7 Different Styles Of Yoga And What They Mean

What These Seven Styles Of Yoga Mean

If you’re new to yoga, then you might be confused by all the different schools of yoga on offer. Picking the right style of yoga is important because it has to match your goals, your strength levels and your age. Don’t feel intimidated by all the confusing yogic terms being thrown around. Once you know what each type of yoga means and what it’s best for, you’ll be better equipped to choose one that suits you best. These are the seven most common types of yoga, each with their own unique benefits.

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga Includes Every Form Of Yoga

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Hatha yoga is a broad term that encompasses every style of yoga. It is a physical form of yoga which comprises of various poses engineered to make you fully aware of your body and its strength. It also includes mind exercises to give you greater control over your impulses and become more self-aware. If you were to join a hatha yoga studio, you would be introduced to many varied poses and breathing techniques. This is perfect if you want a full introduction to the school of yoga instead of learning about specific branches of it.

2. Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga Is A Physically Demanding Form

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Ashtanga yoga, also called ashtanga vinyasa yoga, is comprised of eight ‘limbs’. Each limb is a branch of ashtanga yoga and contributes towards complete mastery of the body and mind. Actual physical postures which most of us commonly associate with yoga are only one branch of it. Ashtanga yoga comprises of a sequence of poses which are done very quickly and can be quite strenuous. It requires you to coordinate your breathing with the actual movement of your body, producing a lot of internal heat. Because of this, ashtanga yoga is perfect for you if your goal is to lose weight and build your core strength.

3. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga Uses Props As Support

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Iyengar yoga is one of the few kinds of yoga which use props. Perfect alignment of the body is considered most important and Iyengar yoga helps you achieve this with blocks, belts and blankets. While Iyengar yoga can also be physically demanding, the inclusion of props takes a lot of stress off your body. Because of this, it’s safe for every age group. If you are new to yoga or have joint pains, Iyengar yoga can be perfect for you.

4. Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga Is A Spiritual Form Of Yoga

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Kundalini refers to latent energy within every person, visualised as a coil serpent at the base of your spine. Kundalini yoga includes mind and body exercises that are supposed to awaken this serpent and unleash its energy within you. Kundalini yoga focuses less on physical strength and more on enlightenment of the individual. It is supposed to make you more self-aware, strengthen your self-control and make you more productive in every area of your life. It involves chanting many mantras which are supposed to reinvigorate you and awaken your dormant energy.

5. Vinyasa Yoga

Power Yoga Is Intense And Strenuous

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Vinyasa yoga, also called power yoga, is an adaptation of ashtanga yoga. While it might also include some breathing exercises, power yoga is almost solely for those interested in fitness and in losing weight. There isn’t a specified sequence of poses in vinyasa yoga, it’s largely left to each individual trained yogic. The combination of difficult poses and breathing techniques builds your internal heat, causing you to burn calories. But because it is so strenuous, power yoga is not the best school for you if you’re a beginner and haven’t already developed your body’s strength.

6. Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda Yoga Is A Slow, Relaxed Form Of Yoga)

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Completely opposite from power yoga, is sivananda yoga. Sivananda yoga is a slow form of yoga, with a specific sequence of asanas and breathing techniques. It is a very holistic form of yoga which comprises of five different guiding principles: exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet and meditation. Because of its unhurried form, sivananda yoga is perfect for beginners and older people. It can also help you make a holistic, healthy change in your life.

7. Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga Takes Place In Heated Studios

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Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, comprises of a sequence of 26 poses in a studio heated to 108 degrees. Bikram yoga encourages you to sweat profusely, therefore detoxifying your body in the process. While it is excellent for weight loss, the intense heat of the studios can deter many people from trying it. If you do decide to join a bikram yoga class, power through the first two sessions without quitting. After this, the heat usually becomes more bearable and you can start reaping the benefits of bikram yoga.