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10 Styles of Yoga

Yoga is not a one style fits everyone all the time experience. There are so many styles and variations of yoga and finding the right one for you might make the difference between a lifelong beautiful practice or rolling up your yoga mat for good. When looking for a style that is right for you, consider your reason for practicing. Think about and feel what your body and mind need on a given day. Maybe you're looking for a hot sweaty workout or you're looking for restorative benefits. Maybe you need a spiritual experience with a compassionate approach. @jillconyers http://jillconyers.com

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to get to know several of you via online chats. Seriously amazing experience. Each and every time the conversations leave me feeling energized, motivated, inspired and even more so, connected with people that share the same passions. Connected to people that just get it.

When you think of yoga do you picture a single stereotyped image then, possibly, think that’s not for me? I know there was a time when I did and based on that misconception I closed my mind and heart to the practice.

There are hundreds and hundreds of styles and variations of yoga and finding the right one for you might make the difference between a lifelong beautiful practice or rolling up your yoga mat for good.

When looking for a style that is right for you, consider your reason for practicing. Think about and feel what your body and mind need on a given day. Maybe you’re looking for a hot sweaty workout or you’re looking for restorative benefits. Maybe you need a spiritual experience with a compassionate approach.

Yoga is not a one style fits everyone all the time experience.

10 Yoga Styles

Ashtanga Yoga

The dynamic physically demanding practice synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. This style is great for building core strength and toning the body.

Bikram Yoga

This set series of 26 postures and two breathing exercise is done in high heat for 90 minutes. Bikram Yoga’s specific yoga sequence of poses is staid to systematically work every part of the body, increasing the flow of fresh oxygen rich blood, while the heat serves to speed detoxification.

Forrest Yoga

An intensely physical practice with a  strong internal focus, Forest Yoga involves holding poses for extended periods in a heated room. Demanding everything you’ve got, intense sequences emphasize breath and abdominal work, and are designed to make you sweat, eliminate toxins, and release emotional tension.

Ishta Yoga

Ishta Yoga integrates the ancient sciences of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra. It’s breath-centered alignment-oriented practice combines elements Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga and incorporate subtle-energy techniques like mantra and visualization meditations to expand awareness and generate emotional well being.

Iyengar Yoga

By paying close attention to anatomical details and the alignment of each posture, Ivengar Yoga is the practice of precision. Poses are held for a long periods and often modified with props. This method is designed to systematically cultivate strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness.

Power Yoga

This fitness-based vinyasa practice is an offshoot of Ashtanga, and has many of the same qualities and benefits, including building internal heat, increased stamina, strength and flexibility, as well as stress reduction. Teachers design their own sequences, while students synchronize breath with the movement.

Prana Vinyasa Flow Yoga

A creative, energetic and fluid form of vinyasa, Prana Flow is guided by the flow of pranic energy through the body resulting in near continuous movement. It incorporates elements of ecstatic dance, moving meditation, Bhakti, Ayurveda and music.

Restorative

Restorative yoga typically involves only five or six poses each class, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends.

Yin Yoga

This practice is designed to help you sit longer, and more comfortably, in meditation by stretching connective tissue around the joint. A passive practice, Yin Yoga involves variations of seated and supine poses held for 3 to 5 minutes, accessing deeper layers of fascia tissue.

Yoga Nidra

Enjoy yogic sleep as the teacher takes you through a guided meditation that systematically brings awareness to each part of the body. Students find a deep state of relaxation. The ancient practice of yoga nidra is said to help reduce stress.

This by no means is an exhaustive list of the different styles and variations of yoga.

Honestly, you might not even know what you’re looking for. Keep an open heart and mind to the practice and you’ll know when you’ve found what’s right for you.

Do you have a favorite style of yoga? Have you tried many different styles? Do you think of yoga in stereotypes?

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36 Comments

  1. Sharmila Dani says:

    I have been doing Asthana yoga, don’t know if it’s appropriate for my type of a body. That’s why I joined this group to learn more about which yoga is appropriate for me

  2. i thought the same thing for SO long. especially when hot yoga started getting big, that’s when i was like ‘im DEFINITELY not doing that. something that hot and that wet cannot be fun.’
    Recently i bought a groupon and started going to classes for my neck pain. honestly i loved it soo so much. i will definitely keep going 🙂

  3. I’ve always wondered about this! Thank you for sharing; this is really helpful.

  4. Thanks for sharing! I had no idea there were this many types of yoga practice.

  5. Thanks for the breakdown of the different types of yoga. I never really knew what each type of practice was truly about – what was different about each of them. I love vinyasa flow and have just started going back to the studio in hopes of strengthening my back (and core).

  6. i totally agree with this! 🙂 i love power yoga but would love to explore others, too. like pre-natal at the moment- excited to go again tomorrow! i look forward to it so much- it’s been life-changing for me since starting to practice in 2009!

  7. Thanks for sharing! I have no idea what kind of yoga I have done…I’ve gone to classes only a few times. I think most have probablybene vinyasa yoga. After my race I want to do more vigorous classes…we’ll see!

  8. I think I like Yin yoga the most but I have a bunch of yoga dvd’s for all types that I do.

  9. I’ve been telling myself for the past 5 years now that I want to seriously get into yoga. When I was in college I did random classes here and there with my friends. I would love to just sign up at the local YMCA or gym and do a class with a friend. It’s hard though because we live in the country…about 30 minutes from the nearest city with a gym. I would love to get into this with a friend. I especially loved hot yoga when I tried it in college! I think I like yoga moreso for the relaxation and contentedness than the exercises (deep breathing, etc). It was a great stress reliever. Tweeting this!

  10. I love yoga! Thanks for sharing this, I have done bikram, vinyasa and power yoga…love them all!

  11. Definitely will sharing this with my students. As a private yoga teacher I find that so frequently people don’t realize that yoga is NOT a one size fits all! Appreciate this post SO much!

  12. Wow I didn’t realize there were so many different types of yoga! I have heard of a few of them though, and Ashtanga and Power Yoga are my favourites 🙂

  13. I tend to practice vinyasa yoga, I did go to a hatha yoga studio for awhile…it was interesting, and I was terrible with my focus on breath! I hadn’t heard of a lot of these types of yoga.

  14. I’ve done a handful of these, but to be honest, I’m not even sure what I would classify the class I usually go to. I think it’s a vinyasa flow? I’ve done restorative yoga once, and I actually liked it!

  15. Great information! I love my yoga class on Tuesday night, it does not have a fancy name just community yoga but I think it is a mix of a few of those styles. I am still a yoga newbie but I enjoy it!

  16. I’ve tried 6 of the 10 you listed. I had no idea there were 10 kinds! My favorite depends on my mood and my body’s needs.

  17. I feel like I need to take a yoga journey. Every thing I read lately makes me want to drop everything and find my mat. I’m hoping with my new schedule I can start volunteering at my yoga studio in exchange for classes, that would be so perfect! I need to find a Forrest yoga class though!

  18. Love me some Power yoga…which I think is why I love teaching PiYo Live so much…

  19. I prefer power yoga and prana vinyasa. I have practiced several different types: I know that bikram is NOT for me at all, and I don’t love the restorative yoga.

  20. Thank you so much for putting this together and sharing it. I have done a few different forms of yoga, but I didn’t know there were this morning. I took an amazing vinyasa flow class that blew my mind!!! What I really love, is taking the poses I have learned from classes, and doing my own home practice based around what I need and feel that day. Always love your yoga inspiration. Xoxo

  21. Great breakdown of the styles, Jill! This is definitely useful for people who think of yoga as just a single type of exercise. I find my favorite yoga practice varies with how intense my running is. When I am training hard, I prefer hatha or yin yoga, but I love power yoga otherwise.

  22. I have tried Vinyasa and power yoga before but I didn’t realize there were so many other styles! I would like to try one of the styles done in a hot room… and then take a cold shower afterwards. It sounds so refreshing!

  23. I guess I’ve probably never tried any of these but I did just buy a dvd called “yoga for runners” – maybe that’ll be my jam?! Have a great day Jill and happy yogaing!

  24. There are a few types I haven’t heard of before! I will say, I don’t think I’m a huge fan of heated yoga. A class I went to a few weeks ago was ‘warm’ and I was just not feeling it for some reason!

  25. So many different styles! I don’t know which is perfect for me. I’ve only done ashtanga yoga.

  26. Vinyasa flow is definitely my favourite style, though I probably need more Yin Yoga in my life!

  27. I’ve done Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa – I don’t love yoga in general, but Bikram was not my thing at all. Vinyasa flow was my favorite, but that may also have been because I really liked the teacher.

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