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?
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:
Best-suited for: Beginners.
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.
Best-suited for: Anyone looking for an energetic yoga class that also consists of some mindfulness.
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.
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.
Best-suited for: Those who want to incorporate more yoga and spirituality into their lives. Jivamukti means “yoga while living.”
Best-suited for: Anyone who wants to heal from emotional pain or physical illness or injury.
Best-suited for: Athletes and people who want to build strength.
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.
Best-suited for: Any expectant mother who wants to stay fit and reduce stress levels during pregnancy.
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.
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:
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.