A big part of my yoga journey was learning the different styles of yoga in the beginning. The initial problem was recognizing the difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa or Hatha and Restorative. After weeks of studying, it’s clearer to me which style is which.
Yoga means ‘union’ or ‘connection’ in Sanskrit. It is both a state of connection and a body of techniques that is widely practiced for health, relaxation, a clearer mind, and spirit. Yoga isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, so it’s important for a beginner to try a few different studios, teachers and/or styles until they stick with a style they resonate with.
Hatha– Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners because it’s basic poses that the body forms in slow motion. In many studios, Hatha classes are considered a gentler form of yoga.
Restorative– Restorative yoga is a mellow and a slow-moving style with longer holds. It aids in deeper relaxation, and while you feel like you’re not doing much, you’re actually doing plenty for your body after a long and stressful day. Restorative yoga is not only good for beginners, it’s a good yoga practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, experiences insomnia, and struggles with anxiety. It’s also great for athletes on recovery days.
Asana- Asana is a Sanskrit term which is often translated as “posture” or “pose.” Asana can also be translated as “a steady, comfortable seat,” particularly for the purpose of meditation. Many people equate asana with the act of performing fancy, advanced poses. However, anyone of any level of experience can practice (whether beginner, intermediate or advanced). Individual asanas can also be modified to suit all practice needs and desires.
Vinyasa– One of the most popular styles among yogis of all experience levels is Vinyasa. This style of yoga keeps you moving from one asana to the next, linking each pose to an inhale and an exhale. Vinyasa is a similar style to Ashtanga yoga, but Vinyasa is more flexible.
Ashtanga – Incorporated with many variations of Vinyasa, is great for building core strength and toning the body. Prepare to sweat as you briskly move through a set sequence.
Kundalini– Known as the “Yoga of Awareness”, Kundalini Yoga incorporates chanting, meditation, and the shifting of energies. The purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to provide a modality by which people can achieve their maximum creative potential, free themselves from Karma and realize their life purpose.