typically supported by props such as blocks to allow the body to fully relax and release tension.
These postures may include gentle stretches, twists, and supported inversions, all with the intention of promoting relaxation and stress relief. The focus of the practice is on breath awareness, down-regulating your nervous system, letting go of tension, and cultivating a sense of calm and inner peace.
Restorative Yoga is a beneficial practice for anyone who is looking to reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall well-being.
5. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is a style of yoga that emphasizes precision, alignment, and the use of props such as chairs, walls, benches, or blocks to support the body in the practice of asanas, or yoga postures. It was developed by the late B.K.S. Iyengar, who is known as one of the foremost yoga teachers of the modern era.
Practicing Iyengar yoga can:
- Improve posture, alignment, and balance
- Increase strength, flexibility, and body awareness
- Relieve stress and tension in the body
- Promote a sense of relaxation and inner calm
It can be particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from injury, especially with neck or back pain, or with limited mobility.
6. Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga aims to help expectant mothers prepare both mentally and physically for childbirth by incorporating specific breathing techniques, moderate-level cardio exercises, strengthening movements, gentle stretching, and more.
Unlike traditional yoga styles, prenatal yoga is tailored to address the unique requirements of pregnant women, ensuring the practice is safe and effective.
Prenatal yoga can provide several benefits, including:
- Promote flexibility
- Improve strength
- Enhance relaxation
- Decrease lower back pain
- Eliminate headaches
- Reduce shortness of breath
- Settle nausea
If you have any hesitation you can speak with your midwife or doctor and discuss what is right for you.
How Do I Choose My Yoga Style?
When selecting the perfect yoga style for you, the first qualifier is if you enjoy it. From there, consider your level of experience and goals.
The best yoga for beginners is restorative yoga for its slow pace and easy poses. The hardest yoga on the other hand is vinyasa yoga because it is specific in its posture.
The best yoga for weight loss is a heated class, which is offered for many different styles of yoga such as vinyasa yoga. If you’re looking for the best yoga for stress and anxiety, we suggest trying out yoga Nidra or restorative yoga.
Interested in Trying it Out? Sign Up For Your First Yoga Class At The Chopra Mind-Body Zone
Our Chopra Mind-Body Zone offers a wide range of yoga classes of all styles and is the perfect place to find your center and stay active while connecting with other people. There are so many amazing classes to choose from led by Chopra Certified instructors.
Then after your workout, you can wind down in our luxurious locker rooms that include a Himalayan salt sauna, a steam room, and Whirlpool.
If you are not ready to join the Chopra Mind-Body Zone, you can drop in for the day or purchase a 10-visit punch pass. Become a member today to take advantage of our discounted rates and extra amenities.