Maybe you are just getting started and lost in the many different types of yoga there are. Maybe you are a seasoned yogi that wants to try some other styles. Maybe you just want to try them all before deciding what is right for you!
Internet searches are great for getting an idea of what you want. I suggest doing some research and then if you feel bold enough look for some yoga studios or gurus that you can try out a course with. Sometimes you can try the first time for free. Other times you may just have to pay the “drop-in” fee. Check different studios and find out their policies.
You can also find plenty of videos on Youtube. Try to view some videos for a few minutes to see if you like the style or energy of the teacher. Not all Yoga is physical based yoga. Yoga simply means uniting or yoking ourselves spiritually to the One, or to our higher consciousness and there are different ways of doing this. It may be physically based, but can also be heart, or emotionally based or even intellectually, through the mind, based. Many times you will find yourselves overlapping different paths, such as having a regular Vinyasa practice while studying Yoga Philosophy.
Do I want an energetic practice?
Do I want a slower practice?
Do I want to incorporate meditation and breathing techniques?
Am I comfortable in a group setting or would I prefer private lessons?
Do I feel comfortable in a mixed group with different sexes / ages or do I prefer to stay with people in my own sex / age group?
What is my ultimate goal? Getting fit and loosing weight? Eliminating stress and tension? Having better focus and concentration? Releasing emotional blockages? Finding a spiritual connection? Reaching higher consciousness? Recovering from a surgery or medical illness? Realize my true nature? Or do I just want to meet more people?
Do I want a physical practice or a meditation only based practice?
Asking yourself questions at the beginning can help you to hone in on a particular style. So you can find the Perfect Yoga Practice for You (Infographic)
Made famous by Patthabi Jois, this yoga is very intensive. There are 6 series: Primary, Intermediate and Advanced, whereas the Advanced is divided further into 3 parts. This is the Yoga for you if you a.) want a physically demanding practice, b.) like to always do the same routine, c.) like to be challenged and reach milestones, like getting to the next level.
Hatha is one of six branches of Yoga. The branches include Hatha, Jnana, Raja, Karma, Bhakti and Tantra Yoga. Hatha is a segue into other physical types of Yoga currently known to most of the Western World, as many other schools of “yogic” thought have taken the physical postures from Hatha and incorporated them into other yoga practices. Hatha in itself is great for people that want more static movements. It advances you from one position to the next without too many dynamic movements. It also incorporates different breathing techniques and cleansing techniques. If you want more of a practice that is a mix of everything, try a Hatha class.
Ashtanga inspired, Vinyasa means linking together the breath with the movement. If you like to have a more dynamic practice try to find a place that does a Vinyasa Flow. In Vinyasa there is much focus on connecting the breath to the movement. If you enjoy dynamic practices like any type of dancing or ballet, gymnastics or figure skating, this could be the type of practice you may like.
Sometimes Vinyasa and Power yoga are thought to be the same, although power yoga can be more along the lines of pilates and movements are concentrated on the body. Power yoga is less concerned on the connection of breath and movement, but many of the positions are the same you would find in traditional yoga. Just as in Vinyasa, Power yoga is also Ashtanga inspired. If you like to go to the gym, enjoy pilates or even weight lifting, you might want to give Power Yoga a try.
Iyengar is a fascinating person and he made a name for himself in the yoga community after many hard years of work. Iyengar uses props in his yoga and there is no certificate that can be obtained. One is considered to be Iyengar certified only after years of practice. If you like to use props in your practice, such as ropes, blocks, or chairs you may want to give Iyengar Yoga a try.
Designed to “awaken” the Kundalini, which is the dormant serpent power lying at the bottom of our spine. It is said once the Kundalini is awakened we will gain superpowers. It focuses on the energy body and breath. Included are physical movements that are done in rather static positions, but the movements are held longer with sometimes fast repetitions. It helps to awaken the energy around the physical body. If you like to have more concentration on awakening dormant energies, aligning the chakras and being aware of your energy body this could be a good practice for you.
This is great if you want to focus on deep stretching. Restorative, sometimes called Yin yoga, is where you may hold the positions for 10 minutes at a time and it is focus on completely letting go and relaxing. If you just want to recuperate after a long day and target specific muscles some restorative poses may bode you well.
All in all, when choosing a style of yoga that suits your needs it may be beneficial to try out several different classes and several different types before you find one that fits. You may also notice that you grow into other types of yoga and maybe something that you tried years ago that you did not like, will maybe fit you more now that you are older. Whatever you choose, just put a smile and your face and take it in as a learning experience!