When picking out a yoga class, the number of different options and styles can often seem overwhelming. To make it a little easier, here is a quick summary of some of the styles you may encounter more frequently in your yoga journey, though there are many more!
Hatha Yoga is a term that refers to yoga’s physical practice—encompassing any form of yoga that focuses on the poses (asanas), rather than on other branches of yoga practice (such as Karma Yoga). Many styles of yoga can be classified as Hatha Yoga, but often the term refers specifically to a slower-moving practice in which the asanas are held for several breaths, allowing the practitioner to emphasize alignment and deepen the postures. Hatha Yoga classes also tend to incorporate breathing exercises (pranayama). Keene Yoga Center offers a Heated Hatha/Vinyasa class on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.
Vinyasa Yoga is an energetic practice which moves fluidly between asanas. Each movement in Vinyasa Yoga is linked with the breath. Keene Yoga Center offers a $5 Fridays Community Vinyasa Flow every Friday evening from 5:30 to 6:45 PM, as well as a number of Hot Vinyasa classes for a variety of experience levels, offered throughout the week. Check out the KYC website for more information!
Introduced to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga Yoga is an intense and dynamic style of yoga which follows the same set of sequences during each practice. Just as in Vinyasa Yoga, each movement is linked to a breath. Keene Yoga Center’s Ashtanga classes are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 AM.
Hot Yoga is a term which can encompass a variety of different types of yoga, but are practiced in a room heated to approximately 90 degrees. There are Hot Hatha Yoga classes, Hot Vinyasa classes, and Hot Gentle Yoga classes, among others. Keene Yoga Center has several Hot Yoga class offerings throughout the week, including: Hot Vinyasa Level 2 on Sundays from 9:30 to 10:45 AM, Hot Vinyasa Level 1-2 from 9:00 to 10:15 AM on Mondays, Morning Hot Vinyasa Level 1-2 from 6:30 to 7:30 AM on Tuesdays, Hot Vinyasa Level 2-3 from 5:30 to 6:45 PM on Wednesdays, Gentle Hot Yoga from 5:30 to 7:00 PM on Thursdays, and Hot Vinyasa Flow from 9:30 to 10:45 AM on Saturdays, though you will find even more offerings on the KYC website. Don’t forget to bring a towel!
Restorative Yoga is a wonderfully soothing yoga practice that uses props (bolsters, blocks, and blankets are among the more common props you will find in Restorative classes) to support the body in passive poses. Use of supportive props allow the practitioner to enjoy the benefits of the asanas without exerting stress on the body. Restorative Yoga is a relaxing, stress-relieving practice that can benefit yoga practitioners of all experience levels. Sometimes, teachers leading more meditative yoga classes will incorporate restorative postures towards the end of the class before moving into the final resting pose (savasana).
If you’re looking for a way to deepen your existing practice– or a way to start up a new practice– consider trying a style of yoga that is new to you! With such a broad range of options, you’ll be sure to find classes that align with your needs.
Written by Grace Martin
Grace Martin is a library assistant and aspiring writer who loves food, fiber arts, and reading any book she can get her hands on. She was drawn to yoga in early 2017, and enjoys incorporating aspects of meditation and ritual into her practice. She has lived in Keene for the past two years.