Many see yoga as a fitness routine, a method for treating depression, or even as a way of life.
If you’re considering practicing yoga, then you may wonder if you can treat it like a hobby.
Here’s what you need to know about yoga and whether it’s a hobby or not.
Is Yoga A Hobby?
No, Yoga is classified as a practice.
It’s a practice that combines concentration, certain physical poses, and deep breathing.
Practitioners trace the roots of yoga back to India.
Since there are different types and styles of yoga, you may wonder if you can treat it as a hobby.
A hobby, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.”
Essentially, a hobby is something that you do to relax.
Many people consider yoga to be relaxing.
As such, yoga can be a hobby if you want to treat it as such.
What Are The Different Types And Styles Of Yoga?
If you want to start performing yoga as a hobby, you may wonder which style you should adopt.
It isn’t as simple as going to a yoga class.
Certain practitioners teach certain styles.
Even if you don’t like one style of yoga, you may find that you like another one more.
Here are a few styles of yoga you should consider taking on as a hobby.
1. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga in the west.
The style links several different physical poses with breathing exercises to create a continuous sequence.
Many see this style of yoga as challenging and even rigorous.
That’s because it combines strength, endurance, and flexibility.
You often even need to use all of them at the same time.
Besides using set routines, Ashtanga yoga is also a practice.
It’s derived from the Ashtanga Yoga School.
To understand the tenets of the school, it’s important to understand what Ashtanga means.
Ashtanga is a combination of Sanskrit words.
Ashta is the number eight while Anga refers to a limb or body part.
The school sees its particular practice as the unification of all eight limbs of yoga.
Each limb represents a particular yoga philosophy.
Those limbs include:
- Yama – moral codes
- Niyama – self-discipline
- Asana – posture
- Pranayama – breath control
- Pratyahara – sesnse withdrawal
- Dharana – concentration
- Dhyana – meditation
- Samadhi – oneness with self
There are six levels within Ashtanga yoga with each level increasing in difficulty.
You can consider Ashtanga yoga as one of the more physically intense styles of yoga.
The goal of Ashtanga yoga is to bring strength to the body but also to promote mental clarity and inner peace.
Mastering the poses enables you to advance through the different levels.
Since Ashtanga yoga is quite physical, it’s ideal for those who are looking for a hobby that keeps them active.
2. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is sometimes called hot yoga, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same as actual hot yoga.
Hot yoga is a term that refers to any yoga class with heated rooms.
In some classes labeled as hot yoga, the temperatures aren’t always as high as what they reach in Bikram yoga classrooms.
In Bikram yoga, the temperature of the classroom tends to be around 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
They also keep the humidity at around 40% to make the room feel even hotter.
Bikram yoga is pretty intense, especially for those who aren’t in the best shape already.
The practice consists of performing 26 poses in a set cycle for 90 minutes.
The order of the poses doesn’t change.
In most cases, Bikram yoga doesn’t include inversion yoga.
An example of an inverted yoga pose is a headstand.
That said, if a student advances through their class, then the instructor might allow them to perform inverted poses, too.
Since Bikram yoga occurs in a heated room, you can expect to burn quite a few calories.
The demand on your body is a bit higher since it’s also trying to keep cool.
Bikram yoga is a good choice for someone looking for a hobby that will help them stay fit and improve their self-discipline and endurance.
3. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is a general term for any type of yoga that uses physical poses.
You can think of it as an umbrella with various styles of yoga beneath it.
Sometimes Hatha yoga is also advertised as its own class.
In this case, it often serves as a sort of introductory class.
In it, students will learn some basic poses and philosophies of yoga.
From there, the student can look into more defined styles of yoga to find the sort of practice that interests them.
As such, Hatha yoga is a great place to start for people looking to make yoga a hobby.
It can give you a basic understanding of what yoga entails and give you an idea of other styles to pursue when the class finishes.
4. Iyengar Yoga
Another style of yoga is Iyengar yoga.
This style of yoga gets its name from its creator, B.K.S. Iyengar.
He developed this style of yoga to make yoga more accessible for all ages and body types.
The Iyengar yoga style focuses on three things:
Alignment refers to the ability to maintain a certain pose without taxing the body’s limits.
While yoga wants you to develop your balance and flexibility, it doesn’t want you to injure yourself by pushing past what your body is physically capable of at that moment.
Because of that, Iyengar yoga includes the use of props.
You might practice it on an exercise ball, a chair, or any other object that can help you maintain the various poses.
Once you’ve achieved alignment, you’re able to better maintain the pose without, perhaps, the use of a prop.
Sequencing refers to the actual order of the various poses that you perform.
Iyengar yoga believes that poses should follow the same order each time.
This helps create a balance both physically and emotionally because you know what’s coming next.
It’s when you don’t know what’s coming next that feelings of anxiety and fear can manifest.
Finally, timing refers to the extended holding of the poses.
In Iyengar yoga, you often end up holding the poses longer than in other styles of yoga.
The belief is that if you’re able to work on holding poses longer, it provides greater stability.
You’re able to practice and appreciate each pose at a deeper level.
Otherwise, you might rush through the pose and miss the stability that each pose offers.
Iyengar yoga is a great choice for someone looking to make yoga a hobby because it’s ideal for anyone.
No matter if you have flexibility or mobility problems, the use of props can get you started with yoga.
It’s a bit more relaxed than some other styles of yoga which may be ideal for beginners, too.
If you don’t think you have the physical strength or endurance for the other styles of yoga, then you might want to start with Iyengar yoga.
5. Kripalu Yoga
Another ideal yoga style for beginners to try is Kripalu yoga.
This style of yoga is a bit gentler than the other styles.
It has a compassionate approach.
Many students of Kripalu yoga tend to use it in their everyday lives.
In particular, it emphasizes moving at your own pace, becoming adaptable, and improving self-acceptance.
Because there’s a focus on self-love and acceptance, it tends to be quite popular among those who feel as though they’re not part of the status quo.
Kripalu yoga includes a series of meditation and breathing exercises.
Students then perform some light stretching exercises followed by various poses.
The poses aren’t held for very long at the beginning.
As the student defines their strength and endurance and builds, they’re able to hold the poses longer and longer.
The final part of the class usually includes the relaxed state which means students lay on their backs on the mat.
It’s often referred to as a corpse pose.
In some Kripalu yoga classes, students will also choose their poses.
They’ll use the poses that they connect to the most and hold them for as long as they can.
Kripalu yoga tends to be the most customizable style of yoga.
If you’re thinking of making yoga a hobby, then this style is also worth considering.
It can help you become more aware of your thoughts and shift them from negative to positive.
It also works as a means to build a solid foundation for strength, flexibility, and endurance.
If you struggle with self-acceptance or feel as though you’re not part of the norm, taking a Kripalu yoga class may be exactly what you need.
6. Kundalini Yoga
If you’re someone that suffers from anxiety or a lot of nervous energy, then Kundalini yoga may be an ideal hobby for you.
The style focuses on releasing pent-up energy inside of your body.
Its goal is to help you become more self-aware of yourself and your thoughts.
You then have an easier time silencing those thoughts and using your energy more efficiently.
For someone who has anxiety, it might allow you to reduce the thoughts causing your anxiety and allow you to use your energy in a more effective way rather than focusing on your fears.
Kundalini yoga is similar to the other styles of yoga in that it uses poses and meditation.
However, its breathing exercises are a bit more challenging.
It’s designed to help move your body’s energy from one place to the next.
The idea is to move energy from one limb to the next before finally letting it escape through the crown of your head.
Along with challenging breathing exercises, there’s also usually some form of chanting or singing involved.
Besides improving your mood and reducing stress, some students find that practicing Kundalini yoga helps boost their metabolisms.
They’re able to stay fit as a result.
Kundalini yoga is a bit more advanced than some of the other styles of yoga.
That said, it could be a great hobby for someone willing to commit to the class’s philosophies.
7. Power Yoga
You might sometimes see a class that calls itself power yoga.
Power yoga isn’t an official style of yoga although some see it as a variant of Vinyasa yoga.
The focus of power yoga is more on the body rather than the mind.
It uses the same poses you might see in other styles of yoga.
However, instead of holding those poses, power yoga has you moving through each one in a continuous form of movement.
The session is intense and fast.
You repeat each set of poses often during a certain time limit.
Some consider power yoga as more of an aerobics class than actual yoga.
However, controlling your breathing is just as important in Power yoga as it is in other yoga classes.
If you’re worried that you might find yoga boring if you were to take it on as a hobby, then you might want to consider trying power yoga out.
Its fast-paced and intense workout might be more your speed.
8. Sivananda Yoga
If you’re looking to make yoga more of a lifestyle than a hobby, you might prefer to practice Sivananda yoga.
This type of yoga looks to maintain the vitality of your life as you age.
To do so, it uses breathing exercises, physical exercise, meditation, relaxation, and the pursuit of a vegetarian diet.
By following its tenets, you can live a cleaner and healthier life which can help prolong it and ensure you’re healthy as you age.
A typical Sivananda yoga class starts early in the morning.
You usually perform Sun Salutation practices before engaging in the actual Sivananda yoga.
To start, you might have some relaxing exercises followed by breathing exercises.
You then get a moment of relaxation and meditation.
After that, you return to more poses.
Following a vegetarian diet is something you have to do outside of the classroom.
Sivananda yoga is more of a lifestyle than a hobby, but if you want to try to maintain your vitality as you age, you might want to consider trying this style of yoga.
Viniyoga is another style of yoga that is great for beginners.
It tends to focus on perfecting the form of poses over time.
It understands that everyone comes to yoga with various strength abilities, endurance abilities, and flexibility.
It works to encourage its students to hold poses that work for their bodies as long as they can.
It’s similar to Iyengar yoga except that it doesn’t use props.
As the individual holds the pose longer and longer, they’re able to build up their strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Viniyoga tends to focus on the journey rather than the destination.
Since it’s a bit slower-paced, Viniyoga is an ideal style of yoga for someone looking to make it a hobby.
10. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga looks to improve the strength, endurance, and flexibility that you have with your deep, connective, tissue.
It requires you to hold each pose for a long time.
As your body starts to feel strain, it teaches you to look inwards and come to peace with the physical and mental discomfort that you may be experiencing.
Not only will Yin yoga improve your flexibility and endurance, but it can also help you with your self-discipline.
Yin yoga can be a great hobby for someone who wants to improve their flexibility and self-discipline.
Many consider yoga to be a relaxing practice although each class, itself, isn’t always the most relaxing.
Some use yoga as a lifestyle, but you can treat it as a hobby.
There are some styles of yoga, particularly those for beginners, that are better for use as a hobby than others.