7 Different Types of Yoga and When To Do Each One
There are many different types of yoga in the world but sometimes we think of yoga as just yoga. I hear people share that they went to a gym yoga class once and didn't like it and therefore have sworn off all yoga, and this is really sad to me.
This is like saying you tried a restaurant once and didn't like it so you've now sworn off eating out ever again.
When we realize that yoga has so many different styles, teachings and postures, we realize that it is a hugely diverse practice.
If you are totally new to yoga and have been wondering where to begin, this will be a really helpful resource for you! I'm going to discuss 7 of the most common forms of yoga and when they're good options and when they are not. Depending on your specific intentions and goals with yoga, you'll find there are some types of yoga that are better for different things.
7 Types of Yoga and How They're Different ~
Power yoga is generally what is widely available across the United States. Most studios and gyms offer some form of power yoga and this style is typically a fast paced class with breath linked to each movement. There may or may not be music included depending on the studio. Power yoga is great if you are wanting to get your heart rate up and activate your breath. I wouldn't recommend this style if you have an injury or are completely new to yoga.
Hot yoga is very similar to power yoga but hot yoga is typically done in a heated room. The temperature of hot yoga varies depending on the studio but it may be anywhere from 90 - 110 degrees. The heat has many benefits including increased flexibility, more active muscles and the ability to advance further in a class because you're already warmed up, but it can be detrimental for people sensitive to heat or who have injuries.
Ashtanga yoga is an advanced form of yoga that generally focuses on the Primary Series, the first sequence in the Ashtanga yoga system. The same exact flow will be taught at every Primary Series Ashtanga yoga class which allows for you to cultivate a deeper awareness in each pose and also have dramatic increases in flexibility. Ashtanga yoga focuses on the postures, the breath and focusing your gaze on certain parts of the body during each posture. I would recommend trying Ashtanga yoga after you have a fairly consistent yoga practice. Ashtanga yoga is not ideal for people who have shoulder or knee injuries as this style of yoga may aggravate it.
Bikram yoga is a type of yoga that is done in a heated room and consists of 26 postures. Every Bikram yoga class will go through the same sequence in a heated room. This is a good type of yoga to consider if you want to increase flexibility and detoxify through sweat. I would not recommend this type of yoga if you are sensitive to heat or fainting.
Iyengar yoga is also known as alignment based yoga. This type of yoga focuses on the alignment of the body and because of this, you may only do a handful of yoga poses during an entire hour long class. A variety of props like blocks are also used to help keep the body in alignment. This is a great style of yoga for people who are new to yoga or who are recovering from injuries. If you are looking for a fast paced or active yoga class, this probably isn't the style for you.
Yin yoga focuses on passive holds to help stretch muscle and fascia throughout the body. Postures are generally held for 3-5 minutes and are all done on the mat. Generally you won't find any standing postures in a Yin yoga class. A variety of props like blocks and bolsters may be used to help you comfortably relax into each posture. I highly recommend Yin yoga if you are looking to relieve stress or tension in the body. Because it's a slower moving class, this would not be the best style for you if you want something fast paced.
Restorative yoga is a very gentle and nourishing type of yoga. A variety of props are used in restorative yoga to help you comfortably relax and rest in each pose. It's not uncommon to only do 4 or 5 postures in any entire Restorative yoga class. This is a wonderful type of yoga for people who have stressful jobs or who don't get enough sleep at night. Because it is a very gentle type of yoga, this isn't going to be a big calorie burner.
Which type of yoga calls to you? I recommend adding a variety of them into your yoga practice because they all have their benefits. You may find your local studio offers both Yin and Power yoga and these would be very complimentary to each other.