A guide to the 7 most popular styles of yoga

What do you imagine when you think of yoga?

Do you imagine a bunch of ultra-enlightened people contorting themselves into pretzel-like positions?

Now, only part of that is true – not everyone who does yoga is ultra-enlightened (although some people ultimately do wish to achieve some form of enlightenment). However, there are some positions that certainly make you feel like an over-stretched pretzel.

Yoga isn’t all about twisting yourself into crazy poses. It’s about getting in touch with your body, opening yourself up to let your energy flow, and improving your health in general. (Trust me – when I first started yoga, I had no idea how much body strength it took to hold some of those poses. And I wasn’t the only one sweating in the room!)

There are so many different types of yoga practices out there – you just have to find the right one for you. We’ll tell you about 7 of the most popular types down below. Want something that takes a little more strength and effort? There are several yoga styles that will make you sweat. They’re a bit more physically demanding, and may be more suited for this type of music…

I can’t tell if that was supposed to pump me up or calm me down.

Anyway, check out these 7 different types of yoga and see which one you’d like to try out!

  • Bikram: this is one of the more popular types of yoga and you are guaranteed to sweat like you’ve never sweat before – because this type of yoga is held in a heated room. You’ll go through a strict sequence of 26 poses, and by the end you’ll be so grateful for some fresh air. Other places offer “hot yoga” classes which are essentially the same as Bikram, with the only difference being the sequence of poses.
  • Ashtanga: this is one of the more physically demanding practices that will surely leave you sweating at the end. Each pose is done in the exact same order, and each pose is linked to a specific breath.
  • Hatha: this is a generic name referring to any class that teaches postures. A hatha yoga class is ideal for beginners; you’ll be introduced to the basic poses, and you’ll end up feeling more relaxed and limber. Hatha yoga is gentle, unlike the physical demands of Bikram yoga
  • Iyengar: just as how Ashtanga focuses on breathing, Iyengar focuses on your body’s alignment. Finding the right balance and positioning is essential to avoiding injury. Iyengar yoga also utilizes a variety of devices and props, like blocks and straps, to further help you find your own alignment.
  • Restorative: this is the best way to wind down your week and relax. This type of yoga emphasizes more passive poses to help you reap the benefits of yoga without having to strain yourself.
  • Vinyasa: this type of yoga focuses on flow, hence the name. You’ll move seamlessly from pose to pose, and you can expect a fair amount of rigor.
  • Anusara: one of the newest practices of yoga. It’s an especially mental and physical workout, and it’s based on the belief that we are all inherently good inside.

Want even more styles of yoga? This article has everything you need, from A to Z.

 

 

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