An Ultimate Guide to 15 Most Popular Types of Yoga

24 May

An Ultimate Guide to 15 Most Popular Types of Yoga

After the announcement of International Day of Yoga (celebrated on 21st June every year from 2015), Yoga which is thousands of years old holistic health science became very popular across the globe and everyone started talking about it and now it’s trending.

So many people and so many thoughts on what Yoga is.

Among many thoughts some of them are:

  • Asana Classes
  • Breathing exercises
  • Spiritual Practice
  • Another form of exercise
  • And many more

The reality has a bigger face. Yoga is a lifestyle and a discipline based on science and spirituality.

What is Yoga?

The word “YOGA” is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’. Yuj means – to unite, union, joining. It is a path which leads one towards Holistic Health by bringing harmony among:

  • Physical Body
  • Mental Body
  • Psychological Body
  • Spiritual Body

According to Patanjali: 
“Yogash chitta Vritti Nirodhah” (Yoga Sutra: 1.2)

Meaning: Yoga is the cessation of modifications of the mind.

According to Yoga-Vasishta: “Manah prashamanah Upayah yoga ityabhidhiyate” (Yoga Vasishta: 3.9.32)

Meaning: Yoga is a skilful way to calm down the mind.

According to Bhagavad Gita: “Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam” (Bhagavad Gita: 2.50)

Meaning: Yoga is dexterity in action.

Just as there are many definitions of yoga, there are many types of yoga as well. Let’s take a look at a few types:

Types of Yoga

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the oldest and traditional forms of Yoga. As per Hatha Yoga, we need to first purify our physical body and its element and then we can take our selves to higher practices like Meditation. In a Hatha Yoga class, you will find more emphasis on holding the Asana for a longer time with a complete awareness of the body and breath. The pace of the class is slow.

hatha yogaBest for you if you:

  • Are a beginner Student
  • Like to go through slow pace yoga classes
  • Love to hold the poses for a longer time
  • Are looking for Traditional Yoga classes

2. Ashtanga Yoga

It is understood in two ways:

  1. Ashtanga Yoga is a system created by one of the greatest sages Patanjali.
  2. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which is also known as Ashtanga Yoga. It is popularised by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Here we are talking about the second one. It consists of six series and all the series have asana which is practised in vinyasa keeping breath, alignment, bandha, drishti in mind. The Ashtanga Yoga classes are quite challenging. There are two way the class runs, the first one is the lead class where the teacher gives instructions about every pose and in the other, the students practise on their own and the teacher only comes and corrects if required (The second approach is known as Mysore style Ashtanga yoga).

astanga Yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are an intermediate or advanced student
  • Like to go through the same pattern every day
  • Enjoy intense yoga classes
  • Are looking for Traditional Yoga classes

3. Vinyasa Yoga

It is a dynamic of Yoga and offers fast movements, rapid pace and a lot of enjoyment. You learn how to quickly move from one posture to another with ease, just like dance. At the same time, it teaches you to connect each movement with breath. While practising you might experience a rise in the heart rate so be mindful of it and stop whenever it goes very high.

vinyasa yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are a beginner or intermediate student
  • Like to go through intense classes
  • Enjoy movement while practising

4. Iyengar Yoga

This form is named after an Indian Yoga Guru – Sri BKS Iyengar. Iyengar yoga has a lot of emphasis on the detailed instructions, precision and alignment of the asana with an in-depth awareness of breath. You move with slow pace and hold on each pose for a while and your body alignment in on check with each posture. This yoga is practised with props like ropes, straps, blocks, bolsters, chairs, tables etc. An Iyengar yoga class has a lot of focus on the therapy.

iyanger yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are an intermediate or advanced student
  • Are looking for therapy
  • Enjoy long holds of the pose
  • Are looking for detailed instructions

5. Shivananda Yoga

The Sivananda style of yoga has 12 basic asanas. The classes are designed in such a way that anyone can do except someone with serious concerns. It basically focuses on preserving health and wellness of the students. It emphasises mainly on breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise and positive thinking. Typically a Sivananda style of yoga class would have KapalBhati, Anulom Vilom, Surya Namaskar, 12 basic asanas.

shivananda yogaBest for you if you:

  • Are beginner student
  • Like to go through slow pace yoga classes
  • Are looking for Traditional Yoga classes

6. Satyananda Yoga

This yoga style has been developed by Shri Swami Satyananda Saraswati. This form is designed and developed keeping the Indian yoga practice and modern medical physiotherapy in mind. This form of Yoga involves the practitioner completely and not only his or her body. Satyananda Yoga involves the practice of Asana, Pranayama, Shatkarmas, Yoga Nidra, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Mudras, Bandhas, Meditation, Chanting, Karma yoga etc. The classes of this form are quite gentle in comparison to other forms.

satyananda yogaBest for you if you:

  • Are Beginner Student
  • Like to go through slow pace yoga classes
  • Are looking for Spiritual growth
  • Are looking for Traditional Yoga classes

7. Bikram Yoga

The form of Bikram Yoga is a created by Mr. Bikram Choudhury. It consists of 26 postures and the classes are on a set routine. Bikram Yoga classes happen in a heated room with temperature in between 35–42 °C (95–108 °F) with a humidity of 40%. It is a patented form which involves repeating the 26 asanas in set cycles over a 90-minute class.

Don’t forget to hydrate yourself before this class.

Do rest when you feel strenuous.

bikram yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are Intermediate or Advanced Student
  • Like to sweat a lot
  • Are looking for intense yoga classes

8. Kundalini Yoga

This kind of Yoga is quite different from the regular Yoga Classes. It’s a blend physical and spiritual practice. It is all about releasing the energy stored within you. You practice postures, pranayama, and meditation and along with it you also perform chanting and singing. Kundalini is the coiled energy, which you can release and utilize by practising this form of Yoga. If you wish to break the internal barriers and be more self-aware, this yoga is best for you.

kundalini yogaBest for you if you:

  • Are Spiritual Seekers
  • Are Advanced Students

9. Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga practice. In this kind of yoga class, you would need to hold the asanas for longer periods of time. Yin Yoga is more of passive in nature with an emphasis on the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, & joints which generally are not much focused while practising a more active form of asana practice. It is rather like a meditative approach to Asanas which aims at cultivating awareness of inner silence.

The props are used to reduce your body strain and you perform without actually putting pressure on the muscles.

yin yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced Student
  • Like to be in the poses for long
  • Are looking for soothing yoga classes

10. Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga focuses more on relaxation, calming the mind, and healing the body. The restorative yoga form has its roots in the Iyengar yoga. The main emphasis of this form is on helping people to recover from their injuries. This Yoga is good for you if you are going through restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety, stress or if you wish to slow down in your activities.

To make you feel more relaxed the props used are – bolsters, blankets, etc.

restorative yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are looking for therapy
  • Need relaxation from the stressful lifestyle

 12. Power Yoga

Power Yoga is a very vigorous and fitness-based approach to vinyasa yoga. It was designed to model Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice keeping it more flexible wherein the teachers can choose what poses they want to add to the flow.

Power yoga classes are intense in nature and not advised for people who might have any concerns with their physical body.

Best for you if you:

  • Are looking for a fast-paced yoga class
  • Want to sweat out

 13. AntiGravity Yoga

AntiGravity Yoga is created by Cristopher Harrison. It is a very new form of Yoga where the practitioners use a silk apparatus to practice all the poses. These silk hammocks are specially designed and engineered by Christopher Harrison and can easily bear over 900 kg of weight. This practice supports the students in all the poses, help them deepen the stretches with very less or no strain. No matter at what level you are, Antigravity Yoga is for everyone. One of the major benefits of AntiGravity Yoga is to remove compression from the spine and improve spinal health.


Best for you if you:

  • Are Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced
  • Want to De-stress
  • Are looking for fun in the classes

14. Acro Yoga

Acro Yoga is a form of Yoga that brings together the principle of Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Acrobatics, Healing and Massage Techniques. In an Acro yoga class, you would need a partner as partner work is the main feature of this form. The classes help you build a great amount of strength and improve flexibility. You might find it challenging and vigours because of long holds and a lot of work against gravity. In a typical acro yoga class, you might find warm-up, partner work, sequences, inversions and Thai yoga massage.

acro yoga

Best for you if you:

  • Are looking for partner yoga
  • Are looking for fun in yoga classes
  • Want to take your balance and strength to a new level

15. Kripalu Yoga

Kripalu yoga one of those forms of yoga where there is a balanced focus on the mind, body, and spirit. The Kripalu yoga classes are very gentle and soothing. Anyone can attend the classes irrespective of their age or abilities.

Kripalu yoga helps you learn your own abilities and allows you to look inward. A typical Kripalu Yoga class will have pranayama, gentle stretches, asana practice and a deep relaxation.

Apart from the above-mentioned forms of Yoga, there are a few more which are designed for the specific segment of society, specific conditions and people like:

  • Pregnancy Yoga
  • Children Yoga
  • Yoga for Senior Citizen

Yoga has been in practice before there was any way of making a written account of it, passing from teachers to students, masters to disciples. Even though there are many types of Yoga, all work in one direction, to help you get a healthy, focused, strong and flexible mind, body and spirit.

I strongly suggest that you try Yoga; you would be pleasantly surprised with the results you witness in yourself.

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