Beginners Yoga Guide - 6 Types of Yoga Explained
by Vicky Wilcox on May 01, 2023
6 Styles of Yoga Explained
With so many different styles, names, techniques and practices out there, it can be hard to know where to start if you’re new to yoga1 Or even if you are experienced and want to explore more. I have pulled together a list of 6 of the most popular or well known types of yoga, so you can see what is right for you.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a series of physical postures combined with breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation. Yoga originated from ancient India and has since become popular worldwide as both a way to relax and relieve stress, as well as improve your overall health.
The word “yoga” literally means “union”. It is practiced by millions of people around the world every day because it offers many benefits including:
- Strength: Practicing yoga regularly will improve strength in your muscles, joints, bones and ligaments. This can help prevent injuries or other problems caused by weak muscles or joints over time.
- Flexibility: When you do certain yoga poses repeatedly they become easier over time which helps improve flexibility so you can do complicated poses more easily (and impress everyone).
- Balance: Many yoga poses work on balance which means that even those who don’t think they are very good at sports could learn something new about how their bodies function when standing on one foot for example!
Yoga Styles and Traditions
Hatha yoga is the most popular of all the styles, and it focuses on flexibility, strength, balance and breathing. It’s a great way to start your yoga practice if you’re new to it or if you’re an experienced yogi looking for something different.
Vinyasa is a series of poses linked together with breath in order to achieve optimal health benefits through movement. A vinyasa class will usually include sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) which can be modified for various levels from beginner to advanced depending on what class you take. You’ll also find some of the more challenging arm balances like crow, handstands/headstands as well as backbends and twists in this practice because they work not just isolated muscles but also engage your core musculature as well as help build overall strength throughout your body.*
Bikram Yoga is hot yoga—literally! The room temperature is set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity so it feels like being outside during a heat wave. This type of climate helps open up your pores so that toxins are released faster than normal when exercising; plus, these toxins are released without any effort required by your body! Heat increases blood flow which increases metabolism while sweating helps flush out toxins from deep within your tissues.
Briefly named after its founder BKS Iyengar who first began teaching his method 70 years ago after studying under legendary yogi T Krishnamacharya (who also taught Krishnamurti himself), this style focuses heavily on alignment while using props such as straps or blocks under knees to help support one another during poses.
This style was developed in Mysore India by Sri K Pattabhi Jois who learned directly from Guruji Krishnamacharya before splitting off into his own branch once he became known internationally for training celebrities such as Madonna or Sting.
Hatha yoga focuses on the physical practice of yoga postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It is the most popular style of yoga in the United States today. A typical Hatha class will include both a series of poses that are held for up to five minutes at a time as well as breathing exercises.
The goal is to help students relax and meditate deeply, which can be achieved by first learning how to control their breath while holding challenging poses. Once they learn how to ground themselves through their breath, they can then begin working toward holding longer poses without tensing up or becoming distracted by discomfort in their body.
Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic style of yoga that involves flowing through different poses. It’s based on the Sanskrit word vinyasa, which means “breath.” Vinyasa is practiced at a faster pace than other styles of yoga and includes sun salutations (Sanskrit for “salute with the sun”) as part of its flow.
In this style, you’ll move from one pose to another by linking them together with a breath or movement. The movements may be fast or slow depending on how you want to approach it: You could practice vinyasa flow at a slower pace for strength or faster for cardiovascular benefits and weight loss.
Bikram Yoga is a style of yoga that is based on the 26-posture Bikram Yoga sequence. The method was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. The sequence involves a series of 26 postures, which are performed in a heated room. This style focuses on strength, flexibility and proper breathing to attain optimal health.
In this type of yoga you need to wear loose fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees so that you are comfortable throughout the class.
Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga that is practiced in a classroom setting. It focuses on proper alignment and uses props like blocks and straps to help students achieve correct form. In Iyengar classes, you will be guided through each pose by your teacher who may also use their hands to adjust your body into the correct position. Classes usually last between an hour to an hour and a half depending on how many poses are being taught that day.
Ashtanga Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, Power Yoga or Vinyasa Flow Yoga
Ashtanga yoga is a fast-paced, rigorous yoga style that is practiced in a heated room. This style of yoga originated in India and has become popular because it can be done by beginners as well as advanced practitioners.
Ashtanga yoga is often referred to as “power” or “heated” hatha, as the vinyasa classes are done at a faster pace than other styles of yoga. The postures are held for 5 breaths before moving to the next posture and holding each posture for 3 breaths before moving on again until the final relaxation period is reached at the end of class.
Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that focuses on the spiritual aspect of yoga. It’s one of the most commonly practiced types of yoga and has many different styles.
There is some controversy around this type of practice, as it’s been linked to New Age movements that have been criticized for being cult-like communities.
Hot yoga, Bikram yoga, power yoga, and flow yoga
Hot yoga: Hot yoga is a style of yoga that is practiced in a heated room. The temperature can range from 95 to 105 degrees.
Bikram yoga: Bikram is another kind of hot yoga, except this one takes place in a room that’s heated to 100-105 degrees.
Power Yoga: Power Yoga is also considered an intense form of exercise because it combines stretching and strength training. In power yoga classes, you’ll use props such as straps, blocks and blankets to help increase flexibility while strengthening your core muscles at the same time.
Flow Yoga (or Vinyasa Yoga): This type of class focuses on continuous movement without holding poses for long periods of time—this makes flow classes accessible even for beginners!
Make sure to find a style of yoga that is right for you
The most important thing to look for when choosing the right yoga class for you is finding a style that is right for your body. The reason this is so important is because your body type determines which type of yoga will be best for you.
Every individual has different skeletal and muscular structures, as well as proportions between their limbs. All of these things contribute to what kind of postures will be most comfortable and effective for each person. A person with shorter legs may find wide-legged squats more difficult than someone with longer limbs, while a taller person might feel more comfortable in those same poses.
It’s also important to think about whether or not there are any injuries or issues that need to be taken into account before practicing certain styles of yoga (or any physical activity at all). For example, if someone has had hip surgery within six months then it would probably not make sense for them try out Bikram because it requires an incredible amount of flexibility in the hips; instead they could try Yin Yoga which provides similar benefits without stressing these joints too much!
For more beginner poses, or if you want a more in-depth practice and want to find out more, then you can sign up for one of my beginner yoga classes online by clicking here.
Or get in touch if you have any questions on this practice or anything else.
You can also download my free beginners guide to yoga, that includes my top tips on how to start your practice, and some poses I recommend. Click here to get your FREE guides now.