In today’s world there are a number of different types of yoga and classes available wherever you go, be it yoga studios, gyms, yoga retreats or online. Whether you’re looking for a more intense physical practice or a more slow and restorative practice, there will most definitely be a style to fulfil your every need and intention.
We suggest trying out a few different styles to see which one resonates with you.
The main types of yoga have been summarised below . The only way to really know if you’ll enjoy it is to practice it and see.
As mentioned earlier, Hatha yoga is what most other styles of yoga are based on. A Hatha class usually involves a set of physical postures and breathing methods which are practiced more slowly and controlled, and with more static posture holds than perhaps a Vinyasa flow or Ashtanga class.
Vinyasa yoga is like Hatha, but here the main focus is moving from one pose to the next with a continuous fluid motion, synchronizing each movement with breath. This style of yoga is a lot more dynamic and fast paced, so be prepared to get sweaty!
Ashtanga yoga is a set sequence series of postures where you flow from one pose to the next, using your breath. In traditional Ashtanga, you have to master the first series before proceeding to the second etc. It can be an extremely challenging style, so beginners may want to start with Vinyasa or Hatha first before going to one of these classes.
Iyengar yoga is a combination of standing and seated postures, that uses props for specifically focusing on correct alignment and posture, in order to gain increased muscular power and range of motion. This style of yoga is one of the easiest types of yoga for beginners, as it will provide you with a great foundation for correct alignment in postures.
Jivamukti yoga is a physical, ethical, and spiritual practice, combining a robust physical practice (vinyasa-based style), with adherence to five central principles: Shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsā (nonviolence, non-harming), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation).
Bikram yoga is a set sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises repeated in the same order for 90 minutes. It typically takes place in a heated room of up to 40 degrees Celsius, which helps your body to stretch a bit further and detoxify.
Kundalini yoga is unique in how it focuses on repeated movements (referred to as a “kriya”), dynamic breathing, mantras, chanting, and meditation. It’s believed that through this practice you will awaken energy at the base of the spine, and draw it upward through the chakras, activating their energy centres and elevating consciousness.
Yin yoga originated from Chinese culture, and its primary focus is releasing tension through softening and relaxing your muscles, in order to target deeper connective tissue and fascia. It requires you to do fewer postures, but hold them for several minutes at a time, also done with the use of props. Some find that because you’re not working up a sweat it’s easier to do, but the challenge comes in for your mind when holding these postures for what can be an uncomfortable amount of time. This is an extremely beneficial practice, that when done in conjunction with a more dynamic style of yoga can give you the ultimate balance. It’s also helpful for people who have tight muscles, stress, or chronic pain.
Restorative yoga is based around very gentle “restorative” poses that are held for 10 minutes or more. It includes plenty of props for support to aid in relaxation, such as blankets, bolsters, and straps. Similar to Yin yoga, this is a helpful practice for people living with chronic pain or anyone feeling stressed.
Yoga Nidra, also known as yogic sleep is an extremely powerful meditation technique, and one of the easiest yoga practices to develop and maintain. This “sleep” is induced by lying in one pose, savasana, and listening to guided verbal instructions, similar to meditation, which will take you to a very relaxed state. This practice is incredible for relieving stress and to decompress and is easy enough for anyone to do. As much as these practices may differ, there is one common thread that they all have, and that is self-healing. No matter which style you choose to practice, be it one or all, they each give you the opportunity to turn inward and learn more about yourself, so that you can be a better version of you, in turn allowing you to be of greater service to the