The 9 main types of spiritual yoga (beginners guide)

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If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know there are many different types of poses and sequences.

But there are also many different types of spiritual yoga and as a beginner, that can be overwhelming.

We’re breaking it down into the 10 main types of spiritual yoga so that you can find exactly what suits you!

1) Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga is a meditation and yogic path that cultivates self-awareness through movement, breath, and sound.

The idea is to awaken the energy that lies dormant at the base of your spine and travel up through your body to the crown of your head.

As a path, it’s suitable for every person seeking to grow and transform.

You see, in this type of yoga, it is all about releasing pent-up energy within you and getting back to that free flow of energy.

Although it has many different types of practices, Kundalini Yoga is most commonly practiced in a group setting where the focus is on breathing, chanting, and meditation.

What to expect: Kundalini Yoga is often practiced in a group setting and may be led by a teacher.

If you’re new to yoga, it’s helpful to start in a beginner’s class.

Most classes include breathing exercises, sitting and standing poses, and sometimes even a mantra.

What to wear: You can wear anything you’re comfortable in, as long as it doesn’t get in the way.

A loose tank top and yoga pants are ideal. If you decide to wear long pants, make sure they are not too tight.

What to bring: You do not need to bring anything to a typical class. Make sure to bring a yoga mat or towel if you plan on practicing at home.

2) Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion and an excellent path for people who are new to yoga.

It is a devotional practice that uses meditation, mantra, service, and singing or chanting to cultivate a sense of love, devotion, and connection toward the divine.

Bhakti Yoga is a path that leaves no one behind.

Anyone from any background can be a devotee and experience the benefits of Bhakti Yoga.

Bhakti Yoga is a path that welcomes everyone with open arms.

It has no room for discrimination and is a path for everyone who wishes to walk it.

What to expect: The Bhakti Yoga experience varies greatly depending on the type of practice you choose.

Bhakti Yoga can be done as a solo practice or in a group setting.

It can be practiced with music, with a deity, or with a specific focus, such as expressing gratitude.

Bhakti Yoga often begins with a centering and grounding exercise.

From there, one might choose to sing, chant, or send love and gratitude to a specific person or deity.

Some Bhakti Yoga practices are silent, often with the intention of sending love into the world.

Bhakti Yoga can be practiced either in a seated position or in a standing position.

When seated, it’s important to keep your spine straight and not slouch. If you are standing, simply stand tall with your shoulders back and relaxed.

What to bring: You do not need to bring anything to Bhakti Yoga. A Bhakti Yoga class will likely have a singing bowl or a gong for you to use.

Especially when you want to deepen your connection to the divine and your devotion, Bhakti Yoga can be an amazing choice.

In today’s world, we are often on the go, never taking time to actually tap in with our devotion.

Bhakti Yoga is a practice that can help you feel more connected to the divine, and it can be done anywhere.

If you want to cultivate your devotion, this is a great yoga path for you.

3)Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga that focuses on the breath, bandhas (body locks), and sun salutations.

It’s a great form of yoga but it is not a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of yoga.

Ashtanga is physically demanding and therefore might not be the best choice for a beginner.

The focus in an Ashtanga class is the breath, flow, and alignment.

It’s a great way to cultivate discipline and self-awareness.

What to expect: An Ashtanga class starts with the sun salutations and then moves through a sequence of standing and seated poses, twists, and inversions.

The primary focus is on flow, alignment, and breath.

The instructor will typically go through a flow and encourage you to move at your own pace.

For example, if the class is finishing a standing sequence and you cannot lift your leg, the instructor will likely suggest that you stay seated.

What to wear: You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Some people prefer to wear yoga pants or leggings, while others prefer shorts.

What to bring: For an Ashtanga class, make sure you bring a yoga mat and a towel.

4) Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a set sequence of 26 poses that are done in a room heated to about 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s with the intention of helping people improve their health and well-being.

Bikram Yoga is a vigorous form of yoga that is a great way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally.

What to expect: Bikram Yoga takes place in a room that is heated to about 40 degrees Celsius.

You must wear clothing that you can sweat in and be prepared to sweat a lot!

With Bikram Yoga, prepare to be challenged on all levels.

Bikram Yoga is also great if you are recovering from certain injuries.

The heat allows you to stretch your muscles without as much risk of injury.

However, the added heat and humidity will take a toll on your nerves and Bikram yoga allows you to really toughen your mind as well as your body!

What to wear: Wear clothing that can get sweaty. Some people prefer to wear baggy pants, while others prefer shorts. Your instructor will let you know if you should wear shorts or pants.

What to bring: Make sure to bring a water bottle and a towel.

Water is a must as you will be sweating a lot and don’t want to dehydrate.

Usually, water should always be your companion in all yoga classes, but this one, in particular, is very intense and you will be sweating a lot.

If possible, pack a bottle of water to take with you to the class.

5) Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is a type of yoga that uses long holds of poses in a restorative environment.

It’s a slow-paced practice that’s easy for beginners to pick up, especially those who are looking for a gentler flow.

Yin Yoga is a good choice for beginners who are interested in trying yoga but are not sure if it’s the right practice for them.

Yin Yoga is a very restorative practice with poses that are held for longer periods of time. It’s a good choice for people who are interested in improving flexibility and experiencing a sense of calm.

If you are an athlete, Yin yoga is most definitely the ideal addition to your schedule on rest days or active rest days, as it requires little energy but will stretch your muscles thoroughly.

What to expect: A Yin Yoga class consists of a series of poses that are held for 3-5 minutes each.

The poses are done in a reclined position with the joints bent (this helps take pressure off of them). All of the poses are done on the floor.

If you’re new to yoga, you may want to start with a beginner’s class.

What to wear: Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Some people prefer to wear yoga pants or leggings, while others prefer shorts.

Now, with Yin Yoga, in particular, you want to wear something comfortable. While more active styles of yoga call for activewear like sports bras, this yoga style is really slow and therefore leaves room for you to choose your outfit.

What to bring: You do not need to bring anything to a Yin Yoga class.

6) Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a practice of physical postures or asanas combined with breathwork and meditation.

Hatha Yoga is a great way to improve your general health, including your mental health.

It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the practice of yoga.

Hatha Yoga is a great choice for beginners, especially if you are not sure which path to choose.

What to expect: A Hatha Yoga class normally begins with a short breathing exercise or a guided meditation.

After that, the instructor leads the class through a sequence of asanas (postures).

The flow varies from class to class, but it’s often advisable to start with a beginner’s sequence.

Hatha is an umbrella term for a range of styles that are based on the same principles.

In that way, it is an ideal yoga to start off with!

What to wear: Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Some people prefer to wear yoga pants or leggings, while others prefer shorts.

What to bring: Make sure to bring a water bottle and a towel.

7) Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga is a form of yoga that uses movement and breath to create a flow.

Vinyasa Yoga is a great way to get a good workout without having to spend hours of your day on the mat.

It’s an energizing and invigorating practice that will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

It’s also a great way to get some quality cardio in while you are on the mat, so it’s an excellent addition to your routine.

What to expect: A Vinyasa Yoga class typically begins with a warm-up, which consists of gentle stretches and breath work.

Then, the instructor leads the class through various vinyasas (movements) that are held for about 30 seconds each.

The sequence varies from class to class, but it’s often advisable for beginners to start with a beginner’s sequence.

What to wear: Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

What to bring: Make sure to bring a water bottle and a towel.

8) Power Yoga

Power Yoga is a form of yoga that uses strength and poses that focus on the upper body, such as lifts and twists.

It’s a great way to build muscle tone, burn calories and burn fat at the same time!

It’s also an effective way for beginners to get into the practice of yoga, as it doesn’t require any previous experience.

What to expect: A Power Yoga class typically begins with a warm-up that consists of gentle stretches and breath work.

Then, the instructor leads the class through various power moves that are held for about 30 seconds each.

Power Yoga is a bit more on the physical side of things, so if you choose to go this path, know that the focus will be less on spirituality here.

9) Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on the body’s alignment and flexibility.

What to expect: A Iyengar Yoga class typically begins with a warm-up that consists of gentle stretches and breath work.

Then, the instructor leads the class through various Iyengar vinyasas (movements) while encouraging everyone to control their breath.

Iyengar is considered a more advanced practice, so if you choose this path, make sure you do your research before going!

What to expect: The poses are usually held for a long time. There will be lots of props that help you to perfect your form and go even deeper into stretches.

Which one will you try?

There are many types of spiritual yoga out there, but in the end, there really isn’t any type that is better than the other.

You need to focus on what your goals are and what you are trying to achieve with yoga.

Once you do that, you will find practices that resonate more with you than others.

When that is done, there is really nothing holding you back from finding the perfect practice.

Any yoga practice can be spiritual, it really just depends on you!

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