Not all yoga styles are created equal. And with the numerous and ever-expanding different styles, it can be difficult to figure out which particular style is right for you.
People are doing yoga for recreation, relaxation, and the health benefits it brings. Anyone can start doing even at home, but what are the different types of yoga and which one could fit for you?
A lot of variations have popped up that cater to people of different ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. It can be a little overwhelming to choose which style will suit you best, but by knowing the differences between these yoga styles, you will have a better chance of finding what’s perfect for you.
Keep in mind that there is usually some crossover among the various kinds of yoga, as well as diversity in teaching approaches within each discipline. With all the styles of yoga, finding the perfect match for you means trying them all as much as possible. Also keep in mind that finding the right instructor is essential to build the relation for success.
Here are 8 different types of yoga to get you started on your yogic lifestyle journey.
Table of Contents
1. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa, also known as flow yoga, is the most common style of yoga taught in most classes and gyms. It emphasizes breathing synchronized with movements and poses that is usually based on rapid flow of sun salutations.
The fluidity of its poses and movements, partnered with pleasant and relaxing music, makes this style seem like a dance for most people, thus making it popular.
Choose this style if you want more movement and less stillness from yoga practice.
2. Hatha Yoga
Most beginner yogis choose this style because it typically involves a gentle introduction to basic yoga postures that are usually relaxed. Similar to Vinyasa, it also combines rhythmic breathing with postures that will stretch out your body.
After a Hatha session, you are not expected to break out some sweat, but you will feel relaxed and stretched out. This style works best if you want gentle yoga sessions.
3. Ashtanga Yoga
Vinyasa and Ashtanga are similar when it comes to style, as both yoga practices link breathing to poses and movement. The difference, however, is that Ashtanga is more structured since it follows a specific order of poses.
Ashtanga yoga practitioners have to master sic series of poses in order. Before advancing to the next pose, the yogi teacher will decide if you have mastered the previous one, making it more physical and more intense.
Choose this style if you prefer routine in your poses and want to memorize a specific workout.
4. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga is one of the most innovative style of yoga thanks to incorporation with several props that are helpful in practicing certain poses. It is common in an Ingeyar class to use props, such as chairs, walls, and benches, along with more common ones, such as straps, blocks, and bolsters.
It is also usually in total silence and at a slower pace to help students get deeper into the postures and hold them longer. With proper usage of the props, this yoga style can be enjoyed by people with chronic pain or injury.
Choose this style if you like detailed instructions and if you have physical limitations.
5. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga, sometimes called “hot yoga”, is known for its intensity and for being done in a heated room with a specific temperature of 105 °F with 40% humidity. It consists of 26 poses performed in the same order, regardless of what yoga class you attend.
Bikram yoga believes that practicing it in heated rooms allows students to get deeper into postures, to improve blood and chakra circulation, and to detoxify the body.
Choose this style if you like to sweat, want a more physical practice, or like routine.
6. Yin Yoga
Unlike Bikram, Yin yoga is a relaxing and slower type of yoga in which poses are usually held for up to five minutes or more. Rooting the movements from martial arts, this style is designed to improve flexibility and increase blood circulation in the joints .
Yin yoga focuses on the hips, lower back, and thighs and uses props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to let gravity do the work, thereby helping yogis to relax. Yin yoga focuses on the body’s connective tissues, unlike most yoga styles where it targets muscle groups.
Choose this style if you like a slow-paced session or want to strengthen your joints.
7. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga focuses on one’s spine and is usually practiced with chanting, singing, and meditation. These yoga sequences are carefully designed to stimulate or unlock the energy found within the body and to reduce stress and negative thinking.
Typically, a Kundalini class starts with a mantra, followed by breathing exercises and easy poses for the preparation of the body for more advanced poses. Then finally, classes end in relaxation and meditation.
Choose this style if you like a melodic practice that involves chanting and singing.
8. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga is a style that crossovers with hatha yoga, specifically the spiritual aspects. It is designed to support overall health and wellness and is appropriate for all levels and ages.
Classes are generally relaxing; while most yoga classes end with savasana (a final relaxation/corpse pose that is usually characterized by just laying down on the floor), Sivananda starts with this pose, then moves into breathing exercises, sun salutations, and to 12 basic poses.
Choose this style if you prefer a gentler type of yoga with spiritual training.
There are a lot of different types of yoga practices, and each one offers something for everyone. When you find a style that works for you, stick with it. Incorporating yoga into your life with dedication and consistency will allow you to reap its many benefits, both mental and physical.