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We get asked a lot, “Which Yoga is best for fitness? If I want to get stronger and lose weight, is there one type of Yoga better than the others?”
What an awesome question! With so many different types of Yoga, it’s great to narrow down your options to find the one or two styles that suit you and your fitness goals best.
Below, we’re going to take the time to answer the question, “Which Yoga is best for fitness?” and really dive deep into the various Yoga types, looking at each for their intended goals and ultimate outcome. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly which type of Yoga suits you best and which is your best choice to get fit and in shape!
Which Yoga is Best for Fitness?
Before we answer this question, I want to take a moment to address what “fitness” means.
Physical fitness typically refers to a combination of four factors:
Mobility and flexibility
Yoga doesn’t typically target muscular strength—you need heavy weights for that—but you can improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance and improve mobility and flexibility through Yoga practice. By focusing on all three of these areas, you will become more “fit”.
Now, let’s take a look at the various types of Yoga and see how they improve each of these areas:
Hatha Yoga – Hatha Yoga is a slower-paced practice that emphasizes basic poses and breathing techniques. It’s an excellent option for those who are new to Yoga or just trying to master the basics, and it incorporates meditation and breathing techniques into the poses to both invigorate your body and calm your mind. It will definitely relax you physically and mentally, but it’s less focused on improving fitness.
Yin Yoga – Yin Yoga is a very meditation-focused practice, where all of the physical poses are used to help center your mind and improve your concentration on whatever meditative techniques are being incorporated. It uses a lot of passive postures and targets the connective tissue in your body, improving your overall mobility and flexibility. It’s particularly good if you need to release a lot of tension in tight muscles, but it won’t do much for improving your cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
Bikram Yoga – Bikram Yoga, also known as “Hot Yoga”, has quickly become one of the most popular options in the Western world. It’s not an overly fast-paced Yoga, but because you are doing the workout in a room at high temperature and high humidity, you sweat a lot and have much greater range of motion for your stretches. It’s definitely excellent at improving your mobility and flexibility, and you’ll find the high heat pushes your cardiovascular system. You also see improvements in your overall health thanks to the toxins being flushed from your body while you sweat.
Restorative Yoga – This form of Yoga is focused on relaxing, letting your mind and body calm down in preparation for or at the end of a long day. It’s intended to restore healthy internal function in your heart, lungs, muscles, joints, organs, and brain through the poses, and is even used to encourage injury or illness recovery. It typically utilizes props (blocks, straps, etc.) and is both relaxing and meditative—not ideal for better fitness, but amazing for improving your mental wellbeing.
Iyengar Yoga – Iyengar Yoga is a variation of Hatha Yoga that focuses a great deal on the pose, emphasizing the correct posture unique to your specific physiology. It uses chairs, blocks, harnesses, straps, and other props to help you achieve “ideal” alignment, making it excellent for mobility and flexibility.
Vinyasa Yoga – Also called “flow Yoga”, this type of Yoga focuses more on smooth transitions and seamless, pain-free movements between the various positions. It’s excellent for improving your mobility and flexibility, and because you are constantly moving between poses, it does target your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. All of your movements are synchronized with your breath, so it’s particularly good for improving cardiopulmonary health.
Jock Yoga – Jock Yoga is one of the newest types of Yoga, created in Canada as a form of power-oriented Yoga that focuses on endurance and strength rather than merely flexibility. All of the movements are vigorous and performed along with contemporary music, making it great for athletes who want to improve their cardiovascular and muscular endurance while also increasing joint mobility.
Ashtanga Yoga – Ashtanga Yoga is a flow-oriented practice similar to Vinyasa, using six sequences performed back to back at a rapid speed, with every movement synchronized to your breathing. It’s a faster-paced class that will definitely target your muscular and cardiovascular endurance, while also improving your mobility and flexibility. It’s also an incredibly methodical practice, one you can memorize and repeat easily day in and day out.
After reading this list of the various Yoga types, it’s pretty clear to see that the answer to the question “Which Yoga is best for fitness?” is Vinyasa Yoga, Jock Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga. While the other Yoga types do provide physical and mental benefits, it’s these three that focus on improving muscular and cardiovascular endurance will also increasing joint mobility and flexibility. If your goal is getting stronger, losing weight, and seeing real fitness results, you’d do well to try one of these Yoga types.
Which Yoga is Best for Fitness? Try Get Yoga Lean and Find Out!
If you’re taking up Yoga for the purpose of getting fit, you’ll definitely want to try Get Yoga Lean. We created Get Yoga Lean specifically to help you improve your fitness on every level—not just flexibility and mobility, but better cardiovascular endurance and enhanced muscular performance, both in terms of strength and endurance.
Get Yoga Lean combines the best mental and physical disciplines of Yoga into a single, highly effective weight loss-oriented workout program. The answer to the question of “Which Yoga is best for fitness?” is definitely Get Yoga Lean!
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