With Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga it is easy to get confused. This post will help you to understand the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can choose which type is right for you. The number of studios teaching Yoga classes is on the rise and there are many different types of Yoga on the menu. When I first started yoga I tried out different types of classes. Some I found to be too slow and relaxing and others I found too strenuous. Looking back I realize now that a lot of my experience had to do with teacher more than the style – nevertheless there are some key differences to the types of yoga.
This type of Yoga is relatively slow paced, gentle type of Yoga and is a good place to start if you are completely new to Yoga and don’ know any of the asanas (poses). Like all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aims to unite the mind, body and spirit and is focused on alignment. This is my favorite type of yoga!
Ashtanga Yoga is a fast moving, intense style of Yoga practice which is based on a progressive set sequence of asanas (postures), synchronized with the breath. I find Ashtanga Yoga to be quite physically demanding as you are constantly on the move from one asana in the sequence to the next. If you can hang in there, you’ll find that it will improve your stamina as well as your flexibility and strength.
This type of yoga a western interpretation of yoga based on Ashtanga. The exact sequence of a Power Yoga class may not align exactly with the sequencing of Ashtanga poses does, but it involves practicing a series of poses without stopping. Phew!
Iyengar Yoga is based on the teachings of B.K.S Igengar and concentrates on the correct alignment and form of the body. Unlike Ashtanga, there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time rather than moving constantly from one pose to the next. Iyengar Yoga uses yoga props such as blocks and straps to help you align the body into the different poses.
Vinyasa Yoga means breath synchronized movement and is another fast paced type of Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing. A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice each pose is balanced with a counter pose.
Bikram Yoga also known as Hot Yoga, is practiced in a room heated to 105° F (41°C), with a humidity of around 40%. Generally a sequence of 26 poses is practiced twice during a Bikram Yoga class and the heat helps to loosen muscles, protect against injury. Most people sweat a lot during the class and this helps to cleanse the body of toxins. Be sure to bring a towel!
This type of yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with postures, or asanas, that are held for longer periods of time—for beginners, it may range from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more. If your’e just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, I recommend trying a few different types of yoga to find out what you like best and then begin building your practice! Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga. I like Hatha and Vinyasa the best, but I have also practiced Bikram and Ashtanga. I’m on my way to Yoga Teacher Training and I can hardly wait! I will be learning how to teach Hatha (alignment based) and Vinyasa flow. I will keep you posted! Until then – do your practice and all is coming! (Update I finished on 19 November 2017).
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