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Which Style of Yoga Is Best for You?

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If you're new to yoga, it's a good idea to take a few classes in a slower style of yoga first to get the feel for the poses. That's because there's less individual attention and more focus on moving through the power yoga class. Some studios call power yoga by different names: flow yoga, flow-style yoga, or vinyasa flow.

Sivananda Yoga

What it's like: Gentle

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

Viniyoga

What it's like: Gentle

You focus on how your breath moves through your body and affects each pose. It's not so much about doing every pose precisely. 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.

3 Questions to Consider

 To decide on the yoga style that's right for you, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Are you doing yoga for fitness and to get in shape as well as to explore the mind-body connection? Then choose a more vigorous yoga style like power yoga, ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga. All three styles combine an athletic series of poses into a vigorous, total-body workout.
  2. Do you have an injury, a medical condition, or other limitations? Then start with a slower class that focuses on alignment, such as Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or viniyoga.
  3. Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal? Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try kundalini yoga.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on May 25, 2013
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