I started doing sun salutations back in college while practicing hatha yoga, went on incredible mind-bending journeys during hypno-yoga and then became a fan of power yoga with Brian Kest when I lived in Los Angeles. Recently, I have gravitated to hot yoga, enjoying that muscle-penetrating heat and a detoxifying sweat. Over the years, I’ve tried everything from stand up paddle yoga to acrobatic and laughter yoga. Needless to say, yoga comes in myriad forms. I believe there’s a style for everyone — whether you’re a spiritual seeker, stress monkey, athlete or acrobat. Here’s a little guide to help you discover which form of yoga fits best with your personality type.
The Stress Monkey
This traditional practice focuses on a series of poses to restore balance, alignment and flexibility, along with teaching key breathing techniques that can help quiet the mind and derail anxiety.
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga
The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California, created this yoga practice that merges meditation, breath work, philosophy, sun salutations and poses with the seven principles from Deepak Chopra’s acclaimed book The Seven Spiritual Laws. The center also offers week-long yoga and meditation retreats.
The Type A
This methodical practice is a sequence of postures performed in a specific order, ideal for people who like a routine and control. It incorporates vinyasa flow moves, sun salutations, inversions and balance poses, and it demands discipline and hard physical work.
The Outdoors Person
SUP yoga takes place on stand up paddle boards that are anchored in shallow waters. It is an intensive and wonderful core workout as poses go to the next level when having to do them while balancing on the board. While it’s truly fun to be in your bathing suit doing downward dogs above the water, be prepared to get wet.
You can belly laugh and guffaw freely during this class that takes the concept of “Laughter is the best medicine” seriously. Yogic deep breathing, stretching and self-induced laughter are integrated to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and find joy. This class is said to boost happiness and health.
This restorative and deep stretch class is a perfect antidote for tight, overworked muscles. Blankets, blocks and straps are often used and the poses are held a little longer, so you can get into the deep connective tissues and use your breath to help release tension.
This antigravity class in a hammock-like apparatus mingles yoga, Pilates techniques and acrobatic poses. You can swing, soar, stretch and spin. It’s great for people with back issues, as it decompresses the spine and can also help improve circulation. And it’s fun to swing upside down like a monkey.
The Music Fan
Live Music Yoga / Rock ‘n’ Roll Yoga
Performers playing the guitar, drums or other instruments enhance yoga sessions, offering sound and song as a form of therapeutic healing to relax or clear the mind. Other music-based classes may feature a single artist or specific playlist, elevating the energy or invigorating the poses based on the tunes.
This gentle class is a perfect place to unwind and slow down through yogic breathing, deep-stretch poses and long shivasanas.
The Craft Beer Connoisseur
Local breweries are offering late morning yoga classes followed by social gatherings over suds, so you can get your sweat on and then share a cold brew with your fellow yogis and yoginis.
The Animal Lover
Doga and Goat Yoga
Coinciding with our culture’s obsession with dogs, Doga partners pet owners with their four-legged friends in a series of poses that bring harmony and good energy between you and your pooch. Poses range from The Wheelbarrow where you pick up your dog’s back legs to heart-to-hound mudra breath work. This class definitely brings new meaning to the concept of downward-facing dog.
Goat yoga is another wacky trend, a practice that involves adorable dwarf goats standing on your back while you are doing planks and other poses. If you don’t mind the sound of bleating while doing a backbend, this class might appeal to you. The cuteness factor is huge, and studies have shown that interactions with animals can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
What will they think of next?
Journalist Ann Wycoff has written about wellness, fitness, longevity, travel, spas, food and wine for the past 20 years for magazines like Shape, Fitness, Spa, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living, Redbook, Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine, Redbook, Marin Magazine and more. She lives in Encinitas, California.