Which Yoga Style is Right For Me?

exercise yoga

I’ve been a yoga instructor for 15 years, but when I first started yoga, I hated it. 

While studying dance in college, my mentor strongly suggested that I try yoga. . Although I didn’t care for it I stuck with it and shopped around for different classes. I trusted my mentor and figured there must be a reason he suggested it.

Fortunately, all the shopping paid off.

I found Anusara yoga and fell in love. The positivity, philosophy, and combination of movement was what I didn’t know I had been looking for (although my teacher training was through Anusara I am no longer affiliated with the brand). If you are considering beginning a yoga practice, or broadening your horizons, here’s an idea of what to expect from some of the most common styles of yoga. 


Think of yoga like ice cream.

None are bad, but some flavors appeal more to each individual. Additionally, try different teachers. There’s a good chance you will have a very different experience in the same style of yoga with a different teacher. Below, I have listed some of the styles of yoga to give you an idea of which type you might be interested in and help you in your shopping.


Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a very broad term used to describe any style which incorporates asanas (poses). Most of the time it is a slower based practice that also focuses on breath. However, if you see this listing and are looking for something specific you should inquire with the studio or teacher. 


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is typically a faster paced class that links a series of poses and can incorporate a large variety of poses. Depending on the teacher this class may not be suitable for new yogi’s (especially if you have any physical impairments or need help with modifications). If no ability level is indicated it’s best to ask in advance. 


Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga classes are all taught by the same standards and in the same environment. The room is carpeted, has a mirrored wall and is heated to 105º F. All classes teach a sequence of 24 poses in the same order. Consider how the heat may affect any impairments or health conditions before diving into this class.


Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is different from Bikram yoga. In a class labeled “hot” the temperature may vary. Generally, this is a vinyasa class with a wide variety of poses in a heated room. 


Restorative/Yin Yoga

Restorative/ Yin Yoga is a relaxing and meditative class. When you want to slow down, take some deep breaths, and stretch, this is what to look for. Don’t expect to break a sweat! Typically poses are held for 3-5 minutes and you’ll be using every prop in the closet to make sure every pose is comfortable and relaxing. 


Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga combines a blend of asana, meditation, and pranayama (breathing techniques). You’ll learn how to awaken and move energy throughout your body and chakras. If you don’t care to learn about chakras or mantras, this is not for you. If you’re looking for a spiritual experience balanced with some physicality, give it a shot!


Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga teaches precise alignment of poses with some philosophy sprinkled in to show the relevance of yoga to daily life. This class moves at a slower pace but can still be very challenging. To ensure the most healthy alignment, props are highly encouraged (blocks, straps, chairs, sandbags, and more). Classes are held in levels 1-4 and also restorative. 



Ashtanga classes are offered in two methods. Like most other styles there is the option of a class lead by a teacher, but there is also the option of an unguided class where you will still be educated on form. Each level of Ashtanga subscribes to a script of poses for 6 different levels. In the unguided classes the student is expected to memorize the script and perform it on their own. 


At Evergreen Physical Therapy I teach alignment and breath focused yoga with philosophy sprinkled in. I can help you begin or expand your practice and also help you with modifying poses through individual instruction.




Trish is a certified Yoga instructor and a licensed massage therapist. She runs Evergreen's Yoga Basics Online Workshop every Wednesday, helping people strengthen their foundational practice of yoga. Aside from yoga and massage, Trish also works one on one with patients providing customized fitness work outs to helping to reach their personal fitness goals. 


 Register for our Online Yoga Basics Workshop on our Workshops page!


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