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Types of Yoga Practice: Which is Right for You?

Types of Yoga PracticeYoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga originated, and refers to the ‘union’ between mind, body and spirit. Yoga practice involves physical postures or poses that involves stretching and creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. Each pose has specific physical benefits and can be done quickly in succession, heating up the body (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and allow concentration on the alignment of the pose. Although the approach to each pose can vary depending on the type of Yoga practiced, the poses remain the same.

Benefits of Yoga

The benefits of yoga start with general well-being. It takes a broad holistic approach that teaches people a new lifestyle, way of thinking and way of being in the world. Some physical benefits to note include:

Types of Yoga

Depending on your personality and what you want to get out of your Yoga Practice, there are a variety of types of Yoga you can practice.

Type of Yoga Description Who it is Good For
Anusara A heart-opening form of yoga focused on alignment and creating a joyful practice. Balances strength building with flexibility while progressively working the body open. Process Princesses: Those looking to build strength and flexibility in a systematic and enjoyable way
Ashtanga A fast-paced, intense style of flow yoga. A series of poses is performed connected by constant movement. Athletic Type As: Athletes or those who are looking to increase overall fitness, strength and agility with one practice
(Hot Yoga)
A hot yoga practice performed in front of mirrors. Focuses on alignment and building strength through the repetition of 26 postures. The room is kept between 95 – 105 degrees.
  • Competitive Cuties:Those who are competitive athletes or high energy individuals
  • Routine Lovers: As a result of the high number of repetitions, Bikram is good for those who prefer routines
Forrest Focused on strengthing the core muscles and relieving tension in the neck and shoulders, Forrest yoga is based on cultivating compassion and self-acceptance. Tension Release: Those who suffer from a stiff back, mild back pain, or neck and shoulder tension
Iyengar An alignment focused practice that utilizes yoga props including blocks, straps, and blankets. Long holds and deep breathing are emphasized.
  • Yoga Beginners:Those who want to learn the fundamentals of yoga alignment
  • Relaxation Seekers: Those seeking relaxation techniques
Jivamukti A spiritual and inspiring practice consisting of intense flowing postures, inspirational music, meditation and chants. Holistic Hotties: Those looking to integrate their physical, emotional, and spiritual practices
Kripalu A moderate style of yoga focused on systematically loosening the joints and stretching the muscles. Classes incorporate meditation, breathing, posture flows and relaxation. Technique Lovers: Those who want to learn yoga alignment, relaxation techniques, and limited breathwork
Kundalini A breath-centered practice with quick repetitive movements. Focused on freeing the energy in the lower body and allowing it to flow through the body.
  • Holistic Seekers:Those looking to increase their energy while bringing emotions to the surface
  • Breath Conscious: Those who want to perform intense breathwork
Power A fast-flowing yoga practice typically done in a hot studio. Provides a cardiovascular workout in addition to full-body stretching.
  • Cardio Queens:Those looking for a cardiovascular component in their yoga class
  • Well-rounded Fitness Fans: Those who want to add yoga to a regular fitness routine
Vinyasa Also called “flow yoga,” postures are linked through strong movement. Builds deep strength and flexibility through a combination of long holds and flow sequences. Gymnastic Hopefuls: Those looking to build deep strength and flexibility, and who enjoy movement
Yin Focused on stretching the body’s connective tissue through very long holds. Causes surrender and deep relaxation throughout the body. A good complement to more active forms of yoga.
  • Yoga Afficionados:Practitioners of other active forms of yoga
  • Stiff and Achey Relief: Those suffering from muscle stiffness or achey joints
  • Relaxation Seekers: Those seeking deep relaxation
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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness Tagged with: , ,
  • Leesa

    so, which is hatha yoga?

    • Brett Blumenthal

      What most people refer to as simply “yoga” is actually Hatha Yoga. This particular system of yoga is the most popular one, and it is from which several other Styles of Yoga originated including Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga. The word “hatha” comes from the Sanskrit terms “ha” meaning “sun” and “tha” meaning “moon”. Thus, Hatha Yoga is known as the branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites referring to the positive (sun) and negative (moon) currents in the system. It concentrates on the third (Asana) and fourth (Pranayama) steps in the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

      • Leesa

        Thank you. I am a beginner and just started private lessons. The instructor calls what we do, hatha yoga but it doesn’t fit into any of the categories you’ve listed.

        On another note, thank you for your book. I am on a new path to wellness and it is one of my new tools.

    • Brett Blumenthal

      I’m so glad to hear you like the book! It makes me happy to know it is helping others. Best of luck!

  • Brooke

    Just FYI, I’ve been doing Bikram for about a month now, and the room is heated to 105 degrees, not 95-100. It may be different for the generic ‘hot’ yoga classes, but true Bikram is 105 degrees and 40% humidity for 90 full minutes.
    It’s definitely not for everyone, but I really like Bikram. I’ve never done any other kind of yoga, but I think I picked the right one for me. The heat forces me to concentrate and clear out my mind (something that’s normally very difficult for my racing brain to do) and I like that it’s the same 26 poses and you just continually work on making them better and pushing a little harder each time.

    • brettblumenthal

      Thanks Brooke! I’ve changed it to reflect that in the range. I’ve been to Hot Yoga and it isn’t that hot…so, it is good to make others aware of the possibilities!

  • Gita123

    There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…

    • brettblumenthal

      Thanks for sharing! I’m sure there’s quite a lot of different practices!