The Different Types of Yoga Explaine
A Detailed Guide
Are you interested in trying or doing yoga? Do you want to know more about the different types of yoga and which one best fits your preferences? If you do, keep reading to find out.
Yoga isn’t a new type of practice, but its popularity in the US ballooned in the last decade. Well over 55 million Americans stated they’ll practice yoga by 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, yoga remains a popular fitness choice among adults.
Yoga is an ancient practice that develops your mind and body connection. Throughout the years, we’ve seen different types of yoga develop and rise to popularity. This guide will give you an idea about which of the various yoga styles is the best one for you.
1. Vinyasa Yoga
Let’s begin with one of the most common and popular types of yoga classes, vinyasa yoga. Others also refer to this style as vinyasa flow or flow yoga. In this type of yoga, you’ll be posing in sync with your breath in a continuous flow.
"Vinyasa” means to “place in a special way.” Thich often gets interpreted as linking breath and movement. Even though you’re moving, vinyasa yoga can be meditative and calming.
Many practitioners use the term vinyasa as a general term for many other yoga styles. This style of yoga tends to be more vigorous and focused on the flow of the body. Vinyasa flow is one of the top yoga styles for beginners as well as advanced yogis.
2. Hatha Yoga
Hatha yoga teaches a mix of poses or asana, pranayama or breathing exercises, and meditation. It is a general term for a variety of yoga styles and schools that use the body for self-inquiry. Because it is traditional and more physical nature, this type of yoga is great for beginners.
The term “Hatha” translates to “forceful.” When interpreted, the force you’ll practice won’t apply to the body. Instead, it often means a frequent regularity and concentration of practice.
Often, Hatha classes present a slow-paced and gentle way of practicing yoga. In hatha yoga, you’ll perform a series of classic poses matched with breathing exercises. You can find a variety of private yoga lessons on hatha yoga, like ashtanga, Bikram, and Iyengar yoga.
3. Kundalini Yoga
In the 1960s, Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to the west. The term “Kundalini” has an English translation of “life force energy,” which is also called prana or chi. The sequences in kundalini yoga aim to unlock this energy and reduce negativity.
In the different types of yoga, kundalini yoga is a physical and spiritual practice. Each class begins with a mantra or a focus for the class. Chanting, meditation, and kriyas will also challenge your mind and body.
A kriya is a set succession of poses interweaved with complex breath work and chanting. In kundalini yoga, every participant must wear white. This ties in with the belief that white deflects negativity and increases one’s aura.
4. Restorative Yoga
Don’t have time to go to a yoga class earlier in the day? You can still do yoga, even if you don’t have time to do it before work or on your days off. Restorative yoga is the class for you if you want to wind down and relax your mind after a long day of work.
In restorative yoga, you spend less time shifting from posture to posture. You’ll use props like blankets, bolsters, and eye pillows to sink deeper into relaxation. When you find a restorative yoga class, don’t get surprised when it looks like the entire class is sleeping.
Your restorative yoga teacher will lead you through yoga nidra. This is a guided meditation that will put you in the state between asleep and awake. Athletes, those dealing with pain, and people who struggle to relax will enjoy this type of yoga.
5. Iyengar Yoga
Do you have problems with the alignment of your bones or body parts? Do you like the kinds of yoga that offer detailed instruction but sticks to classical yoga? Iyengar yoga may be the yoga style you’re looking for.
Founded and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, this type of yoga is a classical, alignment-based practice. It is unique because you can use a variety of props in an Iyengar class. These props include chairs, walls, benches, straps, blocks, and bolsters.
Often and depending on the instructor, it is a less intense form of yoga. Since it focuses on detailed alignment, Iyengar yoga is good for older adults. People with injuries who need slow and methodical work will also enjoy this class.
6. Ashtanga Yoga
The Sanskrit term ashtanga yoga translates to “Eight Limb path.” This is a type of vinsaya yoga that focuses on flow and physical components. When you practice ashtanga yoga, you practice six series of specific poses.
Yoga can affect your mental and physical health. For example, it can help you become a mindful eater which can help you control your weight. It also relaxes your mind and body, which can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
7. Power Yoga
In a power yoga class, expect the intensity of ashtanga yoga mixed with vinsaya yoga. It is a more vigorous approach to hatha yoga poses. Power yoga also has added core exercises and upper body workout.
If you want a yoga class that gets done at a quicker pace than other styles, go for power yoga. Power yoga also helps strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility. The varied sequences will also keep the brain engaged while you work all the muscle groups in your body.
Some power yoga classes will take place in a hot studio. Others may take place with upbeat music. Each class will differ with the teacher and the studio or gym.
8. Sivananda Yoga
In 1957, Swami Vishnudevananda brought Sivananda yoga to the US. If you’re looking for yoga options around the spiritual practice, Sivananda yoga is a good choice. It is a gentler form of hatha yoga based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual leader Swami Sivananda.
The classes are relaxing and often start with a savasana or corpse pose. As you advance, you’ll also cover the 12 basic asanas. The classes will also end with savasana.
9. Jivamukti Yoga
Do you want to do yoga and change your lifestyle and diet at the same time? If you’re looking to become a vegetarian and a yogi, try Jivamukti yoga. Sharon Ganon and David Life founded this style of yoga in 1984, following a vegetarian philosophy.
It is a vinsaya-flow-style yoga infused with Hindu spiritual teachings. It emphasizes the connection to the earth as a living being. Each class begins with a series of chants followed by a series of poses.
Most Jivamukti classes are intense. Teachers will also pick an inspirational theme for each class. The English translation of this Sanskrit adaptation “jivanmuktih” is “liberation while living.”
10. Bikram or Hot Yoga
Are you the type of person who wants to know what to expect in each yoga class? Do you want to practice yoga in a heated studio with 40% humidity? If so, Bikram yoga is the perfect class for you.
Created by Bikram Choudury, the class will do a series of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises. The 105-degree room can increase the difficulty of yoga. Bikram yoga has a lot of rules and is quite strict, and instructors will not adjust students.
If you don’t want to follow the 26-pose sequence, you can go to a hot yoga class instead. Each class is unique, depending on the teacher. You will still practice in a heated studio which can get you deeper into different poses.
11. Yin Yoga
If you are a man and you go to the gym or practice martial arts like BJJ, try yin yoga. Men who practice yoga also experience certain health and lifestyle benefits. These include more productivity at work, a better sex life, and better posture.
Yin yoga has roots in martial arts and yoga. The purpose of yin yoga is to increase circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. It’s a great practice for recovering from a hard workout or training.
Yin yoga is also a type of slow-paced yoga. Yogis that practice yin yoga often hold a pose for a minute up to 5 minutes or more. It features deep stretching and holding, which is beneficial to strong bodies.
12. Prenatal Yoga
This specific type of yoga can help women who are preparing for childbirth. Prenatal yoga is like childbirth-preparation classes. It includes stretching, breathing exercises, and mental centering.
It can also help pregnant women overcome pregnancy-related issues. This includes improving sleep, reducing anxiety and stress, and decreasing lower back pain. Expecting mothers will also prepare their bodies for labor and delivery.
If you enter a prenatal yoga class, you’ll work on bonding with the baby, as well. The yoga class is open to mothers in all trimesters and excludes taxing poses. Even moms who want to ease back into exercise can enter prenatal yoga classes.
13. Aerial or Anti-Gravity Yoga
This new type of yoga mixes anti-gravity exercises and traditional yoga poses. In aerial yoga, you’ll perform a flow of yoga poses on a hammock instead of a mat. This will help you build strength and improve flexibility.
Even on a silk hammock, you can do a variety of squats, lunches, cat, cow, and warrior sequences. You can even try doing some of them upside down, which can give you a new, fun perspective on yoga. Since you’ll be performing the poses “in the air,” you put less stress on your head, neck, and shoulders.
If you’re uncomfortable with doing handstands or headstands, aerial gravity yoga is the best way to try them. Some classes can be relaxing while others can be challenging. This is a great yoga choice for those who want to try something new and a nontraditional experience.
14. Couples Yoga
Do you want to build trust and intimacy with your partner? Is your goal to deepen your understanding of one another and your relationship? Couples yoga is the choice for you.
It suits all couples, whether you are together for 25 years or have only celebrated your second. In this type of yoga, you work with your partner to perform a series of poses. It offers a tough workout where you learn to rely on each other’s strength and flexibility.
Also, stretching is always easier when you’ve got an extra set of reliable hands to help you through it. You may even learn something new about your partner that you’d never find out about outside of the mats. Finally, yoga teaches you both how to be patient with and more sensitive to one another.
15. Katonah Yoga
Like aerial yoga, this type of yoga is still new. Katonah classes will feel more like a workshop than a typical yoga class. The instructors will use a variety of props and hands-on adjustments to help you with each pose.
Katonah teachers will help you understand the alignment of your bones and joints. They’ll teach you how each one fits your body while you hold a posture. Katonah yoga incorporates hatha yoga with elements of Taoism and Chinese medicine.
Find the Right Form of Yoga For You
We know that all these different types of yoga may feel overwhelming to a beginner. When you’re picking between the different yoga types, remember that there is no right or wrong choice. Pick one that appeals the most to you at the moment.
If the prospect of aerial yoga seems the most fun and interesting to you, enroll in an aerial yoga class. As a tip, try starting your journey into yoga with a yoga style fit for beginners. As you learn the various poses and become more flexible, advance into a different style.
Did you enjoy reading about the various yoga types and styles that you can learn and practice? Are you interested in learning more about yoga sequences or specific styles? Check out our other guides now for more yoga-related content.