Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India but has become extremely popular in the West. Starting your yoga journey as a beginner is exciting because it combines movement with breath and meditation, creating proven health benefits.
There are many forms of yoga, and practicing its physical postures has few requirements. However, as you better understand yourself and the things around you, yoga allows you to heal and grow physically and emotionally.
With so many forms of yoga available, beginners often feel overwhelmed. What’s the best type of yoga for beginners?
Yoga for Beginners: Finding the Perfect Fit
People start practicing yoga for various reasons. These can include reducing stress, improving health, or taking a fulfilling journey of self-discovery. Whatever reason has made you consider taking up the practice, you may ask, what’s the best type of yoga for beginners?
Consider the following before choosing:
The Cleveland Clinic recommends choosing what goals you want to accomplish with yoga practice before deciding on your preferred style. These goals may include:
- Improved flexibility and balance
- Increased strength and mobility
- Relief from stress or trauma
- Weight loss
- Healthier lifestyle and improved mindfulness
Whether you want to accomplish one or more of these goals, then yoga is ideal.
Type of Class
Before starting any exercise, yoga included, speak to your healthcare provider to ensure you don’t have any underlying conditions. Once you have the go-ahead, consider whether you prefer a more active yoga class, something more challenging, or one with relaxing movements.
Once you have decided which you want to try, find an introductory class for beginners. Try a Hatha, restorative, or slow yoga class if you wish to do something slower. Ashtanga and power yoga may suit you if you want something more physically challenging.
Luckily, most yoga studios give a detailed description of their classes and will allow you to observe one class for free before signing up.
Consider the Instructors
During that first visit, take the time to observe the yoga studio instructors. Ensure they are certified to teach through a recognized yoga association. You want to keep coming back, so see if they are helpful and friendly enough to motivate you. On your first visit to the studio, they should:
- Greet you warmly and ask what your goals are
- Tell you what equipment they have and what you should bring
- Show you around
- Tell you what to expect from each class and review the rules of the studio
- Encourage you not to push beyond your limits
- Remind you to remain focused on your breathwork
- Help modify your postures to your abilities and show you how to use yoga props for support.
Yoga is for everyone. Therefore, you should feel comfortable and included in class. Your instructor must not judge or make you feel like you need to compete with the others. The best yoga instructors allow you to advance at your own pace, ensuring you don’t feel discomfort or pain during poses. If a studio or instructor does not align with your ideals, find another one.
Choosing the Best Yoga Class for You
Yoga has so many styles and modifications that anybody can find a style that suits them. Worry not if you are unsure whether you prefer a less or more active style or whether Yin Yoga is better than Hatha Yoga or Power Yoga over Hot Yoga. The best way to find the best fit for you as a beginner is to try different styles.
Whichever style and space you choose as the best yoga class for you, these are some of the basics you’ll need:
- A comfortable yoga mat with a solid grip
- Props for comfort and modifications like a blanket, yoga blocks, pillows, and yoga strap)
- A quiet space for practicing your movement and relaxation
- Comfortable clothes that won’t restrict your movement
Exploring Different Yoga Types for Beginners
When looking for the best types of yoga for beginners, consider the following yoga styles:
Most experienced yoga practitioners and instructors recommend Hatha yoga for beginners. It is a gentler yoga form. The slower pace of a Hatha class allows you to hold each pose for a few breaths while you focus on improving your posture.
Vinyasa yoga might appeal more to you if you prefer to move more during exercise. You link movements and breathing at a faster pace.
Anyone can benefit from a Meditation yoga class, even a beginner, because of its fantastic benefits for your mental well-being. Expect to practice meditation, mindfulness, and low-impact exercises to help calm the mind. Some of the poses practiced during meditation yoga include:
- Child’s Pose
- Downward Facing Dog
- Triangle Pose
- Plank Pose
- Four-limbed Staff Pose
- Tree Pose
The benefits of this type of yoga include relief from stress, anxiety, and some aches and pains.
If you like routine, then Ashtanga is the right type of yoga because it always follows the same pose sequence. You learn to flow and breathe through each pose as you control your breathing and mind. The movements of Ashtanga yoga may feel more challenging to beginners, but most people transition well into it. It’s a great type of yoga for building mobility and strength.
Restorative yoga is great for those entering the world of yoga for the first time because most people have no difficulty with it. Asanas are held for longer than with other types of yoga, and support props help you achieve the proper pose alignment and comfort. The benefits of Restorative yoga include deep relaxation and stress relief.
Remember, whatever type of yoga you choose, it’s important to tell your instructor that you are a beginner. They will adapt the poses to ensure an engaging and comfortable experience.
Beginners’ Guide: Which Yoga Style is Right for You?
Having mentioned a few of the less yoga-challenging styles above, you may prefer something a bit more challenging. We will mention more demanding styles of yoga further in the article.
When deciding which type of yoga to practice, you’ll first have to see what styles are available at studios in your area. Even if you don’t have a wide variety, you should remember that all types of yoga have benefits; choose the most suitable to your needs.
However, before choosing, attend a class of all the available yoga styles to compare.
Virtual classes also allow you to practice yoga at home by following popular yoga teachers like Adrien Mishler, Briony Smyth, Tara Stiles, etc. These are also excellent if you don’t feel ready to join others in a class. It’s important to feel comfortable wherever you practice yoga, whether at a community center, studio, private instructor, or virtual teacher. You are in excellent hands if you have proper instructions for your poses and have fun. The right teacher is the best investment.
Unlocking the Benefits of the Best Yoga Type for Beginners
Yoga’s health benefits are well-known and scientifically proven. Forbes Health reminds us that even the National Institute of Health considers it to provide holistic benefits and a form of alternative medicine. Don’t expect to reap the benefits with just a few sessions; you get the best benefits when you include long-term yoga in your life.
Stress has proven to be the foremost cause of chronic illness and many diseases. Unfortunately, it’s tough not to have stress in these fast-paced times. According to researchers from one study, starting a yoga program reduces cortisol secretion ( the stress hormone). The 24 emotionally distressed women in the study who joined the study exhibited lower cortisol levels and less anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Studies showed improved strength and mobility with just a twice-weekly 90-minute yoga practice. After eight weeks, they also showed participants improved their cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
Inflammation often causes chronic pain and leads to other health conditions. A recent study of two groups performing stress-inducing moderate to strenuous exercise showed a clear winner in the most reduced inflammatory markers – yoga. Another study confirmed the finding but also found that yoga provided a buffer against stress since the respondents showed improved psychological function.
Improves Overall Quality of Life
Reduced stress, less inflammation, and improved fitness combined mean that the benefits of yoga include a better quality of life. Yoga is excellent for the body and mind since it encourages relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. The results include lower cortisol levels, more controlled breathing, a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure, increased oxygen, and better blood flow to all the body’s organs. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll improve your focus and self-confidence.
Discover the Ideal Yoga Class for Beginners
Rigorous or meditative, which is the best type of yoga for beginners? Discovering the ideal yoga for you will depend on the style of yoga you prefer.
In ancient times, they often referred to yoga as a tree with six branches because it has six paths. You can choose one to explore, but you can also explore more. Most surprisingly, many of these overlap, providing you with multiple benefits. These paths are:
- Raja – the path of meditative focus
- Karma – the path of service
- Bhakti – the path of devotion
- Jnana- the path of wisdom and knowledge
- Tantra – the path of rituals
- Hatha – the path that focuses on the mastery of the body
Some other types of yoga you may want to explore include:
Bikram yoga – Expect a specific set of poses performed in a heated and humid room during a 90-minute class. It is ideal for people who love a set routine.
Iyengar yoga – Focuses on the body’s structural alignment and often relies on props. Sequencing and timing are essential. It is ideal if you are always going on about details and form.
Kripalu yoga – If you want a gentle practice that’s more divine, you’ll like the focus on meditation, breathwork, and spirituality.
Kundalini yoga – Expect repetitive poses paired with breath, meditation, and chanting for an energizing yoga session.
Power yoga – Power yoga is ideal for a more rigorous routine with high-impact poses.
Yin yoga – In this slow-paced style of yoga, you can expect more extended pose holds, targeting the deep body tissues.
Unveiling the Top Yoga Types for Newbies
For beginners, starting with a gentle and beginner-friendly style of yoga is often recommended. Hatha yoga is an excellent choice for newbies as it provides a foundation for basic yoga poses and introduces fundamental breathing techniques. Hatha classes are generally slower-paced and focus on proper alignment and form, making it accessible for those new to yoga.
Additionally, classes labeled “Beginner Yoga” or “Yoga for Beginners” are specifically designed for those new to the practice. These classes typically cover basic poses, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques in a supportive and instructional environment.
Remember that yoga is a personal practice, and what works best for one person may not be the same for another—exploring different styles and classes to find what resonates with you. Other beginner-friendly styles include Iyengar, Yin, and restorative yoga. Always communicate with the instructor about your experience level and any physical limitations to ensure a safe and enjoyable practice.
Diving into the Best Yoga Type for Novice Practitioners
Novice practitioners have seen that the best type of yoga for beginners will depend on each person based on their fitness and comfort level. Whatever yoga style you choose, whether you prefer a more powerful, more spiritual, or slower practice, you can know that you can still expect to have all the benefits of yoga described above.