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Finding the right yoga

yoga classNo doubt you’ve heard all the benefits of yoga: improved fitness, lower blood pressure, reduced stress and more. But with so many different types on your gym’s class schedule, it may be difficult to determine which style meets your needs. Here’s a breakdown of six common types.

First things first
What exactly does yoga entail, you might ask? During a typical 45- to 90-minute session, an instructor will guide you through a series of yoga postures (asanas) designed to stretch and tone all areas of the body, and end with relaxation or meditation. Throughout the class, the instructor will help you with breath control and proper body alignment.

Types of yoga
There are many styles of yoga, and much overlap among them. Hatha yoga is the most common form in the United States. It’s a general term that encompasses several styles of yoga that include both breathing and physical exercises or postures:

  1. Ashtanga (also called power yoga): During this fast-paced, demanding workout, you’ll constantly move from one posture to another.
  2. Bikram (hot yoga): Performed in a room heated to 95 to 100 degrees, this style includes a series of 26 postures that aim to warm and stretch the muscles, ligaments and tendons and encourage sweating.
  3. Integral: This gentle style of yoga includes breathing exercises and chanting or repetition of a mantra. Classes may also incorporate guided relaxation and silent meditation.
  4. Iyengar: Focusing on detail and precise alignment, this style is characterized by holding poses for long periods of time as well as the use of props like belts, blocks or chairs.
  5. Kundalini: To move energy from the lower body upward, this form emphasizes the use of breath during postures as well as chanting and mantras.
  6. Viniyoga: Adapting postures to individual needs and abilities, viniyoga encourages synchronization of breath and postures.