How to Find the Right Yoga Style

Yoga offers numerous health benefits, ranging from flexibility and weight loss to stress relief and improved energy. With thousands of yoga styles out there to choose from, how do you know which type is right for you? Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, it’s important to find a style that you enjoy practicing. But if you're new or have only ever tried one style, how can you know which of the hundreds available is best for you?

Choosing the Yoga Style That's Best for You

The key to finding the right yoga style is finding one that matches your needs. What level of experience do you have? Do you want a fast-paced style of yoga or to focus on meditation? There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding on which yoga style to practice.

Here are 10 popular yoga styles and who they’re best-suited for:

  • Hatha - This yoga style combines body postures, meditation and breathing to strengthen the mind as well as the body.

Best-suited for: Beginners.

  • Bikram - Held in heated, sauna-like rooms, this "hot yoga" style will make you sweat. It’s practiced in 105 degree Fahrenheit rooms with 40% humidity levels over the course of 90 minutes. It’s also one of the most popular types of yoga.

Best-suited for: Someone who’s in good shape, has high energy levels and wants a more intense, longer yoga workout. If you have medical conditions, you might want to consult with your healthcare provider first. This yoga style should also be avoided by pregnant women.

  • Vinyasa - Also known as “flow yoga,” this style consists of fluid transitions in between poses. Known to be a good upper body workout, Vinyasa also focuses a lot on breathing.

Best-suited for: Anyone looking for an energetic yoga class that also consists of some mindfulness.

  • Yin - This yoga style focuses on postures that target connective tissues, including the hips, spine and pelvis. Poses are held from 1-20 minutes, so there’s an emphasis on meditation.

Best-suited for: Anyone who wants to reduce stress levels and/or relieve tension in overworked joints. Yin has also been recommended as a good yoga style to practice during your period, according to Cosmopolitan.

  • Ashtanga - This is a Vinyasa-style yoga, but it focuses on only six poses at a fast pace.

Best-suited for: Someone who’s already familiar with Vinyasa style yoga and wants to move onto the next level. Ashtanga classes also tend to be about 90 minutes, so they’re ideal for someone who’s looking for a longer workout.

  • Jivamukti - Another Vinyasa-style of yoga, this style also involves chanting, scripture reading and music.

Best-suited for: Those who want to incorporate more yoga and spirituality into their lives. Jivamukti means “yoga while living.”

  • Restorative - This yoga style focuses on relaxation and healing both the mind and body. Poses are held for up to 20 minutes and involve pillows and other props.

Best-suited for: Anyone who wants to heal from emotional pain or physical illness or injury.

  • Jock - This power yoga style focuses more on strength and endurance, rather than flexibility. The goal of this high-energy style of yoga is to open stiff muscles.

Best-suited for: Athletes and people who want to build strength.

  • Iyengar - This style of yoga, which incorporates Ashtanga practices, focuses mostly on the perfect alignment of poses. Props like chairs, blocks and harnesses are frequently used.

Best-suited for: Advanced yogis who want to focus on perfecting their alignment. Newbies can also benefit from learning the right way to do poses, however.

  • Prenatal - This style of yoga helps expectant mothers to focus on breathing and stretches to help them prepare for labor.

Best-suited for: Any expectant mother who wants to stay fit and reduce stress levels during pregnancy.

Trying Out Different Types of Yoga

For many yogis, finding the right style of yoga to practice means a good deal of experimentation. Starting with a beginner class can help the curious to learn the basics. From there, it may help to try various styles to determine what type (and which local instructor) is best suited to your needs.

Other Factors to Consider

In addition to exploring various styles of yoga, it’s also important to choose the right studio and instructor. Here are some questions to ask when trying to make a choice:

  • Does this yoga class suit your physical needs for activity and rest?
  • Do you enjoy going or do you dread it?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the instructor?
  • Are you able to understand the instructions?
  • Does the instructor adjust the lessons according to the skill level of the room?
  • Does the instructor address any questions in a way that feels respectful?
  • Does this class give you a sense of inspiration and fulfillment in the way you were hoping?

Feeling comfortable and happy makes all the difference when it comes to taking a yoga class, regardless of style. Remember that in some cases, a certain instructor might not be the best fit for your needs, but this doesn’t mean the yoga style itself isn't right for you. It can take several classes to find the style that fits your needs and it's always worth noting that the instructor matters more than we might think. If you like the style of one class but the instructor of another, well...we'd choose the instructor over the style any day because an instructor makes all the difference in the world. Maybe it's different for you, though.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced yogi, it’s important to choose the right yoga style for you with intention. And if you've been at it for a while, maybe it's time to change it up. With so many different options to choose from, there’s likely one or more that will suit your lifestyle and needs.

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6/22/2023 4:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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