It’s all about the basics in these slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. In many studios, hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures. “It’s a practice of the body, a physical practice that balances these two energies. So, in reality, it is all hatha yoga,” Vilella says. Best for: Beginners. Because of its slower pace, hatha is a great class if you’re just starting your yoga practice.
Get your flow on in this dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way. In most classes, you won’t linger long in each pose and the pace can be quick, so be prepared for your heart rate to rise. Teachers will often pump music, matching the beats to the sequences of the poses. Best for: HIIT lovers. Intense exercisers might enjoy Vinyasa because of its faster pace. Runners and endurance athletes are also drawn to Vinyasa class because of the continuous movement.
Here you’ll get nit-picky about precision and detail, as well as your body’s alignment in each pose. Props, from yoga blocks and blankets to straps or a ropes wall, will become your new best friend, helping you to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective. Unlike in Vinyasa, each posture is held for a period of time. If you’re new to Iyengar, even if you’ve practiced other types of yoga, it’s good to start with a level one class to familiarize yourself with the technique. Best for: Detail-oriented yogis. If you like to geek out about anatomy, movement and form, you’ll love Iyengar — teachers share a wealth of information during class. Iyengar can also be practiced at any age and is great for those with injuries (though you should consult with a doctor first), Vilella notes.
If you’re looking for a challenging yet orderly approach to yoga, try Ashtanga. Consisting of six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses, you’ll flow and breathe through each pose to build internal heat. The catch is that you’ll perform the same poses in the exact same order in each class. Some studios will have a teacher calling out the poses, while Mysore style classes (a subset of Ashtanga) require you to perform the series on your own. (But don’t worry — there will always be a teacher in the room to offer assistance if you need it.) Best for: Type-A folks. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll like Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.
“All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do.” Prepare to sweat: Bikram consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat. Remember, the vigorous practice combined with the heat can make the class feel strenuous. If you’re new to Bikram, take it easy: Rest when you need to and be sure to hydrate beforehand. Best for: People who gravitate toward a set routine. Those who are newer to yoga might like Bikram because of its predictable sequence.
Hot yoga is similar to Bikram in that it’s practiced in a heated room. But teachers aren’t constrained by the 26-pose Bikram sequence. While the heat will make you feel like you can move deeper into some poses compared to a non-heated class, it can be easy to overstretch, so don’t push beyond your capacity. Best for: Hardcore sweat lovers. If you love a tough workout that will leave you drenched, sign up for a beginner-friendly heated class.
If you want to calm and balance your body and mind, this is where you’ll find your zen. The opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga, Yin yoga poses are held for several minutes at a time. This meditative practice is designed to target your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. You’ll use props so your body can release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may make you feel antsy at first, but stick with it for a few classes and its restorative powers might have you hooked. Best for: People who need to stretch and unwind. Keep in mind, Yin yoga is not recommended for people who are super flexible (you might overdo it in some poses) or anyone who has a connective tissue disorder, Vilella says.
While it may feel like you’re not doing much in a restorative yoga class…that’s the point. The mellow, slow-moving practice with longer holds gives your body a chance tap into your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience deeper relaxation. You’ll also use a variety of props including blankets, bolsters and yoga blocks to fully support your body in each pose. Best for: Everyone. In particular, Vilella says it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, who has experienced insomnia or who struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.
“Kundalini yoga is the science to unite the finite with infinity, and it’s the art to experience infinity in the finite” - Yogi Bhajan, 10/27/1988 Kundalini Yoga is called the Yoga of Awareness. It is a dynamic, powerful tool that is designed to give you an experience of your soul. In Kundalini Yoga we harness the mental, physical and nervous energies of the body and put them under the domain the will, which is the instrument of the soul. This technology precisely and consciously combines breath, mudra, eye focus, mantra, body locks and postures to balance the glandular system, strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, and purity the lood. It brings balance to the body, mind, and soul. When we apply the technology of Kundalini Yoga to our bodies and minds, it has the effect of uplifting the spirit. It is for everyone. It is universal and nondenominational. Kundalini Yoga is a yoga for householders, for for people who have to cope with the daily challenges and stresses of holding jobs, raising families, and managing businesses. It is a path for everyone who wants the skills to cope successfully with the challenges of our times. The ancient technology of Kundalini Yoga gives us the awareness and the fortitude to make this a smooth transition. The legacy of technical and spiritual knowledge that Yoggi Bhajan studied and mastered in India is the gift he brought to the west. www.3Ho.org Best for: People looking for a spiritual practice. Those who are seeking something more than a workout may enjoy Kundalini due to its emphasis on the internal aspects of yoga, including breath work, meditation and spiritual energy.
Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical and internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life. The practice challenges students to access their whole being and to use Forrest Yoga as a path to finding and then cleansing the emotional and mental blocks that dictate and limit their lives. Students cultivate an acute awareness of their own practice and life process, creating a unique and powerful opportunity for them to make practical life decisions based on their own experiences.
Forrest Yoga does not require strength or flexibility; it only requires a willingness to learn how to feel authentically and respond honestly. The practice is founded on four pillars -- Breath, Strength, Integrity and Spirit. BREATH: Forrest Yoga teaches you how to breathe deeply, connect in feeling with your body, use the power of breath to bring aliveness into every cell of your body and ignite your passion for living. STRENGTH: Forrest Yoga teaches you to connect to your core, to be strong and centered. The intense pose sequences are designed to help you develop the skills to awaken each of your senses. The long holds help you progress in the poses and go deeper. Aided by the use of heat, your body is freed from toxins; the deep breathing oxygenates and rejuvenates every cell in your body. INTEGRITY: Forrest Yoga teaches you to become proficient at safely tailoring each pose to work best for you, particularly with physical and emotional injuries. By learning to work honestly at your edges, you develop effective tools to deal with fear and struggle. This makes it possible for integrity, self-awareness and playful curiosity to become part of your daily life.
SPIRIT: Forrest Yoga's intent is to create a sense of freedom, a connection to your Spirit and the courage to walk as your Spirit dictates.