Have you ever wondered what the difference between all the different yoga types is? You are not alone. From Hatha to Aerial, the gyms are flooded with different styles and it’s difficult to know what the difference is (and if there even is any). Here are some of the most popular yoga styles that you might find in your local gym.
Hatha yoga is not one type of yoga, but instead a gathering name for all types of physical yoga. A class named Hatha yoga will typically include different poses in a slow and gentle pace. You stay in each position for several breaths and get deep into each pose. Hatha classes let you learn the basics of yoga poses, alignment, relaxation, and breathing.
This is ideal for: Beginners or anyone who wants to do yoga at a slower pace and sequences that are easy to follow.
Vinyasa & Flow yoga
Vinyasa is a gathering name for different types of yoga which focuses on flow and movement. The base of Vinyasa is performing sun salutations in a constant flow without resting in between. This practice helps build up heat inside the body and can be quite intense.
Sometimes you will see a class named “flow”, which mostly is the same as Vinyasa. However, studios might offer both classes. In this case Flow refers to a less challenging version of Vinyasa yoga.
This is ideal for: People who have practiced yoga before and know the basic positions by name. You enjoy the movement and flow of the practice, instead of staying long in the same position.
Yin yoga is practiced at a slow pace and an almost passive state. The idea is to open up the joints and become more flexible while at the same time not pushing your limits. The same pose is held for several minutes, often switched to a healing pose right afterward (think child’s pose).
This is ideal for: Anyone who wants to deepen their stretch and focus on joints rather than muscles. You are OK with being in the same pose for several minutes.
Hot Yoga & Bikram yoga
Hot yoga is practiced in a room that is around 40 degrees Celsius and isn’t in itself a type of yoga. Instead, hot yoga can mean any yoga you practice in a hot room. Usually, a hot yoga class consist of a Vinyasa style practice and is intended to make your body warm in order to loosen your muscles and cleanse your body.
Bikram yoga is the most known of all hot yoga practices. It always includes the same 26 poses performed in the same order.
This is ideal for: Anyone who wants to try a different type of yoga and don’t have any health problems (or are pregnant). You also don’t mind being hot and sweaty.
Iyengar yoga has a strong focus on alignment and getting the poses and breathing exactly right. You will use props (such as blocks, bolsters, and blankets) and stay in the positions for a longer period of time.
This is ideal for: If you are a perfectionist or just want to know that you are doing your poses correctly. You also don’t mind staying in the same position for several minutes.
Ashtanga is a fast-paced and physically challenging Vinyasa-type yoga with a set sequence of postures. The class will be nonstop from posture to posture while breathing through the poses.
This is ideal for: Someone who wants a real challenge and loves having the same practice each time. Not for beginners!
A Kundalini practice focuses on breathing and the meditative side of yoga. You can expect a mix of the physical and spiritual. Movement, breathing, meditation and chanting mantras are all a part of this exercise. The idea is for energy to rise through your spine up to the crown of the head.
This is ideal for: You if you are interested in the spiritual part of yoga. You are also not afraid of chanting loudly together with your classmates.
Restorative yoga, like yin yoga, is practiced at a very slow pace. The idea is not to workout or become flexible but instead to heal. You might use pillows, bolsters, and blankets to help with the practice. This type of yoga can be good for people with injuries, seniors, pregnant women or if you want to treat your body after a tough week or a lot of hard workouts.
This is ideal for: Anyone with injuries or who wants to calm down after a tough week. You aren’t looking for a workout but instead a chance to heal.
Aerial yoga is when you practice yoga with a fabric hanging from the roof like a hammock. The class usually consists of typical yoga poses with the fabric as support.
This is ideal for: If you want to try something new and you are not afraid of floating upside down above the ground.
Power yoga is a fitness version of Vinyasa. This type of yoga is often not seen as “real yoga” and instead as a western type gym yoga. In reality, this yoga is taken from the physically challenging Ashtanga style and mixed with the flow from Vinyasa.
This is ideal for: If you want a workout rather than a chance to slow down.
Prenatal yoga is, as the name suggests, a yoga tailored for pregnant women. The practice is slower and focused on not being uncomfortable or dangerous for the mother-to-be and her baby.
This is ideal for: Pregnant women.
Do you have any other yoga types in your local studio? Which one is your favorite?