Yoga can help you deepen your relaxation and ease stress; strengthen your body; improve your balance, flexibility, and mental clarity; and cultivate a practice of reflection and self-kindness. The question, then, is not, “Why should I get started?”, but “How?” With so many forms of yoga to choose from—from hot yoga to vinyasa to restorative—it can feel overwhelming to select the right class for you. Whether you’re living with a movement disorder, a care partner, support group leader, or healthcare provider, we’ve got what you need to know about the most popular types of yoga so you can feel good about finding a class (or YouTube video!) and embracing your inner yogi.
Accessible, creative, and designed for all bodies, chair yoga allows you to experience the joys and benefits of yoga from a seated position. Chair yoga classes offer a range of modifications, inviting newbies or those with movement concerns to explore their strength and flexibility safely, while also inviting long-time yogis to explore their practice from a new perspective and gain new skills.
Vinyasa yoga is all about flow. A mixture of seated and standing postures, vinyasa links your breath with your movement, giving you the feel of moving with the waves of your body and breath. Many studios offer variations on vinyasa yoga to meet everyone’s needs, from a gentle vinyasa class to a more challenging power flow.
Restorative yoga is all about relaxation. This is a chance for your body to soften into each posture with the help of yoga props like bolsters, pillows, blankets, and blocks. In this style of yoga, you spend more time in fewer postures, and postures are performed gently on the floor. After a restorative class, you’ll often feel peaceful, relaxed, and supported.
Yin postures encourage you to stretch into your connective tissues, for a deep but gentle opening. Yin stretches are performed cold (no or few warm-ups first) and are held for about 3-5 minutes each. Unlike restorative yoga, which is all about relaxation and softening into props, yin uses the force of gravity to help you more deeply stretch into a pose. This style of yoga plays off the concept of yin-yang, with yin being the cooling and calming energy.
Meditation calms the mind and body, deepening your awareness, relieving tension, and soothing your breathing for powerful psychological and physiological effects. Meditation takes practice and it’s not meant to be perfect; it is an invitation to show up and experience all you are and all you feel in the present moment. It can be practiced sitting up, lying down, or even in a moving meditation like walking.
This one’s fiery! Hot yoga is yoga performed in high-temperature, high-humidity rooms for maximum muscle-loosening and increased sweat. Many students leave class feeling something akin to a “runner’s high.”
While Hatha yoga is an ancient practice, today, it often refers to yoga postures performed slowly, intentionally, and with careful awareness of each body part and every movement. Unlike vinyasa classes, there are no specific breathing patterns or flow linking the postures. This class typically includes seated and standing postures and is usually great for beginners with its slower pace and emphasis on form.
Don’t be deceived by the seemingly easy nature of this class, which includes mostly seated postures. Kundalini yoga is a powerful practice that’s designed to balance the energies of the subtle nervous system and help you shift and transform your energy. Be ready to practice pranayama (breathing techniques), chant mantras, meditate, and move repetitively.
Partner up! This practice unites principles from gymnastics, yoga, and acrobatic training to build your strength and get you flowing upside down. You work with a partner to go deeper into the postures, with one partner serving as the “base” to support the other partner, who is the “flyer.” These fun classes are best performed in a studio with extra mats and spotters for safety.