5 types of yoga to try in NoVA (and where to find them)

Trying to decipher a class schedule? Here’s what you need to know, from ashtanga to vinyasa.

women practicing yoga in white shirts
© fizkes / stock.adobe.com

Back in 2016, Forbes published an article that claimed yoga was taking the country by storm. Millions of people across the U.S. had come to the practice with a mat and a towel, looking for peace, pain relief, stress relief or other health and wellness benefits. 

Yoga has popped up just about everywhere, and dozens of different types have too. Whether you’re looking for a gentle stretch or a new challenge, here are five types of yoga you can find and try across NoVA. Don’t forget: Not every type will fit with everyone, so research, try and reflect to find your favorite. 

Aerial Yoga

Also known as “anti-gravity yoga,” this method incorporates traditional yoga poses (and the strength and flexibility needed to do them) with a silk hammock hanging from the ceiling. The method allows for postures and poses to take place off of the ground, letting participants “fly” or hang freely, on occasion. It can have added benefits such as decompression of the spine, deeper muscle releases and a more challenging aerobic practice. Aside from learning to trust yourself, your body and your ability to wrap your arms and legs in a silk, the practice offers a peaceful savasana of swaying back and forth in the silk like a hammock. If you are uncomfortable with heights or being upside down, this may not be the class for you. Be sure to check with your chosen studio about introductory classes before jumping right in. 

Where to Find It: 

Samskara Yoga and Healing: 22000 Dulles Retail Plaza, Suite 102, Sterling

Shakti Aerial Yoga: 45630 Falke Plaza, Suite 270, Sterling

Spark Yoga: 2201 N. Pershing Drive, Suite G, Arlington

Ashtanga Yoga

Depending on where you look, you might catch ashtanga yoga or ashtanga vinyasa yoga on a class schedule. You might also think, “Doesn’t that sound like two versions put together? Help!” Don’t worry. Ashtanga yoga encompasses vinyasa yoga, which we cover down below. This type is what is known as a traditional form of yoga, one that follows the same sequence of poses each time and promotes movement with breath, as well as stretching and strengthening throughout the body. Many local classes allow students to learn the basics of ashtanga yoga by starting with the foundation poses, and then building on a personal practice from there. Students can move into upper-level classes that allow for deeper stretches and more personalized practices, as well as breathing exercises and more. If you’re looking for a way to build your home practice, see how your body feels doing yoga or just get a better sense of what yoga is all about, ashtanga could be your best go-to. Be sure to check in with your chosen location or instructor to find the class that’s best for you. 

Where to Find It:

Ashtanga Nation: 3313 Arlington Blvd., Arlington

River’s Edge Yoga: 300 Montgomery St., Second Floor, Alexandria

532YOGA: 532 N. Washington St., Suite 100, Alexandria

Hatha Yoga

In Sanskrit, the word hatha translates to “force, forceful or willful” and can encompass other traditional styles of yoga found in NoVA, including vinyasa and ashtanga. Hatha is a more specific practice for building physical strength and endurance, and focuses on extended periods of time in static poses, meaning more time in commonly known postures, such as downward-facing dog or a warrior series. Although all classes vary, students can expect a slower, deeper class that allows peace in the mind and body, while also challenging, strengthening and stretching all muscles. Check with your chosen studio prior to signing up for a class to ensure it would be right for you. 

Where to Find It: 

Radiance Yoga: 701 Prince St., Alexandria

Sun & Moon Yoga Studio: 3811 Lee Highway, Arlington and 9998 Main St., Fairfax

Blue Nectar Yoga: 513 W. Broad St., Suite 110C, Falls Church

Hot Yoga

There’s a good chance someone you know has raved about hot yoga. The sticky, sweaty practice comes in many forms, but it all boils down to one essential factor: the warm temperature. One form of hot yoga, known as Bikram yoga (which inspired a recent Netflix documentary), is performed in a room up to 105 degrees. As you might have guessed, hot yoga, which can also be seen as power yoga, is performed in a heated, humid room with challenging poses and an emphasis on strength building and deeper stretching. Temperatures vary based on the location you choose, but can range anywhere from a cozy 80 degrees to over 100 degrees, and can be from 45 minutes to up to 90 minutes long. Although the classes can challenge attendees in new ways and help strengthen and stretch bodies, be aware that heated yoga classes can be potentially dangerous for those with particular medical conditions, beginners (due to overstretching) and can be a lot to handle for someone who is not used to exercising in extreme heat. Take precaution while trying your first class, monitor your heart rate and body reactions and be sure to speak with an instructor before class to get a proper feel. 

Beyond Hot Yoga: 5673 Stone Road, Suite A, Centreville

CorePower Yoga: 8302 Hilltop Road, Fairfax

Homegrown Power Yoga: 295 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon

Vinyasa Yoga

As a subset of ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga offers a more flexible (no pun intended), and free-moving yoga class than other variations. Because of the style of flow, vinyasa incorporates different breathing techniques and sequence combinations to create a different practice each time, and has influenced other types of yoga thanks to its lack of rigidity. For those looking to get a feel for a yoga class, move and stretch their bodies or just get a different yoga sequence, vinyasa is the way to go. It is good for beginners and gentle pacing, and it’s great for a more challenging sequence if that’s what the instructor is inspired to teach, but classes can vary in experience required or expected, so be sure to check with a location or instructor before joining a class. Vinyasa yoga is offered at most yoga studios across the region.

FierceOm: 14383 Newbrook Drive, Suite 200, Chantilly

PIES Fitness Yoga Studio: 374 S. Pickett St., Alexandria

Prana Vibe: 3656 Centerview Drive, Suite 6, Chantilly

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