When you’re trying to find out which of the different types of yoga is best for you, remember that there is no right or wrong one. There are so many different types of yoga out there, whether you want a more physically demanding class or an easy, relaxing, meditative class. Which yoga type you should choose, it will depend on your fitness goal whether you want a beach body, lose weight, achieve flexibility, or want a stress free life. Through yoga, you can get all together.
So which yoga style will get you excited? Our guide to the common types of yoga can help you decide whether you’re in more of a restorative yoga or a power yoga kind of mood, or anything in between.
1. Hatha yoga
The word “hatha” derived from Sanskrit which means “FORCE” can be translated as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation. Hatha is one of the most common types of yoga with no flow between poses, unlike Vinyasa yoga. It consists of slow movements, breathing exercises and meditation, so it’s best for beginner yogis to open up their body and allow the free flow of energy, to create the balance between mind, body, and soul.
2. Iyengar yoga
Iyengar yoga was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar which focuses on breath control and detail, precision, and alignment when carrying out the different poses, to encourage relaxation, good posture and balance. It features hundreds of different yoga poses and fourteen types of breathing, so you can progress gradually from the easier forms to the more advanced movements. In Iyengar yoga style Often props are used, such as belts and blocks, to support the body in certain poses, reducing the risk of injury. This makes it a perfect form of yoga for people looking for rehabilitation on a healing holiday or those who need a gentle and very supportive exercise.
3. Ashtanga yoga
In Sanskrit Ashtanga is translated as “Eight Limb path.” Ashtanga yoga involves a very physically demanding sequence of postures with breathing, so this style of yoga is definitely not for the beginner. Ashtanga starts with sun salutation and then moves into a series of standing and floor postures to produce an intense heat to sweat out toxins and improve your circulation. Strength, sweat, and stamina are the three main aspects of this form, which is said with your body’s natural detoxification process and leave you feeling restored.
4. Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa means “to place in a special way”. This type of yoga is often referred to as Vinyasa flow yoga, as it consists of different poses linked together with movement, and synchronized with breathing. Vinyasa is the most athletic yoga style and was adapted from Ashtanga yoga in the 1980s. Many types of yoga can also be considered Vinyasa flows such as Ashtanga, power yoga, and prana. Your yoga teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to another whilst inhaling or exhaling; generally, when moving upwards you’ll inhale, and when moving downwards you’ll exhale.
5. Kundalini yoga
This style of yoga has been described as “the mother of all yoga” as it is one of the oldest recognized forms. Kundalini is the word used to describe the hidden energy within us, which this yoga practice helps to target and release. It’s a very active form of yoga which includes common poses, as well as some of its own unique poses. People who practice it are said to finish their session feeling extreme happiness and tranquillity. These classes are pretty intense and can involve chanting, mantra, and meditation.
6. Bikram yoga
Bikram Yoga style was developed by Bikram Choudhury synthesized from traditional hatha yoga techniques. It became popular in the early 1970s. All Bikram Yoga Beginning Series classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises on the room temperature 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Since Bikram yoga has so many rules, many studios simply call their classes “hot yoga” so they can customize their offerings.
7. Yin yoga
Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with seated postures that are held for longer periods of time from 45 seconds to two minutes. Yin can also be a meditative yoga practice that helps you find inner peace. It is designed to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. The practice focuses on the hips, lower back, and thighs and uses props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to let gravity do the work, helping to relax. While other forms of yoga focus on the major muscle groups, yin yoga targets the body’s connective tissues. Holding the poses benefits the mind as well as the body.
8. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga is a form of hatha yoga based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. Classes are generally relaxing: while most yoga classes end with savasana (a final relaxation/corpse pose), Sivananda starts with this pose, then moves into breathing exercises, sun salutations, and then 12 basic asanas.
9. Restorative yoga
Restorative yoga focuses on winding down after a long day and relaxing your mind. At its core, this style focuses on body relaxation. You spend more time in fewer postures throughout the class. Many of the poses are modified to be easier and more relaxing. Like Iyengar, many props are used and are placed just right such as blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows. Restorative yoga also helps to cleanse and free your mind. Restorative yoga can benefit those who need to chill out and de-stress, and it can also be used as part of your rest-day self-care.
10. Prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga is carefully designed for “moms to be”. It is one of the best types of exercise for expectant moms. With an emphasis on breathing, stamina, pelvic floor work, restorative poses, and core strength, Prenatal Yoga can help you become more resilient during and after pregnancy.
Note: But make sure you check in with your doctor before beginning a yoga practice, if you are pregnant.
11. Aerial yoga
It is relatively new, but quickly catching on. It involves traditional yoga poses with the added support of a strong, silky hammock that hangs from the ceiling. The hammock is used as a supportive prop in poses like pigeon or downward dog, and helps you more easily perform inverted poses (like headstands and handstands) that might be beyond your abilities or comfort levels. It’s also used for a cocoon-like savasana (the final resting pose at the end of a yoga class). Classes can be either physically challenging or relaxing.
12. Acro yoga
Acro Yoga is known as a combination of acrobatics, yoga, and even healing/therapeutic practices. Acro Yoga focuses on the trust elements of acrobatics, the compassion elements of therapeutics, and the mind-body connection element of yoga to form a yoga style unlike any other. This is such an amazing practice to build a sense of community, keep your yoga practice playful, and to challenge yourself in new ways.
13. Anusara yoga
Anusara is a modern-day version of hatha yoga, most similar to vinyasa that focuses more on the mind-body-heart connection and different verbiage. Anusara focuses on spirals and how each body part should be moving. Anusara is also known for its emphasis on heart opening.
14. Jivamukti yoga
Jivamukti was founded in 1984 by Sharon Ganon and David Life which is mainly vinyasa flow-style classes infused with Hindu spiritual teachings. A series of chants usually open the beginning of class followed up by a series of poses that align with the five tenets of Jivamukti yoga and philosophy.
So, which yoga style suits you the best?
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