By Karen Kwan
For the uninitiated, choosing what type of yoga class to try could be a bit overwhelming. Classes can range from very quiet, meditative-type sessions to much faster-paced, athletic practices. With such a wide range, though, you can surely find one that is right for you. Here’s a primer to give you a sense of what to expect from each type of class to help you in your search.
Ashtanga/Vinyasa/Power: This type of practice involves flowing movements. You can work up a sweat in this dynamic type of class. If you have never ever tried a class, you might want to go with something slower to start with (see Hatha below). You will quickly learn what downward dog and sun salutations are.
Hatha: This could be compared to a power type of yoga class, in terms of the postures and movements , however it’ll be a more moderate pace.
Jivamukti: If you are seeking something intense and flowing, this is for you. Be prepared for the instructor to be speaking philosophically as this type of yoga has a strong philosophical basis.
Bikram/Hot: Not for those who hate to sweat. As the name suggests, these types of classes are held in a heated room (42 Celsius). It is quite challenging so it often appeals to hardcore athletes and A-type personalities.
Anusara: Often set to music, this joyful practice will appeal to creative types. But it’s no walk in the park: some anusara classes may inversions such as handstands – so be prepared to test your fitness.
Iyengar: This type of yoga focuses on precision, so it may appeal to the perfectionist in you. With such extreme attention to detail, this could be considered a good class to include when launching a yoga regime as you’ll learn correct alignment from the get-go.
Kundalini: This unique practice is very gleeful and joyous. The main focus is on breath work and on the energies in the body, so it may appeal more to those who are into alternative therapies.
Yin: Slow-paced and with much of the practice devoted to meditation (with the practice being based on the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine), this will help you rest your racing mind. You’ll hold poses for several minutes (which may prove difficult for those who find it hard to quiet one’s mind).
Restorative: Think of this class as yoga as R&R. This therapeutic , healing practice is a fantastic stress reliever – you may even become so relaxed you may snooze in class (don’t worry, it happens to many a yogi).