I’m not going to lie, when I first started researching regarding Yoga, I was really intimidated (specially when you see photos of yogis who can bend their bodies in any way you can imagine!). I became overwhelmed, and honestly unmotivated to even begin practicing yoga. This is why I want to share with you guys the best types of yoga practice for beginners, so that you can slowly begin to enjoy yoga and eventually find your favorite type. Remember that no one is born knowing Yoga, and that everyone had to start learning from zero! Undoubtedly, even being a beginner, do not think that you only need to try one type of yoga. See below 4 types of yoga practice that you can begin today 🙂
Hatha, in Sanskrit (which is the primary language of Hinduism), means force or effort. In the West, Hatha yoga is considered to be the most standard and common Yoga class that you will find. But many people do not know that Hatha Yoga actually started off as a breathing technique (pranayama) and was more of a meditation. It then developed to be a physical practice that connects our breath, body, and mind altogether.
Hatha Yoga incorporates different styles of yoga, but it focuses more on alignment of the body and deep breaths. As it is a practice that is more gentle & slower compared to other types of yoga, Hatha yoga is one of the best types of yoga practice for beginners. It is a great foundation to build in order to later on move to a more challenging yoga.
Restorative Yoga is the perfect yoga to attend on a Friday night after having a long stressful week at work. This type of yoga is all about relaxing and calming our nerves, as there are very few poses involved. The idea of restorative Yoga is to hold a position for 5 minutes or more by using props (such as a blanket) to hold a position without much effort.
Although you will not work out a sweat when doing this type of yoga, studies show that you can still lose weight. This could be due to the lowering of cortisol (our stress hormones), because when your cortisol is high, it throws your body out of balance – which equals to weight gain! Restorative Yoga is one of those types of yoga practice that you definitely need to try, and will most certainly fall in love with.
Also known as Flow Yoga, in Sanskrit Vinyasa literally means “to place in a special or sacred way”. So what is Vinyasa Yoga all about? This type of practice is all about continuously moving from pose to pose and synchronizing each pose with either inhalation or exhalation. So although Vinyasa is known for breaking a good sweat, it is also an amazing way to learn how to focus your mind – like a meditation in motion. Usually there is lively music during classes, so Vinyasa is the perfect type of yoga when you are feeling energetic and wish to do some cardio.
As Vinyasa Yoga’s main point is to focus on the breath, it is one of the best types of yoga practice to work on learning the basic of pranayama.
Iyengar Yoga was developed by B.K.S Iyengar in the 1960s and brought to the rest of the world. As a child he had poor health, so he practiced yoga daily and became very knowledgeable therefore building strength and overcoming his illnesses. Due to his dedication and devotion to yoga, he lived until he was 96!
Iyengar yoga is all about focusing on precision & alignment of our bodies. As this is fundamental in yoga, Iyengar Yoga is specially one of the best types of yoga practice to learn as a beginner. By being consistent in this practice, you can greatly improve your strength and flexibility.
Iyengar Yoga also uses yoga props to assist in the alignment for each pose. This is also great for those who have injuries or medical conditions. Iyengar Yoga has a slower pace compared to Vinyasa yoga, but this does not mean that it’s not difficult! It focuses on quality rather than quantity, by holding the poses for longer.
Tips to Begin Practicing Yoga
Certain types of yoga practice can seem frightening due to some difficult poses, but don’t let that discourage you to start practicing! I would suggest you to first begin on the basics & also follow the types of yoga listed above and enjoy the spiritual & physical benefits of this phenomenal way of life. Please find some tips below to get started and to keep motivated:
- Best time to practice – generally speaking, early morning before breakfast is usually the best time to practice yoga. It’s always better to start the day connecting to yourself and with some exercise. However, if it doesn’t fit your schedule in the morning, don’t sweat it. You can also practice early afternoon before dinner, or a light yoga in the evening before bedtime. Just make sure that you don’t practice right after eating (preferably let your stomach digest for two hours).
- What to wear – the most important is to feel comfortable. You can wear some yoga leggings with a t-shirt, tank top, or even just a sports bra. If you have long hair, best to tie it up. Also, you shouldn’t wear any socks or shoes.
- Equipment – it’s always best to have your own yoga mat in order to not slip on the floor and as well as to be more comfortable. Also, if you are practicing at home, you may consider to have some yoga props such as straps, blankets, and bolsters, but most studios should already have this kind of equipment
And most importantly, listen to your body! Be aware of how you are feeling and don’t force yourself to do a more physically demanding yoga class if you do not have the energy for it. Practice restorative yoga instead.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of the most popular types of yoga practice and that you feel motivated to begin today.