Table of Contents
There are many yoga types – some more physically challenging than others – some better suited to beginners than others. This can be a bit confusing when starting out. Here is a list of what I consider the best 11 different yoga types. I briefly explain these yoga types in the following list in an attempt to give you an introduction to each and links for more info and classes for each:
1. Kundalini yoga
derives from kundalini, defined in Hindu lore as energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated (as by the practice of yoga) and channeled upward through the chakras in the process of spiritual perfection. Kundalini is believed to be power associated with the divine feminine. Kundalini yoga as a school of yoga is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga or meditation. Kundalini yoga is often identified as the most dangerous form of yoga because of the involvement of subtle energies. ( fromWikipedia)
2. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga is great for beginners. Experienced students will also benefit by learning to slow down their pace.
Vinyasa is explained as breath-synchronized movement. This type of yoga keeps you moving from asana to asana. Each pose includes inhaling and exhaling one or more times in a timely and synchronized manner.
Vinyasa yoga although similar to ashtanga is a lot more flexible than ashtanga.
Vinyasa strings postures together so that the movement from one to another is breathlessly seamless. It is also called “flow yoga” and ofttimes mixed up with “power yoga”. Each class of Vinyasa is different.
Vinyasa yoga helps to relieve anxiety and stress. It impacts our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual selves while connecting our mind and body. Vinyasa Yoga helps us to unclutter our mind.
3. Hatha Yoga
The Sanscrit word हठ haṭha literally means “force” and therefore refers to a system of physical techniques. In the 20th century haṭha yoga began focusing particularly on asanas ( body postures). Hatha originally was and still is a general term for a sitting meditation pose. It was later extended to hatha yoga and modern yoga as exercise, to any type of pose or position – reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, and balancing ). It became popular throughout the world as a form of physical exercise. This modern form of yoga is now widely known simply as “yoga“.
4. Ashtanga Yoga
I would not recommend this for beginners.
A type of yoga introduced to the western culture by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This type of yoga synchronizes our breathing with a series of postures which cause severe body heat and an intense, purifying sweat to detoxify our muscles and internal organs. This produces better circulation, a stronger body, as well as a calming of our mind..
5. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga as exercise, incorporating principles of traditional Chinese medicine, with asanas (postures) that are held for longer periods of time than in other styles. For beginners, asanas may be held from 45 seconds to two minutes; more advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more. The sequences of postures are meant to stimulate the channels of the subtle body known as meridians in Chinese medicine and as nadis in Hatha yoga. Yin Yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body—the tendons, fasciae, and ligaments—with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. A more meditative approach to yoga, its goals are awareness of inner silence, and bringing to light a universal, interconnecting quality. (fromWikipedia)
here are a variety of Yin Yoga videos
6. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga was originally created to help those of us who are not well, or who are injured. Yin and restorative yoga use different sets of postures.
Restorative yoga uses basically five or six poses using props that enable us to completely relax. They are held = > 5 minutes. The poses are composed of gentle twists, forward sitting bends, and very gentle back bends.
7. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga is ideal for beginners. It focuses on detail and the pace is slow. You can use items such as pillow like props to assist you to be in correct alignment in a pose.
Bikram Yoga is a system of hot yoga, a type of yoga as exercise, devised by Bikram Choudhury, that became popular in the early 1970s. Classes consist of a fixed sequence of 26 postures, practiced in a room heated to 105 °F (41 °C) with a humidity of 40%, intended to replicate the climate of India. The room is fitted with carpets and the walls are covered in mirrors; the instructor does not adjust the students, who are expected to adjust themselves. (Wikipedia)
9. Power Yoga
Power yoga is more energetic than the traditional type of yoga. It is practiced at a faster more intense pace. It is more about the physical and less about the spiritual. Power yoga is good for lowering stress, increasing our stamina and helping us to be more flexible. Where traditional yoga has a fixed set of asanas, Power yoga has more flexibility in arranging postures.
10. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda Yoga is a spiritual yoga system founded by Swami Vishnudevananda. It includes the use of asanas (yoga postures) but is not limited to them as in systems of yoga as exercise. He named this system after his guru, Swami Sivananda with the mission ‘to spread the teachings of yoga and the message of world peace which has since been refined to ‘practice and teach the ancient yogic knowledge for health, peace, unity in diversity and self-realization. (Wikipedia)
11. Prenatal Yoga
Much like other types of childbirth-preparation classes, prenatal yoga is a multifaceted approach to exercise that encourages stretching, mental centering and focused breathing. Research suggests that prenatal yoga is safe and can have many benefits for pregnant women and their babies.
Prenatal yoga benefits:
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
- Decrease lower back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath (from Mayoclinic)
For Additional info on pregnancy: Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy 2nd Edition