Whether you’re a long-time yogi and want to level up your game or just a beginner — there’s a yoga style for everyone.
If you fancy a meditative, relaxing Yoga class or enjoy learning and practice challenging asanas, each style is a bit different from the other. Giving a shot to a few yoga styles and teachers is the best way to get to know which one is a match for you. Let’s understand the ten main yoga styles before you drop in into a class or search for a yoga YouTube channel?
Hatha is the Sanskrit term for any type of yoga that pairs poses (asanas) with breathing techniques (pranayama), including under this umbrella the main yoga styles such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and so on.
However, in the Western, Hatha also describes a particular type of yoga class that’s typically slow-paced, focusing on proper alignment and guidance.
Vinyasa generally refers to a flowing sequence of yoga postures coordinated with the breath. But we can say that Vinyasa Yoga is much broader than that — according to practitioners, it’s a lifestyle focused on a healthier and fulfilled life.
Kundalini yoga incorporates breathwork, mantras, mudras (symbolic hand or body positions), meditation, and dynamic movement. The goal is to align mind, body and soul. This is the perfect Yoga style for those looking for spiritual practice.
In Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, the word “Ashtanga” means eight limbs — eight practices (“limbs”) that we should master in order to transcend suffering and recognize our true nature.
Some of those “limbs” include postures, breathwork, concentration, and meditation. “The purpose of Ashtanga is to build heat in the body to purify the mind,” explains the Yoga teacher Erica Tait.
Ashtanga Yoga is a physically demanding form of yoga made up of six series that progress in difficulty and have a specific order of poses — which can be intimidating. But if you’re up for the challenge and want to leave your comfort zone, Ashtanga is the perfect style to begin with.
Also known as Bikram Yoga — the founder of this yoga style — consists of practicing a series of 26 asanas in a heated room, with temperatures above 100 degrees. The classes are even more challenging than Ashtanga due to the high-temperature.
Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, it focuses on precise movements and finding the proper alignment in a pose and mastering each posture, using props like straps, yoga blocks, blankets, bolsters and chairs.
Are you looking for a relaxed and smooth practice that brings your body into balance? Yin yoga is a slow, restorative style of yoga. You’ll learn to relax your body, and for those who have physical pain, it helps to soothe into areas of pain.
Founded by Beryl Bender Birch, who studied with Ashtanga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It was originally designed for athletes — it’s an intense, flowing yoga style, focusing on the development of body strength and flexibility.
Anusara is a modern-day version of hatha yoga, most similar to vinyasa in that it focuses on alignment but with more focus on the mind-body-heart connection.
As the name suggests, this practice is designed specifically for moms-to-be. A regular Prenatal Yoga class consists of a gentle sequence that targets areas often affected by pregnancy, like the back and hips.