There are so many types of Yoga you’re sure to find something that will fit your individual needs and style, but it can be a little confusing with so many to choose from. Here’s a run-down of the different types of yoga to help you sort them out and compare them all in one place…
Types Of Yoga Defined:
Ananda Yoga: These classes do a lot with proper body alignment and controlled breathing. The main focus is on gentle body postures that are designed to move your energy up through the body and to your brain in order to prepare for meditation.
Anusara Yoga: One of the newer types of yoga, Anusara has been around since 1997. It’s practice combine the idea of a playful spirit with strict principles of alignment. An excellent way to challenge yourself with some of the positions while learning to connect with the divine inside yourself and others.
Ashtanga / Astanga Yoga: This style is one of the more physically demanding types of yoga. It comes for the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and involves synchronized breathing with a continuous progression of postures intended to produce intense internal heat. The resulting sweat can be quite profuse and will help detoxify your muscles and internal organs. Though it’s not appropriate for beginners, Ashtanga is great for building a strong body with excellent circulation, stamina and flexibility and most of a a calm mind and spirit.
Bhakti Yoga: Is one of the more spiritual types of Yoga and is based on nine principals that basically help you relate to God. It is the basis of many other disciplines.
Bikram Yoga: Founded by Bikram Choudhury who was an Olympic gold medalist in weight lifting and a disciple of Bishnu Ghosh. This particular brand of Yoga is practiced in temperatures ranging from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a bit unusual as it’s the only Yoga that uses a heated environment, but it comes with some great benefits like increased flexibility and detoxing.
Hatha Yoga: Hatha is quite popular in the US as it’s a excellent way to exercise and relief stress. It’s great for beginners since it’s fairly easy to learn which contributes to it’s popularity. You approach the practice sessions by sitting quietly to calm your mood and then begin the begin the slow, control and graceful movements. Hatha combines Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (Laya Yoga) to for a comprehensive system that will help you on the path to achieve enlightenment.
Integral Yoga: From the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, Integral yoga (aka Purna yoga or supramental yoga) it seeks to achieve the transmutation of one’s elements into a harmonious state of higher divine consciousness and existence and refers to unifying all these part with the divine. It uses incorporates numerous elements to achieve this (postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting, prayer, and self-inquiry).
ISHTA (Integral Science of Hatha and Tantric Arts) Yoga: ISHTA was developed in South Africa by Mani Finger and his son Alan Finger who brought it to the US. This style values individual paths and combines aspects from several styles and focuses on opening energy channels throughout the body with postures, visualizations, and meditation.
Iyengar Yoga: Yoga master B.K.S Iyengar developed this style of Yoga over 60 years ago. It uses precise body alignment poses and coordinated breathing to promote strength, endurance, balance and flexibility. Iyengar is a very popular form of Yoga mainly because it introduces the use of cushions and blocks so those who are less flexibly or injured can enjoy it as well. It uses traditional postures (Asanas) from Hatha Yoga and adds in the props to enable everyone, even the elderly and disabled to participate. The strict attention to detail and slower pace make this a excellent for for injury recovery.
Jivamukti Yoga: Many modern styles of Yoga disregard or devalue a lot of the ethical and spiritual aspects so David Life and Sharon Gannon developed Jivamukti Yoga to refocus on these concepts. They built this system with emphasis on chanting, meditation, devotion to God, scritpural study, and non-violence along with music and listening. Life and Gannon started Jivamukti in 1986 and still run a successful studio in New York.
Kali Ray TriYoga: Developed in 1980 by Kali Ray this is one of the types of Yoga that combines breathing exercises (Pranayama) and meditation and focuses on a series or flowing almost dance-like movements. The main studio is run by Kali Ray in Santa Cruz – TriYoga.
Kripalu Yoga: Know as the Yoga of consciousness Kripalu focuses on holding poses in order to explore your emotions and release spiritual blockages. This is a very introspective style that doesn’t demand strict alignment and discourages goals. Kripalu has three stages each one progressing your further into your abilities and deeper into meditation.
Kriya Yoga: This style is intended to help your spiritual development much more rapidly. It’s techniques make use of a lot of breathing exercises (Pranayama) and progress you through many levels.
Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini uses meditation, breathing exercises and chanting to awaken the energies at the base of your spine and drawn them upward. As the basis for many forms, it is practiced in many styles, including but not exclusive to the physical and meditative techniques found in Raja yoga (Ashtanga), Shakti yoga, Bhakti yoga, Tantra, Kriya yoga, Laya-yoga and Nada yoga.
Laya Yoga: Laya builds on the aspects of Hatha Yoga to keep the body purified internally and externally. It is another one of the many types or Yoga meant to help further you along and attain union with the supreme consciousness.
Power Yoga: This is a style that combines good stretching with lots of strength training and meditative breathing. It is and American adaption of Ashtanga and pushes is a bit further. Many of the postures (Asanas) are similar to basic exercises like push-ups, but the effectiveness comes from the pace. There is no pausing between poses, but instead you get a great muscle building and aerobic workout by flowing each movement into the next.
Restorative Yoga: Is very much what it sounds like. You spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and yoga bolsters. This allow muscles to relax passively.
Sivananda Yoga: Popularized by Lilias, Sivananda is much like Integral Yoga. It is very traditional and incorporates the many of the same postures, breathing, dietary restrictions, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation.
Svaroopa Yoga: Excellent for beginners, this style of Yoga begins with chair poses and other postures that are comfortable and easy to learn while promoting healing.
Viniyoga Yoga: The most common place for Viniyoga is for injury recovery and post surgery therapy. It’s very gentle and tailors it’s healing to the individual needs of each person as they progress.
White Lotus Yoga: This is one of the many types of Yoga that are an adaption of Ashtanga. It was developed by Ganga White and combines meditation and breathing exercises.
Hopefully this list will hep you choose from all the types of Yoga that are available.
We tried to include all the different types of Yoga we could think of, but if we left one out that you would like to see included or that you’re curious about, just leave a comment and we’ll add it.
Randy and Amy