Styles of yoga

Ashtanga, vinyasa, blah blah-asana. What the heck are they talking about? Here's a primer on the yoga styles you'll see around Boulder.

Vinyasa is a descriptor that indicates a flowing style of practice. In a vinyasa class, you'll move through many poses, coordinating your breath with the movement. Vinyasa is offered at many of Boulder's yoga studios.

Yin yoga is a more passive practice designed to work into your tendons and ligaments. In Yin, you'll slow way down and hold poses for extended periods of time. This is one of the few classes at CorePower in which the teachers cool the room rather than warming it.

Forrest yoga , named after founder Ana Forrest, is a practice that moves slowly but builds plenty of heat and strength. You'll hold poses longer in a Forrest class, and that includes the ab work (abs sore here just thinking about it). Forrest classes always include some pranayama, or breath work, in addition to asana (poses).

Ashtanga is an athletic style of yoga with an emphasis on alignment. Students usually perform a set series of poses in the same order, but if you take a class at Yoga Workshop, you'll see some variety on that order as the teacher guides you through the class.

Restorative yoga is exactly what it sounds like -- time to restore your body. Tough week? Long hike or day on the slopes? A restorative class will stretch out tight, sore muscles and relax your overworked brain.

Time to chill, Buffs.

Wait, you're getting too chill. The semester just started. Seriously, get up off the floor. Yoga in Boulder isn't just some light stretching and warm-fuzzy intentions and that's it. It's active. It's fun (and funny. I mean the things you end up doing). It's a time when you can take your well being seriously but not take yourself too seriously.

Tammie Andrighetti, front, and Ali Farrell, center, settle into downward-facing dog at Sangha Studios in Louisville.
Tammie Andrighetti, front, and Ali Farrell, center, settle into downward-facing dog at Sangha Studios in Louisville. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

Like after class, when you realize you had a dryer sheet stuck to the back of your yoga top the whole time.

Don't worry, not awky. Non-judgement. Namaste and stuff.

Anyway, where to start! Around here, yoga is everywhere. Which is awesome.

For starters, check out the Rec Center's convenient offering of yoga classes -- at all levels and all times of day, and on campus, of course. Then, if you decide you're ready to explore Boulder's many, many yoga options, try one of these five studios.

Little Yoga Studio

2525 Arapahoe Ave. (on the Folsom side of the shopping plaza)

http://littleyogastudio.com/

In a town where you can spend a small fortune on yoga classes, the Little Yoga Studio opened a few years ago with a sweet premise -- $10 drop-in classes. You don't have to buy 25 classes to get that deal. It's not one class a week. That's just how much it costs all the time, every class. (You can get an even cheaper per-class rate if you buy 20 classes.) And many of the teachers leading classes here are the same ones teaching at other studios around town, for more.

What you miss out on for the lower price is the locker room and showers. If you're riding your bike home from a warm yoga class, anyway, then you probably don't care about that shower. But if you're heading straight to work or class after yoga, at least try one of the non-heated class options at this studio.

CorePower Yoga

3 locations in Boulder:

1129 13th St. (on the Hill)

645 27th Way (South Boulder)

3280 28th St. (North Boulder)

corepoweryoga.com

Though CorePower offers a variety of classes, from restorative to yin to live-music flows, what really drives the vibe here is their heated power yoga classes. You'll sweat and work hard but regroup and in the end feel wonderfully wrung-out and rejuvenated.

In other words, this is fantastic exercise-induced stress relief.

Ask about student pricing here -- otherwise, you'll be paying a premium. Parking tends to be the least tricky at the North Boulder location, but of course that's also the one furthest from campus.

Yoga Pod

1750 29th Street #2020

http://yogapodcommunity.com

The Yoga Pod has a soulful, peaceful vibe going on. Maybe it's because you take off your shoes when you come in the front door. Maybe it's because of the natural soft-white lighting in the studios there. Maybe it's the giant blackboard in the hallway where anyone can grab a colored chalk and write or draw on the board, which always amounts to an eclectic, sometimes funny, always affirming collection of messages.

Whatever it is, it feels good to walk into a class there, no matter the class. The Pod has a good variety; the mainstay styles are hot and vinyasa, but this is one of the few places in town that offers Forrest yoga on a regular basis, too.

Yoga Workshop

2020 21st St.

yogaworkshop.com

It's hard to talk about yoga in Boulder without mentioning Yoga Workshop, the spare studio Richard Freeman started in Boulder back before yoga was as ubiquitous as it is today. Yoga Workshop is a traditional Ashtanga studio, with old wood floors and a breeze coming in the front door (if you're lucky) and teachers taking you through poses from Ashtanga's primary series. Teachers ask that you show up early and stay through savasana, or corpse pose. (Other studios are more lax about this.)

Freeman is rarely in his studio -- his international teaching schedule keeps him pretty busy -- but you can still catch the master in action there if you're paying attention. Meanwhile, a crew of experienced teachers run students through precision poses in his absence, and they do it well.

Yoga Loft

633 S. Broadway St.

yogaloftboulder.com

Like a view while you're doing yoga? Yoga Loft might be the studio for you. The Flatirons feel so close from this small studio that it's almost as if when you're reaching, reaching, reaching to extend in triangle pose, you could touch the rock before you touch your toes.

This studio doesn't have the constant, all-day class options that bigger studios have, but you'll find the basics here, plus offerings like Forrest yoga, kirtan chanting and a women's yoga class (dudes, you are welcome to all the others).