Just started to discover the wide world of yoga? Or do you have some experience, but the urge to broaden your horizon? Here’s a list of a few yoga styles and the differences between them to give you an idea what’s out there.
Hatha yoga – this is the classical yoga practice as developed in ancient India. A hatha class usually includes breathing exercises and meditation along with physical practice. The physical practice is characterized by longer holds of the asanas (poses), and relaxations in between.
Ashtanga yoga – a very intensive practice in a fixed sequence of poses, using strong breath and continuous locks of the bandhas (e.g. engaging the abdominal muscles).
Vinyasa yoga – similar to ashtanga, vinyasa can be very intense as you are moving in a continuous flow using a strong breath. The difference is that vinyasa classes are characterized by variation in the sequence.
Yin yoga – a very gentle style using relaxation and very long holds to make the fascia around the musles more flexible.
Iyengar yoga – like all styles, Iyengar yoga has its roots in hatha yoga, but this style is strongly focused on the right alignment of the asanas.
Bikram yoga – also called hot yoga, this is an intense practice of a fixed sequence performed in high temperature.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of the most common yoga styles that many studios offer. Many other styles are variations of those – as all yoga teachers develop their own style, new forms of yoga are created all the time. To choose a style that suits you best, try different classes with different teachers. Each class, even in the same style, will be different!