9 Common Types of Yoga

9 Common Types of Yoga

Posted July 14, 2020 by Tiana Carlyle
types of yoga

Quick story…. I signed up for my first yoga class at my gym a few years back. I don’t remember what kind of yoga it was. But what I do know is that I deeply regretted that decision for the entire 1-hour class. I couldn’t stick the poses, my balance was terrible, and I was so embarrassed. It became clear to me very quickly that I had signed up for a yoga class that wasn’t right for me. That is when I learned that there are different types of yoga and I would need to do some more research to determine which one would best fit my needs. 

Since then I’ve done all different types of yoga. I’ve determined what my needs are and what  I would like to gain from yoga. I thought you might find this information useful so I’ve comprised a list of the 9 most common types of yoga, their characteristics, and who might like each one. Hopefully, this article reaches you before you’re in a yoga class trying to put your foot behind your head! LOL.   

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a practice or discipline of uniting the mind, body, and soul. Yoga is known as an ancient practice that can be traced back as far as about 4000 years ago, having many different styles and types being created since. These styles include breathing techniques, physical postures, moves, and meditation. Recently it has become more popularly viewed as physical exercise that involves postures that encourage enhanced control of the mind and body to improve well-being. Even though yoga is flexible, having different styles you can employ and still achieve the same goal, it’s a practice with many disciplines. 

Benefits of Yoga

Overall, yoga has an overwhelming amount of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Here a just a few:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Promotes sleep quality 
  • Fights depression
  • Protects against injury
  • Many, many more

Types of Yoga

You can improve your mind and body with any style of yoga you choose to use. They all help in mediation, relaxation, freeing tension, and improving focus. For optimum results, choose only the style that fits your fitness level and goes well with your personality. 

Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga, developed by Bikram Choudhury is a form of hot yoga. This type of yoga involves 26 poses, performed in the same order, in an artificially heated room with over 100-degree hotness.

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who Might Like It: some looking for a good sweat with a more physical workout, this might be your favorite yoga style.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha involves a series of poses and breathing exercises that are ideal for beginners. Many yoga practitioners use this style as an elementary class.

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual 

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: if you are new to yoga, this is probably where you would like to begin.

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga, developed by BKS Iyengar is best known for its use of props such as belts, blocks, and pillows in this type of yoga style.  It’s known as the detail-oriented and slow-paced yoga style. 

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: Beginner who has not been able to perfect their poses would definitely found Iyengar yoga helpful.

Power Yoga

Power yoga is a very challenging type of yoga because it is an athletic form of yoga. Moving from one pose to another, it helps in building flexibility. This type of yoga is definitely for beginner, it for those that have learned the poses with correct alignment.

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult 

Who might like it: if you are looking for a good, face-paced workout. People who want to build their upper part will find this style interesting as it helps in building up upper-body strength. 

Kripalu yoga

Kripalu yoga is a type that requires you to start with slow movements. Some people refer to it as slow yoga, as you only need to move slowly in a way that barely causes you to sweat. It helps in improving deeper mind and body awareness. 

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: People with an injury or medical limitations will probably like this style because it requires less stress. 

Kundalini yoga

This is a system of meditation that yoga practitioners use to release repressed energy. Kundalini yoga class usually begins with chants and often ends with singing. 

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: if you are someone who wants to work on the spiritual and physical. People looking to work on their mind in focusing on one thought at a time. 

Sivananda Yoga

Also known as the Five-point philosophy yoga, Sivananda yoga is based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. This style involves proper relaxation, poses, breathing, diet, and positive thinking altogether to achieve a sound mind and healthy body as well.  

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: Sivananda is a spiritual yoga, so people looking for a way to enhance their spirituality will enjoy a Sivananda yoga class.  

Yin Yoga

Also, referred to as Taoist yoga, it’s noiseless and meditative. Majorly, this style aims at releasing tension in the key joints in the body – ankles, hips, shoulders, and knees.

Characteristics: physical – mental – spiritual

Skill Level: beginner – intermediate – difficult

Who might like it: People who have medical conditions they’re battling within the various joints on the body. 

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga, ideal for moms-to-be and new moms, is an incredible workout for easing pains associated with pregnancy. As the name implies, the style involves poses designed to support pregnant women’s health as well as get new moms back in shape after childbirth.

Who might like it: Pregnant women looking for pain relief or safe fitness during pregnancy

Bottom line

People with medical conditions are highly advised to approach yoga slowly and with carefulness. But overall, yoga is a practice that anyone can practice. Take the time to find out what you want from yoga. Are you looking for pain relief? Do you want a good workout? Do you want to become more flexible? These are important questions to answer before you begin your yoga journey. Once you start yoga, be patient with your body. There are many poses you may not be able to do. You may not be able to stay in a pose as long as others in the class. But take your time and work at your own pace. If you stay persistent, you will find out how beneficial yoga can be for your mind, body, and spirit.

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