All around the world, there are dozens if not hundreds of types of yoga variations found in everything from gyms, studios and recreational centers. With such diversity available, choosing the best option may seem like a daunting experience for both beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.
As there are multiple styles of yoga to choose from, it is important to note that there is no best one among them all. There is only the best choice based on what your goals are. Knowing and understanding the various types of yoga as well as discerning between their differences will not only help you decide which path to take, but also affect your choice in where to practice it. By doing so, you will be able to maximize the benefits as well as get the most from your time and money.
Hatha yoga is considered to be the best type for beginners. Yoga may seem intimidating to learn, especially for beginners, but hatha yoga which is primarily composed of straightforward poses and an unhurried pace is a great form of introduction. Essentially, this type of yoga will have you doing a pose one after the other with rests in between. Getting the right poses and alignments are also made easier with the use of blocks and bolsters. Aside from the body, hatha yoga uses breathing, relaxation and meditation to train the mind.
Ashtanga and Power Yoga are best for those whose goals are towards weight loss. By combining the benefits of yoga and vigorous cardio session, these two types of yoga are great for those looking for a reduction in their weight. By focusing on the flow between one pose to the next without rest in between, large amounts of calories are burned in a session. The main difference between the two is that Ashtanga yoga includes chanting at the beginning, followed by a series of poses that never change. In Power Yoga, the poses change every time and does not include a spiritual aspect brought about by the chanting.
Yin Yoga is the type of yoga which best for those who just want to chill out. It gets its name from the yin in yin-and-yang, which is an attribute connected with the cold. This type of yoga is primarily made up of poses that require you to sit or lie down while holding the poses for up to five minutes at a time. These poses allow the muscles to reach a deeper stretch and give them ample time to adjust. You can focus on your poses with the aid of meditation music. The environment of yin yoga also encourages placing attention to breathing to successfully achieve a serene and tranquil state.
Iyengar Yoga is best for those who are prone to injuries. Like any other physical based exercise, yoga has its share of dangers when it comes to injuries. But for people who find themselves interested in trying out yoga, but are apprehensive due to a history of being prone to physical injuries, Iyengar yoga is the best choice. Composed primarily of traditional poses, Iyengar yoga is taught by teachers trained in biomechanics, which means that they tweak the poses and movements with the aim of reducing the risk for injuries. Coupled with pauses between poses, this type of yoga is definitely one of the safer choices.
After choosing which type of yoga is best suited to your needs or wants, the next thing to consider is the location for your sessions. Taking into consideration your budget and the number of people in a class will also affect your overall yoga experience. You would want to enroll in a class where there are less number of students so that the yoga teacher can mentor and monitor everyone properly. Another factor to take into account is if the venue of the yoga session is just within the vicinity of where you live or work. The nearer the gym, studio or center is, the better it would be, especially if you are looking to practice yoga for a long time.
Yoga studios are devoted solely to the art and practice of yoga. Some may be focused on only one style, while others might cater to quite a few different styles. Most studios require a Yoga alliance certification for their teachers coupled with in-house training for specific styles and types being focused on by the studio itself.
The rooms are often designed to create a feeling of zen and class sizes may vary but tend to lean towards less students in a class. Mornings are usually filled with 10-20 students but after work hours might find themselves packed with more than that. Usually, larger classes have additional instructors being mentored by the main teacher.
Cost for yoga studio classes can range between 12-20 dollars per class.
Gyms are places dedicated to health and well-being with many of them offering yoga classes among other things. Teachers here are usually certified by the Yoga alliance, but since pay for gym employees is not always at par with dedicated yoga studios, expect that the yoga teachers in gyms are not that well experienced. The atmosphere in gym classes are less serene and tranquil compared to studios, but they come with the perks of other equipment and facilities such as steam rooms. Class sizes are also noticeably larger, sometimes reaching 40 students per class without the additional instructors. Yoga classes in gyms usually come free with the membership.
In rec centers, teachers are usually certified with general group fitness types of training and not necessarily yoga specific. This makes it the least ideal destination for advanced practitioners of yoga. But for those who are interested to have a taste, this is financially one of the best options. Aside from the quality of the teachers, the quality of the amenities are also a par lower. Classes also tend to be really large with a tendency for bringing your own props. Cost wise, rec centers are far cheaper and sometimes offer huge discounts to local residents.