There are a number of different forms of yoga, some dating back thousands of years and some more modern. While all forms of yoga offer a similar set of health benefits, some types of yoga have added components that might be of interest depending on what your goals are.
If you’re not sure which type of yoga is best for you, keep reading. Below, you’ll find a brief outline of 5 of the most common types of yoga and the unique benefits associated with each style.
5 Popular Types of Yoga And Their Benefits
Hatha yoga is the oldest of all forms of yoga, with it’s origins dating back more than 5,000 years. In fact, Hatha yoga is considered to be the mother of yoga, with all styles falling underneath.
If you’re new to yoga, Hatha provides a slow, gentle introduction. Hatha yoga focuses on getting back to the basics of yoga, including beginner-friendly postures, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation.
Hatha yoga is low-impact so it’s suitable for most people.
- Yoga beginners
- People who require low-impact forms of exercise
Vinyasa is also known as flow yoga, and is an excellent way to increase stamina and flexibility.
Vinyasa takes the poses of Hatha yoga and arranges them in a sequence, with an emphasis on the breathe and creating a flow of postures, seamlessly transitioning from one posture to the next.
In addition to increasing stamina and flexibility, you’ll burn a good amount of calories while practicing Vinyasa yoga, so this style of yoga is great if your goal is to lose weight.
- Stamina and endurance
- Increasing flexibility
- Weight loss
Kundalini yoga was created more than 1200 years ago as a way of harnessing the energy in the body to use it for balance and healing purposes.
The word yoga literally means union – a union of body, mind and spirit. The word Kundalini, refers to the latent female energy that is believed to be coiled at the base of everyone’s spine and can be used to heal and transform.
Kundalini yoga provides a blend of postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation and mantras, and can help to strengthen the core, increase flexibility, improve lung capability, reduce stress and help you better deal with the stressors of daily life.
- Reducing stress
- Tuning into your intuition
- Calming and clearing the mind
- Boosting the immune system
- Boosting happiness
Bikram yoga (also known as “hot yoga”) came into popularity in the 1970’s and is named after its founder, Bikram Choudhury.
There are two main distinctions that separate Bikram yoga from other forms of yoga:
- Bikram yoga is performed in a studio heated between 95-108 degrees, with a humidity of 40%
- Bikram yoga classes run for 90 minutes with participants going through the same sequence of 26 poses in every class.
Bikram yoga provides a vigorous workout, and because of this and the fact that it is performed in extreme temperatures, Bikram yoga is believed to burn more calories and assist with weight loss.
There are many dedicated fans of Bikram yoga, however this style of yoga can cause dehydration and extreme cases, heat stroke. Seniors, pregnant women, people with diabetes, heart disease or low blood pressure should avoid Bikram yoga. Learn more about yoga for seniors.
- Weight loss
- Increasing stamina and endurance
Ashtanga is another modern form of yoga, commonly referred to as “Power Yoga.” Ashtanga yoga was created by K. Pattabhi Jois and can be translated as ‘8 limbs’.
Ashtanga yoga is a highly structured form of Vinyasa yoga, that features 5 Ashtanga series. A student must master every pose in a series before they are able to move onto the next series.
Asthanga yoga provides an intense workout, and is well suited to those who are physically fit and strong.
- An intense workout
- A challenging set of postures
- Increasing fitness and strength
Now it’s time to start practicing!
If there are factors that inhibit you from attending a yoga studio, don’t worry. One of the best things about yoga is that it can be practiced absolutely anywhere – in your bedroom, a hotel room, by the beach, in front of the TV… Here’s how to start a home yoga practice right now and start reaping the benefits!