Types of Yoga: How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You | Don't know what style of yoga to choose? This is a complete guide of some of the most popular styles of yoga. This will give you a good understanding of each type of yoga and who it is suitable for. Once you know a little bit of all the yoga disciplines, you can easily make a decision on what to go for your next yoga class. #yoga #typesofyoga #yogastyles #yogadisciplines

How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

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You want to take up a yoga practice, but you just don’t know what type of yoga to choose.

There are just so many different types of yoga out there, and if you’re new, it can be overwhelming.

So, how do you know which style is right for you?

We’ve rounded up some of the most popular styles of yoga to help you get a better understanding of what they offer and who it is for.

While it surely does not cover entirely all the types of yoga out there, it will still give you a good overview, and serves as a guide for you to choose the right type of yoga discipline.


1. Hatha Yoga

Young woman doing Utthita parsvakonasana exercise - yoga workout for weight loss

The word ‘Hatha’ refers to the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises) with the goal to bring peace to the mind and body.

Hatha yoga is also a broad term for almost any style of yoga that incorporates physical postures. For example, Bikram and Yin yoga falls under the umbrella of Hatha yoga.

It is a slow-paced, gender approach to performing basic yoga poses with longer holds and no flows in between asanas. By stretching and elongating your body, you will establish a sense of peace and relaxation.

Although you won’t sweat a lot in a Hatha yoga class, it helps to build a good foundation for advanced yoga styles like Ashtanga.

Who is it for?

Since Hatha classes are is slower and more gentle, it is great for total beginners. It focuses on basic poses and deep breathing, which is perfect for people who just started and ready to learn the yoga basics.

What should I wear?

You don’t need any special gear for Hartha. Most of the time, you can get away with a normal T-shirt and a pair of comfortable pants (jersey pants, track pants, yoga pants, etc).

Related: 6 Yoga Poses You Should Practice Every Day

2. Vinyasa Yoga

vinyasa yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for ‘flow’. That’s why it is sometimes called flow yoga.

This style of yoga flows smoothly from one pose to another, known for fluid transitions between yoga postures and dance-like rhythm.

Breathing is also an important part of this practice because the movements are synced with the breath.

The intensity of Vinyasa is similar to Ashtanga, but with more creativity. As the flows are never the same, you get to try new sequences all the time.

Sometimes props such as yoga blocks, straps or pillows might be used, depending on a teacher’s style.

With that said, it is physically challenging, dynamic and fun! So be prepared to sweat buckets!

Who is it for?

If you want to tone up, break a sweat, build strength and flexibility, and develop a better mind-body connection, then you should try doing Vinyasa yoga.

The yoga sequence also varies every single class, so it’s also suitable for people who don’t want to stick with the same yoga sequence every time.

However, your Vinyasa yoga experience is largely dependent on how well the yoga instructor is conducting the class. You will have to try different instructors until you find the right one for you.

What should I wear?

It is best to wear something that is fitted and does not slide around as you transition from one yoga pose to another. Also, get a non-slip yoga mat and you’re good to go!

3. Bikram Yoga

bikram yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

It is named after its founder Bikram Choudhury and sometimes called “Hot Yoga”.

Why hot?

Because it is performed in a room heated to 105 °F (or 41 °C) with a 40% humidity.

The heat is believed to flush toxins out of your body through sweat. Moreover, the extensive sweating softens the tense muscles so that students are able to go deeper into each yoga posture.

Bikram Yoga involves a series of 26 asanas and two breathing exercises that are performed every class. You can expect each practice to be consistent and you’ll most likely be drenched in sweat.

Who is it for?

If you like to sweat and are fine with practicing the same poses each time, then Bikram yoga is the way to go. Generally, people who prefer discipline and structure would love this yoga style.

It is definitely not recommended for pregnant women. Those with heart problems should also talk to their doctor first before trying hot yoga.

What should I wear?

You can either wear as little as possible or special breathable clothes to keep yourself cool and avoid restrictions in your movement.

4. Yin Yoga

yin yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Yin yoga is developed based on the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang. Yin represents the soft and restorative activities and Yang represents and Yang represents the constantly changing or athletic activities.

This style of yoga is extremely slow-paced and focuses on getting deep into postures with long holds. This will allow you to target stiff connective tissues (like hips, pelvis, lower spine), build flexibility, heal muscular tissues and promote meditation.

Teachers will usually have students stay in each yoga pose between one and 20 minutes. Yin classes are also known to be practiced in absolute silence which will also aid meditation.

Who is it for?

Yin yoga is most suitable for those who want to slow down, de-stress and calm the mind with meditation.

It is also great for runners, athletes or gym goers in need of building flexibility, releasing tension in joints or healing overworked muscles.

You will also need patience as the poses are held longer between one to 20 minutes.

What should I wear?

You don’t really sweat doing Yin yoga. Any comfortable clothes will do. You can even wear socks too.

5. Ashtanga Yoga

Triangle pose - Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

In Ashtanga yoga, there are six sequences of asanas that are practiced in progression. Within each sequence, the same yoga poses are performed in the same order.

This style of yoga is more fast-paced and challenging.

It also emphasizes on the syncing of breath with movement. Students will flow from one asana to another with an inhale or exhale.

Who is it for?

Because of the fast transitions between poses, Ashtanga yoga is perfect for people looking for something that’s energetic and physically challenging.

Highly-structured people would also love this style since the yoga sequences are unvarying.

What should I wear?

Wear moisture-wicking sports bra, crop tops and yoga pants that will dry your sweat rapidly and keep your body cool.

 

Related: Yoga Poses for Killer Abs: 9 Asanas to Build Strong Core

6. Kundalini Yoga

kundalini yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Kundalini yoga is sometimes referred to as “the Yoga of Awareness”. This style of yoga combines yoga poses (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama), meditation, and chanting.

It is designed to awaken the energy from the base of the spine and move it upwards to the top of the head through the seven chakras. The progress through the different chakras will help you achieve different levels of awakening.

Classes will involve a short opening chant, a short sequence to warm up your spine, an asana sequence, and lastly a closing meditation.

A small practice of Kundalini yoga will create greater peace and relaxation!

Who is it for?

If you are looking for a less physically demanding practice compared to other styles, you can definitely try Kundalini yoga.

Kundalini yoga helps to build physical vitality and increase consciousness. This will be perfect for people looking for a more spiritual and well-rounded practice.

What should I wear?

Generally, it is recommended to wear white for Kundalini Yoga. You can also give your studio a call to confirm the dress code.

7. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Iyengar Yoga, founded by B.K.S Iyengar, is a form of Hatha yoga that emphasizes proper alignment of each yoga pose.

The Iyengar classes rely heavily on yoga props such as blocks, blankets, chairs, straps, bolsters and more to help students achieve the correct form when doing yoga postures.

The props also allow the elderly and those with physical limitations to perform yoga postures properly while minimizing the risk of injury.

Moreover, beginners will be able to experience asanas quickly and fully that might take years of practice to understand.

Yoga postures are held for a long period in Iyengar yoga which allows the muscles to lengthen and improves body awareness in each yoga pose.

Who is it for?

Beginners who want to gain an understanding of the form and proper alignment of basic yoga postures.

If you’re an advanced yogi, this will also be perfect for your body to relearn the basic yoga postures and improve your alignment.

Iyengar yoga is also suitable for people who have suffered injury recently.

8. Restorative YogaRestorative yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

No sweating. Just prepare yourself for deep relaxation!

Restorative yoga is all about healing, relaxing and soothing your mind and body. It encourages you to slow down and open your body through gentle, passive stretching.

It involves yoga props (pillows, bolsters, straps) to help you approach the yoga poses with ease and without any additional effort as opposed to other styles of yoga.

You will often do only a few simple poses in the course of an hour and sometimes held them for as many as 20 minutes.

Who is it for?

This style is a more meditative approach to yoga, so it’s great for those recovering from emotional trauma or stress. It is also a good way of relieving tension from work and sitting at the desk all day.

9. Power Yoga

power yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Ever heard of ‘gym yoga’?

Power yoga is a vigorous approach to vinyasa-style yoga.

Even though it is closely modeled on the Ashtanga model, it gives the teacher the flexibility to teach any yoga poses in any order.

Due to its emphasis on strength and flexibility, this style of yoga is brought into gyms.

Power yoga is great for strength training, and it moves with an even faster rhythm than Ashtanga. It is definitely an intense workout that will make you sweat buckets.

Studios may approach Power Yoga differently across the country, so it’s important to try a few places before sticking with one.

Who is it for?

Since power yoga is a more fitness-based approach to doing yoga, it will a good choice for people who wants to burn fat and lose weight!

 

Related: 9 Best Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

10. Ananda Yoga

ananda yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Ananda Yoga does not differ from the other types of yogic practice, but with the only difference of using positive affirmations as you performed the poses.

Students will usually go through a series of gentle yoga poses with a focus on proper alignment, transitions, and breathing.

This style of yoga uses asanas to awaken the energy within oneself, improve self-awareness and bring harmony to your mind and body.

Who is it for?

Instead of being an athletic practice, Ananda Yoga is more of an inward experience. It’s more suitable for those who want to practice mindfulness, empower themselves with affirmations or recharge their energy.

11. Anusara Yoga

anusara yoga - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Founded by John Friend in 1997, it is a relatively new style of yoga. The word Anusara means “flowing with grace,” “going with the flow,” and “following your heart.”

It emphasizes a set of Universal Principles of Alignment which underlie all the yoga poses.

Anusara yoga uses vinyasa flows and plenty of alignment work is involved. Classes are often cheerful, positive, and fun.

Who is it for?

Good for new beginners who are starting out in yoga and are looking for a cheerful and relaxed vibe.

12. Yoga Nidra

yoga nidra - How to Choose The Right Type of Yoga For You

Yoga Nidra or “yogic sleep” originally consists of eight stages, but the number of stages may vary from five to eight depending on different instructors.

The session involves relaxation of the body and mind, meditation, balancing emotions, guided visualization, and setting positive purpose and intention.

During the session, you will experience different stages of consciousness which is the waking state, dream state and deep sleep state.

Who is it for?

It is ideal for you if you’re looking for full-body relaxation and deep restoration for your mind.

What Type of Yoga Is Right for You?

Now that you’ve learned the different styles of yoga, choosing which one that is right for you will depend on your goals.

You do need to try out a few different styles of yoga or instructor to find the one that resonates with you the most.

Whether it is to practice mindfulness, meditation, lose weight, improve overall fitness or just to get away from the hustle and bustle, doing yoga is going to benefit you in areas that you might not even think about.

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