There are several unique styles of yoga that exist and they can be quite different from each other. While starting out, it might seem like “yoga” is one practice or style, but students quickly discover that there are numerous forms of this practice to explore. While each style has similarities in the essence and philosophy of the yoga, they can differ greatly in their approach. So what is the difference between the styles of yoga?
This video makes it easy to understand the differences between 9 of the most common styles of yoga! You’ll quickly and easily learn what differentiates these 9 common styles of yoga, in easy to understand terms, whether you’re an experienced yogi, or someone who’s never stepped on a yoga mat (but is hopefully curious to try)! Enjoy this video, and let it help you decide which style is ideal for you to try.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced practitioner, you’ve probably noticed that there are a plethora of different styles of yoga.
1. Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa links movement with breath otherwise known as flow yoga. You will feel the corresponding movement with each inhale and exhale. And while you may have longer hold throughout the practice, you will definitely experience the dynamic flow that exists within a Vinyasa class.
2. Power yoga
Power yoga is a general term to describe a vigorous and fitness based approach to Vinyasa style yoga. Similar to Vinyasa there will be a connection between breath and movement, but power yoga is unique in the intensity of the classes. More dynamic movement and more strength and cardio training through the yoga movements. Power yoga classes can be more challenging than other styles of yoga.
3. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is a general category of yoga to which we practice Asana (or the postures) and Pranayama (or meditation). So, expect traditional poses held for several breaths.
Ashtanga means eight limbs or branches, of which, asana our physical yoga posture, is merely one branch. Postures are consistent as Ashtanga is a set series of poses that are to be done repeatedly. While classes are different each time in Vinyasa and Hatha, the Ashtanga classes are at the series of different postures to be done in specific order.
5. Zen Yoga
Yen yoga is a slow paced style of yoga postures (or asanas) that are meant to be held for long periods of time. For beginners, it may range from 45 seconds to two minutes. More advanced practitioners may stay in one asana for five minutes or more. Yen yoga is unique in that it’s the only style where students are meant to disengage their muscles. Releasing the muscles in these longer held poses benefits the body in a different way than other styles of yoga.
6. Forrest yoga
Forrest yoga is a modern form of yoga that is based on and named for Anna Forrest, who’s a American yogini. It is a challenging style known for its long holding of positions, emphasis of abdominal core work and longer standing series. Forrest Yoga also incorporates some Native American traditions, breathwork and shamanic principles.
7. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, is a style of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. This style is meant to be practiced in a heated environment at one hundred and two to one hundred and five degrees Fahrenheit, with 45 to 60 percent humidity. This method was developed by Bikram Chowdhury in the 1970s and become popular internationally.
8. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is a form of yoga that seeks to achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation with the aid of props. If you take a restorative class, you may hardly move at all doing just a few postures in the course of an hour.
9. Iyengar Yoga
Iyenar Yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on detail, precision and alignment in the performance of the postures and breath control. Expect the use of props such as belts, blocks and blankets as aides to performing asanas in an Iyengar class, as well as very detailed alignment instruction.
We hope you have a greater understanding of what differentiates these unique styles of yoga.