Yoga 101: Which Style is Right for You?

Yoga comes in many different forms, or practices. Depending on your strengths, your weaknesses and what you’re looking to achieve – there definitely is a kind of yoga suited for you out there. We’ve put together this guide to help you discover some of them. 

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is best suited for beginners. It has a slow and relaxed pace and all of the poses are easily adjustable which makes it more accessible. In Hatha yoga the poses (like Asana) are rather static and the emphasis is placed on breathing, and pranayama, rather than exerting yourself. This is a great way to introduce yourself to yoga. According to Yoga Journal: “Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.”

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga is the practice of precision. Poses are held for longer periods of time and are meant to cultivate strength, flexibility, stability, and awareness. Iyengar yoga is focused on the anatomical details of each pose, often using props to bring you into an exact position every time. Which is what makes it ideal for perfectionists.

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Vinyasa Yoga

Also called flow yoga or power yoga, Vinyasa yoga is quicker paced and a more intense workout than the last two. This type of yoga is constantly in motion, moving quickly between each pose leaving little time for quiet contemplation. Your movement is coordinated with your breath which allows you to flow between each pose. Vinyasa yoga is not really recommended for beginners as the pace can be quite intense and harder to follow. 

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga has a much slower pace. Each pose is held anywhere from 1-5 minutes, sometimes longer, depending on your level as you are guided deeper into each pose. This allows you to stretch your muscles and become more flexible. The slow pace of Yin yoga gives it a much more meditative quality, ideal for those looking to relieve stress and anxiety. Yin yoga is very relaxing but not recommended for those who have less patience and like a more active, fast paced workout. 

Kundalini

Using sound, breath and posture, Kundalini yoga aims to awaken spiritual awareness by freeing what is called the ‘serpent power’ (kundalini). Kundalini is believed to be the energy associated with divine feminine. It uses hatha yoga techniques along with deep breathing exercise, mantras and sets of exercises. Kundalini yoga has a deep focus on spiritual awareness and awakening.

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Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is composed of 6 set sequences of varying levels that are followed in the same order every time. For this kind of yoga, the teacher isn’t there to instruct but walks around adjusting poses, assisting in any way and offering guidance. The students each work on their own poses individually and cannot move onto the next pose until they have mastered the current one. Ashtanga also focuses on the practice of breathe control, or pranayama. Ashtanga yoga is well suited to self-motivated individuals who like going at their own pace

Ananda Yoga

Ananda yoga is a system of Hatha yoga, it uses silent affirmations and its goal is to harness the silent energies within us and to harmonize the body, uplift the mind, and above all to attune oneself with higher levels of awareness. It is less athletic than other practices as it is meant to prepare for deep meditation.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is yoga done in a room heated between 27-38 degrees Celsius in which you will practice a variety of poses. The heat in the room improves flexibility as it warms up the muscles and allows you to burn more calories than a traditional yoga session. What’s more, studies have also found that hot yoga helps with cardiovascular strength. 

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We hope this guide helps you find the type of yoga best suited to your needs. Consider subscribing to our newsletter to receive more health & wellness information direct to your inbox!

This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.