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Which style of yoga is best for you?

Check out the most popular styles of yoga in the USA. Get the low down on class times, suitability and best for recommendations.

Yoga is now more accessible than ever, with hundreds of yoga studios and instructors popping up all over the United States every year. This is makes choosing a yoga class more difficult.

Here we give you the low down on the different styles of yoga once you have decided upon a style use the class finder to find a class or yoga studio near you.

ANUSARA YOGA

Class time: 60-120 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle but can be challenging
Best for: People who want a mood lifting work out.

Anusara classes are light-hearted and expressive, pairs strict principles of alignment with a playful spirit. Not as intense as some of the other styles, perfect for beginners. Anusara encourages the use of props, making classes accessible to students of differing abilities.

Energised yoga classes that work the body deeply, be prepared to sweat. Classes emphasise bending, rotating and twisting the spine and alignment.

Anusara classes include chanting, breathing, meditation and music. Be prepared to be uplifted.

ASHTANGA YOGA CLASSES

Class time: 60-120 minutes
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Challenging
Best for: Sports athletes who want to get in shape quickly and people who like routines and structure in their lives.

Ashtanga Yoga classes are fast paced and physically demanding. Classes are divided up into series. Students progress from primary to advanced at their own pace.

Ashtanga Yoga primary series works on realigning the spine, detoxifying the body, and building strength, flexibility, and stamina. The primary series includes 75 Ashtanga yoga poses and takes an hour and a half to two hours to complete. It involves synchronizing breathing through a progressive series of postures that produce profuse sweating that detoxifies muscles and organs.

Ashtanga intermediate series is introduced only when the student has mastered the primary series. It cleanses and strengthens the nervous system and energy channels in the body.

Advanced Ashtanga Yoga is only appropriate for extremely advanced students. Not suitable for beginners.

Find a qualified Ashtanga yoga teacher, or studio offering Ashtanga yoga classes near you.

BIKRAM YOGA CLASSES

Class Time: 90 minutes
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Challenging
Best for: For people looking for a vigorous yoga workout

Good for building muscular strength and endurance, developing cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. Bikram Yoga are very popular across the USA with a large number of studios offering Bikram yoga in London.

Developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga uses 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises all performed at a minimum 105 degree Fahrenheit temperature with 38 percent humidity for 90 minutes.

Bikram yoga classes take place in yoga studios built to ensure optimum heat. A warm body is a flexible body. Bikram provides a systematic work out for every part of the body, including; internal organs, ligaments, and muscles designed to maintain optimum health and flexibility.

If you have a history of cardiovascular problems, have low or high blood pressure or are in the early stage of pregnancy consult your GP before trying it.

Use the form on this page to find an qualified Bikram yoga instructors, studio or teacher offering Bikram yoga classes near you.

CHAIR YOGA

Class Time: variable
Suitable for: everyone
Style: Gentle
Best For: anyone

Chair Yoga is one of the gentlest forms of yoga available. Complicated manoeuvres and complex movements are not present in a chair yoga class. Within this type of yoga class, you can cover standing, seated, and prone postures.

Chair Yoga classes are often practiced in senior centers, people with assisted living lifestyles, nursing homes, adult day care centers, and physical rehabilitation units. Participants can learn many kinds of yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and ways of relaxation, with the aid of a chair.

CORE POWER YOGA

Class Time: Varies from 60 to 90 minute formats
Suitable for: Anyone
Style: Challenging

Core power yoga classes are challenging and combine different styles of yoga to improve strength, balance, flexibility, aerobic activity and mind. The practice of core power yoga aims to teach students to communicate with their bodies and access their spiritual core to achieve inner power. It offers a variety of styles from beginners to advanced levels and restorative.

Rooms are heated - the temperate varies from 85 degrees with no humidity to 102 degrees with 40% humidity. The temperature is increased with lower temperatures and humidity for core power beginners to high temperatures and humidity for more advanced students and for Core Power Hot yoga.

Students transition to more vigorous and hotter and more humid environments as they progress.

HATHA YOGA CLASSES

Class Time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle
Best for: Anyone who is stressed, tired or looking to feel better

Hatha yoga is a style of yoga that incorporates a number of techniques and styles. The classes are suitable for all yoga students from beginners classes to advanced.

Associated with postural and breathing exercises, Hatha Yoga classes help you improve flexibility and increase muscle tone, help unwind and de-stress, bringing a greater sense of physical and mental well-being.

A Hatha yoga class covers a range of movements including asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and savasana (relaxation pose), incorporating Vinyasa flow (breath-synchronised movements).

Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is Hatha yoga. The word 'Hatha' descends from the Sanskrit words 'ha' and 'tha' meaning 'sun' and 'moon'.

Find a Hatha yoga class near you. Finding a Hatha yoga class is easy, with Hatha yoga classes in London to Edinburgh there’s bound to be a class near you.

Use the form on this page to find qualified Hatha yoga teacher, studios or offering Hatha yoga classes near you.

HOT YOGA CLASSES

Class Time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Challenging

Hot yoga is designed to help the body relax, improve breathing, focus the mind, and work every part of the body to develop strength, flexibility and tone whilst providing a cardiovascular workout.

The heat and exercise raises the body temperature causing the body to sweat, the idea being to flush out the impurities and toxins in the body. Practising hot yoga relaxes the muscles enabling deeper poses and stretching.

Generally, the difference between a Hot Yoga class and Bikram yoga is that the hot yoga classes do not follow the prescribed sequences developed by Bikram Choudhury. The classes maybe shorter in duration, 60 minutes and the sequences as well as the number and type of postures may vary. The actual temperature may also be different (normally 105F). The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets. Find a studio near you offering Hot yoga classes.

If you have a history of cardiovascular problems, have low or high blood pressure or are in the early stage of pregnancy consult your GP before trying Hot yoga.

IYENGAR YOGA

Class Time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle to challenging
Best for: People who want to focus on deep stretching, alignment and postures

Iyengar Yoga is good for beginners. It develops strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance. Iyengar Yoga utilises concentration and awareness so that postures can be held for longer.

This form of yoga focuses on precision and correct alignment of the body to achieve strength, flexibility and stamina.

Props like blocks, straps, harnesses, and incline boards are used. Generally Iyengar is less vigorous than other styles however, some classes can be challenging.

JIVAMUKTI YOGA

Class time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Advanced
Style: Challenging
Best for: People looking for challenging flowing classes and learning about yoga philosophy.

Vigorous and Physical, Jivamukti is heavily rooted in the traditions of yogi scripture. This style of yoga encourages students to find a state of enlightenment in and out of their practice. Combines flowing "vinyasa" postures with breathing, meditation, Sanskrit chanting and philosophical discussion and deep relaxation.

KRIPALU YOGA

Class Time: 30-60 minutes
Suitable: for all ages
Style: Adaptable - varies from gentle to vigorous
Best for: Teenagers, the elderly, and people with physical limitations.

Kripalu Yoga practice asana, pranayama, and meditation, using language and sequences that may vary greatly. A Kripalu Yoga class emphasizes increased awareness to physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise throughout the practice.

Neither posture sequences nor instructions are standardized, so no two classes look the same. Because of the creative nature of Kripalu Yoga, it is easily accessible and to practitioners at all levels, and may be skilfully fine-tuned for, as well as those with a practice. Teachers guide students through a practice of asana, pranayama, and meditation, using language and sequences that may vary greatly.

KUNDALINI YOGA CLASSES

Class Time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Challenging

Kundalini yoga is vigorous and intense. Kundalini yoga its associated with unblocking the energy flow in the body. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include meditation and breathing exercises.

Kundalini sequences consist of rapid, repetitive movements or holding a poses combined with prescribed breathing techniques.

Kundalini yoga goes beyond the physical performance of poses with its emphasis on breathing, meditation, mudras and chanting.

Kundalini yoga sequences can be very physically intense. This type of yoga will appeal to people looking for a mental and physical challenge.

Pop your ZIP code into the search bar and find a Kundalini yoga class near you.

LAUGHTER YOGA

Class Time: 60-90 minutes
Suitable for: Anyone
Style: Gentle

Laughter yoga that can be done standing or seated. No equipment or particular articles of clothing are required. Laughter is a blend action and relaxation, group interactions and introspection. Sessions are filled with positive and life-affirming interactions such as dancing singing, breathing, games, clapping and laughter activities. Laughter is the glue between all activities, and it is used as a form of exercise.

POWER YOGA CLASSES

Class Time: 90 minutes (varies)
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Challenging

An active and athletic style, developed from Ashanga yoga as a fitness based approach to yoga. Good for weight loss and keeping fit it's most likely to appeal to people who enjoy exercising and want a minimal amount of chanting and meditation.

Though power yoga classes vary widely from teacher to teacher be prepared to work hard and work up a sweat.

Some yoga studios call power yoga by different names: flow yoga, flow-style yoga, or vinyasa flow.

Find a Power Yoga class in a gym or studio near you.

PRANAYAMA YOGA

Class Time: 15-20 minutes (varies)
Suitable for: Experience of yoga and a good level of fitness
Style: Can be challenging

Pranayama yoga classes are teach students the art of breathing control. It is recommended to learn this type of breathing from a qualified yoga instructor. Students learn yogic breathing, coordinating the lower, middle, and upper parts of the breathing process - as well as learning to attenuate outgoing breath. Pranayama lays the foundation for practice of asanas, relaxation, concentration and meditation.

Pranayama yoga can be beneficial in treating symptoms of asthma, stress related disorders, depression and can help people stay youthful, supple, slim and full of vitality. Pranayama exercises can results in better concentration and a sense of well-being by increasing the supply of oxygen in the blood stream.

Pranayama yoga is not for everyone if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, labored breathing, a hernia, or any other condition that could be exacerbated by especially fast, deep, or intense breathing. Consult with your doctor before doing pranayama if your pregnant or have a medical condition first.

RESTORATIVE YOGA CLASSES

Class time: 90 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle

Less of a workout, more about relaxation. Best for healing injuries or reducing stress. Suitable for all yoga students. Many restorative yoga poses are similar to normal yoga poses, except that they are performed with the support of props.

Developed from Iyengar Yoga, props are used in restorative yoga sequences to makes it easier for students to maintain balance whilst both stimulating and relaxing the body.

Restorative yoga classes are available on this restorative yoga teachers directory. Find a restorative yoga class near you.

SIVANANDA YOGA

Class time: varies based on level 1.5 - 2 hours
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle
Best for: Anyone looking for a yoga experience that balances simple postures, breathing, meditation and chanting.

Sivananda yoga is a traditional type of yoga combining postures, breathing, dietary restrictions, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. Emphasis is on the spiritual side.

This style of yoga uses 13 poses and lie down in between the poses. Sivananda yoga is easily adaptable to people of different physical abilities.

SVAROOPA YOGA CLASSES

New students find this a very approachable style, often beginning in chair poses that are comfortable. Promotes healing and transformation.

VINIYOGA YOGA CLASSES

Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle

Viniyoga classes are gentle and adaptable, making yoga available to a wide range of people regardless of age they can help people with physical limitations, such as injury, illness, or age.

The long, deep stretches of this style of yoga are ideal for beginners and people who want to focus on flexibility, recovery from injury, body awareness, and relaxation.

Viniyoga yoga is tailored to each student's age, health, physical and emotional state, and any current or past injuries. Viniyoga teachers adapt to any person, regardless of physical ability. Viniyoga teachers tend to be experts in anatomy and yoga therapy.

Small classes numbers or one to one classes are beneficial for people who lack confidence in their physical fitness and are looking for a supportive atmosphere in their viniyoga class.

Viniyoga classes may include asana, pranayama, chanting, and meditation, depending on the student. There is a strong emphasis on body alignment and poses are held for a consistent number of breaths with a rest in between.

Use the search on this website to find a qualified Viniyoga yoga teacher, or studio offering Viniyoga yoga classes near you directory.

VINYASA FLOW YOGA

Class Time: 90 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle
Best for: People of all ages looking to maintain flexibility

Vinyasa classes are a great place for beginners to start practicing yoga.

Vinyasa means "breath-synchronized movement," and Vinyasa yoga is a series of poses that flow through the power of inhaling and exhaling. Vinyasa exercises are smoothly and flowing which is why it is often referred to as Vinyasa Flow or just Flow yoga. If you like to focus on the power of breathing and flowing movement through poses, you will enjoy the Vinyasa style.

The style and sequence vary depending on the teacher, so try a few different instructors to find a flow that fulfils what you desire in your practice.

YIN YOGA

Class Time: 90 minutes
Suitable for: Beginners to advanced
Style: Gentle
Best for: People of all ages looking to maintain flexibility

Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other styles of yoga, however it targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and joints rather than muscles. Yin Yoga generally targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine.

Yin Yoga complements dynamic and muscular (yang) styles of yoga that emphasize the lengthening and contracting of muscles.

Yin Yoga postures are more passive, mainly on the floor with fewer postures than yang yoga. Postures can last three to five minutes, and even 20 minutes. The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation.

POPULAR STYLES OF YOGA in the USA

Beginners Yoga Classes Many yoga instructors offer mixed ability classes whilst others offer beginner yoga classes or an introduction to yoga. If you have not practised yoga before contact the yoga teacher or instructor and they will advise you.

Note: Not all forms of yoga are suitable for beginners. The more energetic forms of yoga will require you to have a basic knowledge of yoga and have a good level of fitness.

Specialist Yoga Classes

If you are pregnant, have an injuryor a specific medical or rehabilitation issue, suffer back ache or require more personalized care, use the main search to find yoga classes such as; antenatal and postnatal yoga, over 50s yoga, over 60s yoga, women only yoga, men only yoga, remedial yoga, sports-specific yoga, sports injury yoga and one to one tuition.

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