A Beginner’s Guide To The Different Types Of Yoga

Different Types Of Yoga
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It’s fair to say that to the uninitiated, all yoga classes look the same. The exception is Bikram, because even a yoga novice will notice the temperature being ramped up to 40°C.

However, the differences between distinct practices shouldn’t be underestimated, and that’s the major reason you should try a few different types when you first get into the practice. You might find one type of yoga off-putting for whatever reason but love another, and they all provide benefits to the body and mind when practised regularly.

To help you get a quick overview, here’s Diana Wright, Beachbody master trainer, with a rundown of seven common yoga types.

Hatha yoga

The Sanskrit term “Hatha” literally means “sun and moon”, signifying balance. Hatha is an umbrella term covering the more physical forms of yoga, but true Hatha is a softer, gentler style of yoga linking body and breath.

Ashtanga yoga

In Sanskrit, Ashtanga refers to the “eight limb path”. Ashtanga yoga is an advanced form of Hatha yoga and it is highly dynamic, almost gymnastic in nature, so it is physically demanding in terms of both strength and flexibility.

Bikram yoga

Commonly referred to as “hot yoga”, Bikram is named after its controversial creator Bikram Choudhury. It is highly regimented, always using the same poses and teachers learn a standardized script. Typically, it is performed in studios at 40°C and high humidity, so make sure you are hydrated.

Iyengar yoga

Iyengar is named after its founder BKS Iyengar and focuses on the accuracy of poses. It’s slower than other types of yoga: you hold poses for longer periods aiming for quality in each pose, and use props and straps to modify poses to maintain good form.

Kundalini yoga

Kundalini refers to the latent energy coiled around the base of the spine. Expect breathing exercises, physical postures, chanting and meditation to unlock this energy.

Vinyasa yoga

Meaning “to place in a special way”, Vinyasa yoga is all about flowing movements bringing body and breath together. The continuous movement is linked to the concept of impermanence and focused on process rather than the outcome. This can be more gentle or challenging depending on the instructor.

Yin yoga

Yin yoga originated in China and represents the female side of the universe. This type of yoga is more passive in nature, with participants relaxing in poses for sometimes minutes at a time, and has a more meditative focus..

Beachbody master trainer Diana Wright is supporting the launch of the Beachbody SS19 collection, available to buy on Amazon

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.