If we were to list all the different types of yoga, it most likely wouldn’t fit all into one blog post! Instead, we’ve decided to list the most popular types of yoga that can confuse beginners when choosing a class. The list of different types of yoga might be endless but luckily, so are the choices of classes around London. Here are all the different types of the most popular yoga styles to help you choose which one to go for.
All the different types of yoga and their benefits
Hatha is the most all-encompassing yoga of them all. It combines Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar and in simple terms, means “balanced yoga.” It is also a preparation for meditation as the practice will also calm your mind, body and soul.
Aerial Flow Yoga is a challenging yet playful way of practicing yoga. This class is for more intermediate yogis as the body is supported by silk slings that hang from the ceiling. Using your own weight and gravity, you extend into the postures. When done correctly, it’s a great way to lengthen the spine and reduce compression on each vertebrae which will improve your body’s nerve functions.
Iyengar yoga is a variation of Hatha Yoga but has a large focus on the emphasis of your body’s alignment. You will be taking part in precise control of breath which will help to strengthen the body from within through the asanas (different postures.)
If there were to be a classic style of yoga as we know it in the West, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga would be it. Ashtanga translates as eight limbs or branches; physical yoga postures are just one of those branches with breathing being another. Vinyasa is a description of the postures which combine many elements of other yoga styles. It involves breathing into each movement and the flow of pose to post coordination.
This way of doing hot yoga was innovated by Bikram Choudhury whose style of yoga is designed to take place in a hot room. There are 26 postures to each class that are set to make you sweat and cleanse you from within. Bikram yoga is often interchangeably with hot yoga.
If you’re expecting and experiencing pain or discomfort in the body or the mind, prenatal yoga will really help. It uses breathing techniques that manage shortness of breath during that many mothers-to-be experience during pregnancy. It is also designed to help you practice breathing through contractions during labour. Your body will be gently stretched out through their full range of motions to keep you supple during this physically challenging time.
Jivamukti is a more vigorous style of Hatha and vinyasa yoga which gets your heart rate up while you flow into the postures. It’s a physical as well as spiritual practice and focuses on 5 central tenets: scripture, devotion nonviolence, music and meditation.
Anusara yoga basically a modernised version of Hatha yoga and means “flowing with grace.” The whole idea is to follow your heart and focus a lot on the alignment of the body. It’s an increasingly popular style of yoga and each class starts with a devotion.
Paired with meditation, Yin yoga is a slow version of yoga with less asanas (postures) that are held for a long period of time. It aids the meditating process and, over time, is physically challenging. Advanced Yin yogis stay in a posture for up to 5 minutes each whereas beginners stay there for 45 seconds or a minute.
So what yoga type is best for you?
Well only you can tell but working your way down this list and trying all the ones that sounds interesting to you would be a great starting point. Why don’t you let us know you’re favourite in the comments below?