Last updated on September 26th, 2023.
Many people practice yoga for the benefits it can bring to their bodies and minds, and it is becoming an exceptionally popular practice across the world. However, there are many styles of yoga, and you may be wondering which style is the right one for you.
The best yoga style will vary based on your experience and needs. Hatha is often best for beginners, while more experienced or fitness-focused yogis prefer Vinyasa or hot yoga. Additionally, there are several spiritual and breath-focused styles such as the Yin, Kundalini, and Iyengar varieties.
Choosing the best style of yoga for you will ultimately come down to a consideration of your experience and goals. Keep reading to learn more about these styles and how you can make the decision of which is best for you.
What is a Yoga Style?
Yoga is a term referring to a general practice that synchronizes body and breath through a series of asanas, or poses. However, yoga can also have different styles. This means that a way of practicing yoga focuses on a distinctive thing or objective.
For instance, hot yoga is a way of practicing that uses a sauna-like room to increase circulation and loosen the muscles. Other types of yoga focus more on distinctive aspects, such as the following:
- Dynamic movements
- Lifestyle focus, like prenatal
Although all yoga styles may include some or most of these things to an extent, style-specific yoga will give more emphasis to one thing.
How Do I Choose a Yoga Style?
If you are new to yoga or are getting back into it, it may seem overwhelming to decide between all the options. The following criteria can help you make a decision:
- Fitness level: If you are a fit and flexible person, you may be ready to take on the more demanding styles, like Vinyasa, right away.
- Prior knowledge: If you have no prior experience with practicing yoga, it may be best to start with something that is beginner-friendly, such as Hatha.
- Goals: Maybe you are taking up yoga because you want to clear your mind and connect with your inner spirituality. If this is the case, a mindfulness-focused yoga like Yin or Kundalini could be a great option. All styles will have some degree of mindfulness, but these styles in particular give more space to mindfulness and reflection.
- Lifestyle demands or special needs: Some people choose yoga that fits their particular lifestyle. This includes prenatal yoga, yoga for people with disabilities, or other similarly-oriented types of yoga.
Another great way to choose a yoga style is to reach out to studios in your area. The instructors and professionals there could give you advice on what might be best for you based on your personal situation.
What Type or Style of Yoga is Best for Beginners?
Beginners can rest assured that yoga is an amazing practice that will enrich their lives. However, choosing the right style is essential to make sure you build a foundation and have a good time.
In general, Hatha yoga is often recommended for those completely new to yoga. This is because it teaches the postures needed to make a foundation for other styles.
In Hatha yoga, you will learn the following:
- The names and mechanics of the poses
- Advice to do the poses correctly while protecting your physical health
- Breathing techniques
- Meditation guidance
Many Hatha instructors will offer a lot of pose alterations, too, so that you can adjust as needed if something is too difficult when you are starting out.
Can Beginners do Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa yoga is often referred to as “flow” yoga, and many people love it because it is dynamic and truly encourages harmony between the mind and body. In addition, it can be a great workout and will improve your flexibility and endurance.
Beginners can do Vinyasa yoga, but they will need to be careful to go at their own pace and not overexert themselves. Yoga is about creating a foundation and building off of it, and people can do this even with Vinyasa. However, it may be a challenge to do the poses well if you do not have prior knowledge in yoga techniques.
If there is a Vinyasa class you are interested in taking, it is worth talking to the instructor beforehand to explain that you are a beginner. They will then be sure to offer lots of pose alternatives so you can modify as necessary. Additionally, they can provide explanation while they do some of the poses.
What is the Hardest Yoga Style?
A wonderful part of yoga is that people can create their own practice regardless of style. This means making this as challenging or as easy as they need to be to encourage harmony and care for your body.
That being said, certain yoga styles are more rigorous than others. In general, these are the most demanding yoga styles:
- Vinyasa: Vinyasa is fast-moving and dynamic. You will move through a series of flows that often test your flexibility and endurance, and this can be demanding.
- Hot yoga: Doing yoga increases in difficulty when you are in a hot room. Hot yoga is designed to make you sweat, and the heat can increase the exertion that you experience.
- Blended yoga styles: Combining yoga with pilates is a common workout option and many centers offer classes like this. When there is a blended class, more emphasis is often placed on physical fitness, making it more demanding.
Any yoga style can be challenging as you work through the poses and push yourself. However, these styles often provide an exception challenge.
Starting out in yoga can be intimidating, and especially so when you have to decide what style to choose. Each style has different advantages that could make them a good fit depending on your needs and fitness level. If you’re wanting to start where nobody is watching build a mini studio in your garage and follow yoga YouTube videos. You’ll eventually find the courage to jump into a local studio and find your community.
As you start, feel free to experiment with different styles to arrive at the one that works for you. As you gain more experience, continue this experimentation as variety can be very enriching for your practice.