Depending on what you are looking for, there is probably a style of yoga for you. It may be confusing when you go to a yoga studio because there are so many class names. Two of the most popular styles in the United States are vinyasa and hot yoga, but what is the difference?

First of all, what is yoga? At its very core, yoga means “union.” As we know it today, yoga is generally a physical practice that unifies breath and movement. It offers the opportunity to slow down, observe your thoughts, and move mindfully. So, how do you decide which style is right for you? Let’s explore a few.

By far, the most common style you will find in the United States in Vinyasa, which means “flow.” In a typical vinyasa class, the teacher will lead students through several postures which move – or flow – from one to another. Vinyasa yoga tends to be pretty active, so you’ll get a good workout, but it’s more than that. Each movement is linked with breath, with the primary focus being on the student’s breath. This is the heart of the practice. Focusing in on your breath is where the mind-body connection comes in. This simple act will help you become calmer, more focused, and overall more relaxed, all while getting your body to move.

Hot yoga is another extremely popular style of yoga.  In a hot yoga class the room is heated to 105⁰ F, and the student is led through the same series of 26 poses. The room is so hot in order to help the student sweat out excess toxins. Depending on the length of the class, the series may repeated twice. Just as in a vinyasa yoga class, each movement is linked with the breath. Hot yoga classes are very regimented. There is no room for creativity in the sequence of movements. While it may sound like torture to some, people love this kind of yoga. Look around and you will see hot classes everywhere.

So, how do you decide what is right for you? Try it out! There are almost as many yoga styles as people. Chances are, if you don’t like one kind of class, there is another class right around the corner that is perfect for you.

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