In this article, we will look at a list of the different types of yoga and their benefits to help you decide on the best style of yoga for you.
Yoga is an ancient practice, dating back at least 5,000 years. Introduced to America in the late 1800s by Swami Vivekananda, yoga’s popularity started to grow in the 1960s and 1970s.
This was largely thanks to American Hatha and Raja Yoga teacher and author Richard Hittleman who fronted Yoga for Health, one of the first yoga television series.
In the intervening years, many new types of yoga have been developed. Most of these consist of older types of yoga blended in a way that provides increased benefits.
The best style of yoga for you will depend on what you want to get from it. When performed regularly, any type will improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. And all yoga styles release tension, quieten the mind, and promote relaxation.
Following is a list of the different types of yoga and their benefits.
The Different Types of Yoga and Their Benefits
If you are looking for a yoga practice to help you ease stress, detoxify, and become more centered, one of the following three styles should suit you well:
As its name implies, Restorative Yoga helps to restore the mind as well as the body. Promoting deep relaxation, it also balances the nervous system and improves flexibility. It involves doing six slow poses, which are held for an extended period, sometimes using props.
Vini means adaptive, and it explains this yoga style well. Able to be customized to the individual’s needs and goals, it is ideal for people with physical limitations and those rehabilitating from an injury.
Ananda yoga is based around gentle poses that move energy and prepare the mind and body for a calm state and meditation.
If you’re looking for a challenging style of yoga that builds strength as it improves your fitness, the following three types fit the bill:
Ashtanga (or Astanga)
This traditional, quick-paced yoga will help you build strength as it improves your flexibility and endurance. The poses are executed in the same sequence each time, moving from one to the next without a break.
Each pose is held for five breaths and includes a half sun salutation. This fast pace makes it more physically demanding than some other yoga styles.
Power Yoga or Power Vinyasa
Power yoga is one of the most physically challenging yoga styles. When practiced as hot yoga, you will be working in a studio heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. Designed to improve strength and flexibility, it is useful for detoxing, and its devotees say it can aid weight loss.
Bikram Yoga is a comprehensive workout that also falls in the hot yoga category. It involves doing 26 postures, including two breathing exercises that improve endurance, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health.
If you’re seeking a style of yoga that offers mental and physical benefits, the following two styles are worth considering:
Suitable for both beginners and advanced level practitioners, Iyengar is one of the most popular yoga styles. The poses are active, and they often include the use of props.
Hatha is the foundation of most yoga styles. Suitable for people of any fitness level, traditional Hatha focuses on active postures that increase strength, flexibility, and endurance. Sloe-paced and gentle, it also involves restorative and calming postures. While reasonably challenging, it is easy to learn.
The Different Types of Yoga and Their Benefits Summary
This list of the different types of yoga and their benefits provides a brief overview of some of the most popular yoga styles. Other options include prenatal yoga for women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. There’s yoga for people wishing to tap into their creative side, yoga for those who are competitive, and the list goes on.
If you are new to yoga, I recommend starting with a basic form that meets your needs now. When you have more experience, you can experiment with other styles.