A Beginner’s Guide to Types of Yoga

There are so many styles of yoga out there, it can all get a little confusing! To help clear up any confusion and help you decide what type of yoga is right for you, we’ve created a list of the most common yoga classes you’ll see offered by studios in the Western world.


Hatha

Hatha yoga is a slow-moving class that focuses on teaching you the basics. It’s a gentler form of yoga which is great for beginners who want an introduction to basic postures. The word “hatha” refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures so most classes are technically hatha, but you can expect an introductory class if you sign up for a hatha yoga session.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic practice that links movements and breath in a flow of poses. You don’t stay in any of the poses for long so be prepared for your heart rate to rise as you flow from one pose to another. This type of yoga is great for cardio lovers and no two classes are ever the same.

Iyengar 

This detail-oriented yoga style focuses on precision and proper alignment of the body in each pose. You can expect to use props like yoga blocks and blankets to help you move within a safe range of motion. Each posture is held for a long time so it’s a good idea to start with a level one class if you are new to Iyengar.

Ashtanga

Ashtanga is a challenging form of yoga with routine and strict guidelines. This orderly approach to yoga uses six series of specifically sequenced yoga poses in every class. Get ready for a class focused on breathing, teaching you how to link each movement to your breath.

Bikram

Prepare to sweat in Bikram yoga class! This popular style of yoga uses a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in a heated room, usually at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity. Every yoga studio offering Bikram classes uses the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to expect if you’ve been before. Bikram is a vigorous and strenuous practice so make sure to take it easy if you’re new. Rest when needed, and stay hydrated before, during, and after class.

Hot Yoga 

Hot Yoga is similar to Bikram but it isn’t constricted to the same 26-pose sequence. It’s also practiced in a heated room which can help move the muscles deeper into poses compared to a non-heated class. This is a great class for anyone who loves to sweat and work through a tough workout.

Kundalini

Kundalini is a physically and mentally challenging yoga practice. It’s very different from other yoga classes, using repetitive exercises combined with intense breathwork while chanting and meditating. This is a great spiritual practice that can help you break through internal barriers and reach a higher level of self-awareness.

Yin Yoga

Find your Zen with yin yoga. This calm style of yoga balances the body and mind by holding each pose for several minutes at a time. It’s a meditative practice that targets deep connective tissue to restore muscle length and elasticity. This type of yoga is hard at first but it’s a restorative class for those who want to stretch and unwind.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is a mellow, slow-moving class that uses longer holds to help you experience deep relaxation. Most teachers use props like blankets and bolsters to help support the body through each pose. You might not feel like you’re getting much of a workout in a restorative yoga class, but the point is to restore the body. This is a great yoga practice for anyone who struggles with anxiety or wants an active recovery option for their rest days from the gym.

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