Types of Yoga
An Explanation of Yoga Classes in Our Studio
Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500
One of the questions we receive most in the studio is about the various types of yoga that we offer in the studio. Trust me, I get it. When I first discovered yoga all I knew was the Hot Yoga, or Bikram style of yoga. After about 6 months of exclusively practicing Hot Yoga, I slowly started venturing out into the world of yoga and discovered an array of choices as plentiful as a good Southern Thanksgiving Dinner. Truly, there is a yoga practice for every taste (or Body, as the case may be.)
In today's post, I thought I would explain the various types of yoga that you will find in our studio. Granted, this is not an exhaustive list by any means, in fact, I maybe covered 1/2 of the classes we cover, but these are the ones that seem to get the most questions, especially from new people.
In the coming weeks, several of the teachers and I will break down the different types of yoga classes you'll find in the studio and the hope is that you prepared to jump in the perfect class, just for you.
Types of Yoga
Have you ever wondered exactly what class descriptions meant when researching a new yoga studio or class?
I know I have.
We have a teacher on staff, Kathryn that summarizes things pretty well. She says, "yoga is a lot like ice cream. Ice Cream comes in lots of flavors, so if you're not a fan of one type of ice cream, it doesn't mean there isn't a flavor you do like."
We have a lot of yoga "flavors" here at the studio, and I want to help you decipher what flavor you like the best.
Enter today's post...I take a quick second to explain a few of the flavors of yoga we offer here at the studio.
Ashtanga Yoga was brought to the US in the mid-70s by Pattahbi Jois. Today, his son, Manju Jois, and his grandson, Sherath continue to spread this particular type of yoga. Ashtanga is a set series of postures, usually practiced in order. It does have some of a bad rap as being too difficult or strict, but Manju has made it his mission to teach people that it doesn't have to be rigid. Your yoga practice is personal, you practice to your levels, and according to your interests. When I lead an Ashtanga class, you will get exposed to poses from the first 3 series which may be different than other studios you visit. It's a lot of fun, and can be modified for every level, so just come and have fun!
Power Yoga is relatively new to the scene in terms of yoga. To continue our Ice cream flavor analogy, Power Yoga also has different interpretations. The biggest take away for a power class is that it is meant to build strength and flexibility; usually in a heated environment. When you experience a Power Yoga Class with us, (so our "flavor" follows that of my 200 and 500 training, which is Baron Baptiste Power Yoga.) Our basic philosophy is that you will hold the poses a little longer, maybe move a little slower, with the intention to build an internal heat that matches the external heat. You'll find this helps to burn calories, get you stronger, and even a little bit of a cardio workout.
Vinyasa or Flow Yoga
Similar to Power, this style of yoga is also very movement based. You will probably move a little faster between poses, all of which are linked together by breath. The room may or may not be heated (so pay attention to the schedule!), and you'll definitely burn some calories, build some strength and flexibility. You will find the roots of both Vinyasa and Power in Ashtanga. (how cool is that?)
Ahhh, now we move into the less active and more relaxing types of yoga. Yin Yoga was designed here in the west specifically to target flexibility in the body surrounding the major joints. The purpose of a yin class is to stretch the connective tissues (not the muscles) that can help us to truly find mobility in the hips, shoulders, etc. The majority of these postures are practiced seated or lying down in a cool room. You will hold each pose 3-5 minutes while trying to relax. This style of yoga can be intense but also exceptionally relaxing.
Oh man, talk about deep relaxation!!! Like Yin Yoga, Restorative was designed here in the west specifically to help the perpetually pluggedin, stressed populous to take a step back, unwind and truly relax. The postures are practiced seated or lying down in a cool room completely supported by props like blankets, bolsters, blocks, etc. You will hold each pose 5 - 10 minutes while completely surrendering your body and mind into the supportive props. This is more of a passive stretch with an emphasis on calming the nervous system.
One of the newer ways to experience your yoga practice, Aerial Yoga combines yoga poses with stretchy fabrics suspended from the ceiling called Silks. This practice is a little yoga, a little circus performance and a whole lot of fun.
You don't have to be an expert to see that our children are stressed out. The pressure to succeed in school and extracurricular activities and the desire to be connected 24/7, no wonder children are in record numbers suffering from very adult emotional and psychological problems! Well, enter yoga. You can introduce your little ones to yoga from a very young age, and guess what, they LOVE IT! The conscious attention to breath, the ability to learn how to control the body and the mind--these are invaluable gifts we can give to the next generation as they move through life. Yoga for children takes a playful spin on the practice we love, breaks them down into fun games and stories and helps them have fun and be creative through movement. Truly, sharing yoga with your children is an awesome gift.
Standing, balancing, and holding!