Based on the belief that we are all full of an intrinsic goodness, Anusara seeks to use the physical practice of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and allow their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend’s Universal Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind.
It’s a rigorous type of yoga that follows a particular sequence of positions and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as every style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses at the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.
About 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga in which classes are held in artificially heated chambers. In a Bikram class, you’ll sweat like never before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses. Like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from An ashtanga sequence. Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his chain and has sued studios that call themselves Bikram but don’t teach the presents exactly how he says they should. It’s also wildly popular, which makes it one of the easiest courses to find.
Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is hatha yoga. When a course is promoted as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won’t work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should wind up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.
5. HOT YOGA
Largely the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram’s sequence in some little way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you’ll sweat buckets.
Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced “eye-yen-gar”). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the correct alignment in a pose. So as to help each student find the correct alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a vast array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters are common. There isn’t a lot of jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won’t get your heart rate up, but you will be surprised to discover how physically and emotionally challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a comprehensive training — if you have an injury or chronic condition, Iyengar is likely your best choice to ensure you receive the knowledgeable instruction you require.
Restorative yoga is a tasty way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. A fantastic restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms frequently offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use some profound rest.
Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is a Sanskrit word for a phrase that roughly translates as “to put in a special way,” referring–in hatha yoga–into a sequence of poses. Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to easily transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes will be the same. If you hate routine and love to check your physical limitations, vinyasa might be just your ticket.