13 Types of Yoga + Plus 3 Extraordinary Ways of Practicing ItYou’ve probably heard about the effectiveness of yoga practice, and you must’ve seen the various ways of practicing it. Still, before you decide whether you’re going to practice Hatha, Ashtanga, or some other yoga type, you should determine the goals you want to achieve. Not all the types are designed for realizing the same objectives – for instance, some classes are aimed at relaxing and meditations, while some others help you get in shape and gain strength. In the article below, you are going to see the 13 most popular types of yoga, as well as their benefits. Get a yoga mat, a water bottle, and goodwill, and let’s get started!
1. Hatha YogaHatha yoga is among the most popular ways of practicing. The name originates from Sanskrit, which means willful or forceful, and it represents a set of positions aimed at aligning your skin, muscles, and bones. This yoga style is convenient for beginners since it’s based on simple and not so intense positions, and it’s practically an approach to breathing exercises, which are crucial for some more challenging yoga types.
2. Vinyasa YogaIn addition to hatha yoga, the Vinyasa style is one of the most practiced ones. In Sanskrit, Vinyasa means to place in a special way, and it is referred to a sequence of yoga poses. Vinyasa yoga teachers are those who tend to create a sequence of fluid and movement-intensive practices, trying to match the breathing with the movement – hence, if you want to test your physical limits, don’t miss the opportunity to try Vinyasa.
If you don’t enjoy the routine and passive atmosphere, then the vinyasa yoga is the right choice for you – every class is different in its way, and there is always some music that creates a livelier environment.
3. Ashtanga YogaThis type of yoga is one of the most ancient ones, and it is based on physically demanding postures, which makes it inconvenient for beginners. Ashtanga yoga served as inspiration for Vinyasa, since it includes a sequence of physically challenging poses that require a constant connection between breathing and movement. Unlike Vinyasa, Ashtanga yoga performs the same poses in the same order – it starts with five sun salutation A’s and five sun salutation B’s, and then moves to series of standing and floor asanas.
4. Bikram YogaIf you’re a fan of the hot environment, a Bikram yoga style might be the best option for you. It’s named after Bikram Choudhury, Indian-born-American yoga guru, who used to perform Hatha poses in a sauna-like environment, set to 104 degrees. The sequence includes 26 hatha yoga postures done twice in 90 minutes – the aim of this style is getting rid of our body toxins by sweating excessively and bringing the oxygenated blood to all the internal organs. There is also a yoga type called Hot yoga – it is practically the same as Bikram yoga, but since it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules as the Bikram style, it must be called differently.
5. Iyengar YogaThis yoga style was invented and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world. Iyengar yoga is quite a meticulous practice, aimed at finding the proper alignment in a pose. Iyengar teachers help their students find the proper alignment by putting different equipment in a yoga studio – blankets, blocks, straps, chairs, etc. Such a way of practicing doesn’t involve a lot of jumping, but it’s an excellent method for discovering how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put.
6. Kundalini YogaIn Hinduism, Kundalini is a form of divine energy that’s located in the base of the spine. That being said, Kundalini yoga is intended for releasing such energy that’s trapped in our bodies. During the practice, you’ll learn how to combine a sequence of fats moving poses with the periods of relaxations where you’ll be taught how to focus on internal sensations and the flow of creative energy. It is believed that kundalini yoga brings physical vitality, increases consciousness, and helps us get rid of the bad habits.
7. Jivamukti YogaJivamukti is not just an exercise, it’s a way of life. It was founded in 1984 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, and it combines vinyasa style with the sequences of meditation, deep relaxation, ethical practice, and chanting. Jivamukti practitioners are expected to be vegetarian or vegans since its entire philosophy is about nonviolence, which includes animal rights.
8. Restorative YogaAs its name indicates, Restorative yoga helps us “restore” our nerves after a long day. This is one of the yoga styles that include spending more time in fewer positions during the class, and those poses are meant to be easier and more relaxing. Just like the Iyengar yoga, this one also uses some props, such as bolsters, eye pillows, and blankets that help students do the exercise as they sink deeper into relaxation.
Since it helps cleanse and free your mind, restorative yoga is excellent for those who do stressful jobs and feel frequent tension and anxiety.
9. Anusara YogaAnusara yoga is a relatively new yoga style, which is developed in 1997, by American yogi John Friend. The concept of Anusara yoga is based upon the belief that every person is filled with an inborn goddess, and that’s why it seeks to use the physical practice in order to help students learn how to open their hearts, experience grace, and let their goddess shine. The classes are quite friendly and light-hearted, and they are aimed at heart-opening sessions that help people become more self-conscious.
10. Prenatal YogaPrenatal yoga is a sequence of exercises that moms-to-be can safely perform, without putting the fetus at risk. Prenatal yoga exercises will significantly ease labor and delivery since they impact pelvic floor muscles, help you enhance your breathing techniques, and foster bonding with the growing baby.
11. Yin YogaHere comes another solution for beginners. Yin yoga includes meditative techniques that help our body become comfortable without doing any work, and it focuses on lengthening the connective tissues within the body. It complements Yang yoga, which is “in charge” of strengthening the muscles. If Yang is active, Yin is passive, which means that the muscles are allowed to relax with gravity and rest.
12. Sivananda YogaThe concept of Sivananda yoga lies in increasing strength and flexibility of the spine, and chanting and meditation are sometimes a part of the full-length class. Swami Sivananda founded it, and it represents a classical approach to Hatha yoga, aimed at stretching and toning the whole body.
13. Kripalu YogaThe primary goal of Kripalu yoga is paying equal attention to mind, body, and spirit. It’s convenient for everybody, regardless of their age, ability, size, and other things, and it is considered a great yoga type for beginners. Kripalu yoga helps students achieve spiritual transformation and learn how to observe their thoughts without judging, and to accept and love themselves the way they are.
Extraordinary Types of Yoga for Those Who Want to Try Something DifferentThe list of types of yoga practice listed above is just a part of the wide range of different yoga styles that arise every day. Still, if you haven’t found the type that meets your needs, here are three not-so-common ways of performing yoga – they’ll give you some extra motivation for sure!
- Dog yoga: Here’s something for pet owners – you can perform some of the yoga poses together with your dog (or other pet), including stretching and even meditating.
- Beer yoga: Some people consider this method a perfect combination. It's created by a group 'BierYoga' from Germany, and the goal is to drink your favorite beer and lose the beer belly by doing yoga.
- Naked yoga: Believe it or not, naked yoga is quite popular nowadays. It is about performing asanas completely naked, and the goal is letting go of self-consciousness and accept imperfections of the body.