How many yoga styles do you know about? Let's compare the 20 best types of yoga in the world and their benefits that are perfect for beginners. Start here, especially if you are new to yoga.
There are many different types of yoga. Some might be challenging, others are more relaxing. It's very important to pick the right type of yoga for you, especially if you are new to yoga.
Try out as many yoga styles as possible and see for yourself what you prefer. Yoga is a journey and as you progress, your yoga practice will change too.
Yoga is a very fun and healthy way to get in shape, even lose weight. Here are the 20 best types of yoga you must know about.
1. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is a general style that usually refers to any style of yoga that practices postures. Many new modern types of yoga are derived from Hatha Yoga. Ashtanga, Power, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga can all be classified as Hatha Yoga.
Generally, a Hatha Yoga class teaches a classical approach to yoga. It combines different yoga poses (asanas) with deep breathing exercises (pranayama).
It is a very popular type of yoga that offers an introduction to yoga poses, breathing, relaxation techniques, and meditation.
Hatha Yoga includes many different types of yoga. It is a great yoga type for beginners. You can easily learn the basics of yoga during a Hatha Yoga class. It is considered a gentle and slow-paced kind of yoga.
This type of yoga is perfect for anyone starting yoga or who prefers a more relaxed style of yoga.
The exercises in Hatha Yoga are relatively not intense. You won't sweat a lot but you will hold the poses longer compared to more vigorous types of yoga such as Vinyasa Yoga. Hatha Yoga helps calm down and relieve stress very effectively.
2. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic and fast-paced practice of yoga. It also includes many different types of yoga. This vigorous style often refers to continuous and rapid yoga flows. You won't hold yoga poses much longer during a Vinyasa class.
Vinyasa Yoga teaches coordination between breath and movement. It is a good workout that focuses on fluid transitions between poses. Often taught to music, Vinyasa Yoga classes are lively and very fun.
Try out other slower types of yoga if you are new to yoga. It is best to master the different yoga poses before introducing intense movements between them.
Although you can find gentle beginner Vinyasa flows, focus on learning the basics beforehand.
Vinyasa Yoga is a very energetic type of yoga. It is a great way to challenge yourself and push your physical limits.
This will raise your heart rate, boosts your metabolism, and increase your strength, flexibility, and stamina. It also shares the mental and emotional benefits of other yoga styles.
3. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is a very challenging type of yoga. It teaches specific yoga sequences that scale with the progress made.
Also known as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, practitioners move rapidly and flow between poses. It focuses on the mastery of poses and advancement to more difficult levels.
There are six vigorous and established Ashtanga series. They are fast-paced and challenging with little room to breathe. Plus, the different asanas are practiced in a rigorous order.
In an Ashtanga Yoga class, you will practice one or more of the sequences nonstop. It is a powerful and structured way of doing yoga.
A typical Ashtanga Yoga practice moves quite quickly. It is a very physically demanding type of yoga that will make you sweat. I don't think beginners should start with an Ashtanga Yoga practice.
If you are up for the challenge, you can advance at your own pace in a Mysore style of yoga practice.
It is a vigorous type of yoga. The different poses can be quite difficult. Plus, the movements are predefined. It will warm up your body and make you sweat a lot.
It is a great way to get a good workout, increase blood flow, and burn calories for those that can bear the challenge.
4. Power Yoga
Power Yoga is a very modern and athletic type of yoga. Derived from Ashtanga Yoga, it provides an intense aerobic workout with a less rigorous structure.
This style of yoga offers a lot more freedom. It varies a lot from class to class. Plus, it aims at making Ashtanga Yoga more accessible.
Power yoga is one of the most popular between the different types of yoga. It focuses on building strength, increasing flexibility, and cardiovascular performance. There are little pauses in a Power Yoga practice. It is a style of Vinyasa Yoga flow that works the body more than the mind and spiritual self.
This type of yoga is more accessible than Ashtanga Yoga. If you seek a good aerobic workout combined with yoga flows, Power Yoga might be for you. It is still very physically demanding but brings amazing muscle-building results.
Power Yoga combines strength training with stretching and breathing exercises. It is a great way to build strong and long muscles. Plus, it maintains your heart in good shape. Big stronger muscles burn a lot more calories and help get rid of excess body fat effectively.
5. Hot Yoga
Hot Yoga is a general type of yoga practiced in hot and humid conditions. It regroups many other types of yoga that use heat to make you sweat and increase flexibility. You will be able to move into deeper poses compared to unheated classes.
Hot Yoga is usually practiced in a heated room to emulate the climate conditions of India. It is a very demanding exercise. You will be sweating a lot and have a hard time breathing.
This yoga style is very popular but not something that everyone enjoys. Plus, medical advice is recommended before starting. The heat and humidity can become unbearable sometimes.
This does not allow beginners to learn the basics of yoga in good conditions.
Hot Yoga has plenty of benefits for your health. Plus, it helps you lose weight effectively. The heat increases muscle performance, overall blood circulation, and detoxification.
It provides good exercise for your heart and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
6. Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is a type of yoga adapted from hot yoga. It teaches a specific set of 26 poses performed twice in a heated room. Two breathing exercises are also included in the 90 minutes sequence of every practice.
It is very popular and easy to find. The sequence is trademarked and very different from Ashtanga Yoga. It includes a high-intensity physical workout that improves your body performance.
This type of yoga presents a predictable sequence that appeals to many. It is very consistent and allows beginners to progress and perform better every time. It strengthens muscles, bones, organs, ligaments, and joints.
Bikram Yoga is another very intense type of yoga. It increases strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Moreover, it helps anyone looking to lose weight. Make sure to stay hydrated to promote detoxification and calorie burning. It is a very effective way to manage excess weight.
7. Forrest Yoga
Forrest Yoga is a modern type of yoga that is inspired from Hatha Yoga. Classified as Hot Yoga, it holds poses for longer in a heated room.
It is a very intense style of practice that focuses on core and lower body strength. It uses physical exercise to overcome challenges from day to day lives.
The poses and sequences are specifically designed to provide a changing experience. It helps combat recurring physical and emotional issues of modern society.
Forrest Yoga is accessible to everyone and not as challenging as other types of Hot Yoga.
It develops strength, flexibility but also focuses on treating mental and emotional injuries. It is a great way to find the courage to deal with fears and struggles.
The combination of intense physical exercise and emotional healing, Forrest Yoga helps you learn the new skills for a healthier lifestyle. It is a proven strengthening and relaxing experience that helps manage weight.
8. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is accessible to everybody. It is derived from Hatha Yoga and emphasizes alignment and precision when executing poses.
This is a great way to familiarize yourself with yoga techniques. It combines deep breathing exercises with poses that strengthen and lengthen the body.
This yoga style makes use of props to help practitioners do asanas correctly. It teaches movement and anatomy with help from belts, straps, blocks, and blankets.
Plus, it aims to unite the body, mind, and spirit by practicing postures with extreme precision.
This type of yoga helps beginners learn yoga safely and effectively. Each posture is held for quite some time for maximum benefit.
It can be practiced at any age and is especially effective for those with injuries. It provides very good detailed instructions when starting yoga.
Iyengar Yoga promotes strength, flexibility, and endurance. Moreover, it increases balance, stability, focus, and concentration.
It focuses on correcting misalignment and errors during practice. It is the perfect type of yoga to safely stay fit, healthy, and rejuvenated.
9. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga aims to increases mindfulness and self-awareness. It is a very challenging practice, both physically and mentally. It combines repetitive physical and breathing exercises.
Usually, in a Kundalini Yoga class, you will be moving into invigorating poses, plus chanting and meditating.
It is a style of yoga practice that is more than just physical work. Each exercise (kriya) is intended to release your spiritual energy at the base of the spine through the seven chakras.
This type of yoga is deeply spiritual and very different from others. It is vigorous and physically challenging too.
Kundalini Yoga is safe for beginners and encourages them to heal and get through challenges. You will learn different breathing techniques and develop your consciousness.
Kundalini Yoga awakens your internal energy with precise exercises. It provides a good workout and gets your heart pumping.
Moreover, this yoga style builds strength and transforms you from within. It raises your awareness and has positive effects on your lifestyle.
10. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga focuses on finding a balance between the body and the mind. Yoga poses are held for five to twenty minutes at a time.
This is a meditative practice that stretches muscles, joints, and nerves deeply. It is a quiet type of yoga meant to complement Yang Yoga (any other strength building practice).
This union of passive and active yoga styles is also known as Taoist Yoga. Yin Yoga is a great way to relax with patience and discipline.
Yin Yoga is quite challenging because the poses are held for a long time. It increases circulation and flexibility.
This kind of practice is very good to relax and calm down. It is best done in combination with more vigorous different types of yoga.
This yoga style is great for people that need to stretch. Lengthening muscles and connecting tissues is as important as building strength. It invites the body and mind to quiet down It also relieves stress and anxiety.
Moreover, it raises awareness, emotional well being, and prevents poor diet choices.
11. Restorative Yoga
Restorative Yoga is a slow-paced type of yoga. It focuses on deep relaxation and uses a variety of props such as pillows, blocks, and blankets.
This yoga style is great if you suffer from insomnia, chronic pain, or anxiety. The different poses are generally very gentle and simple.
The practitioners experience the benefits of each posture without effort. They are held for long periods to provide deeper relaxation. It focuses on finding calm more than flexibility, compared to Yin Yoga.
Everyone can practice Restorative Yoga. The poses are held for many minutes but require no effort.
It is a gentle type of yoga that helps relax, calm down, get rid of stress and anxiety. You might find it boring until you see its many benefits.
Restorative Yoga is known to treat blood pressure disorders. Plus, it is a great way to reduce any tension in the body.
This gentle yoga style combats fatigue, improves digestion, and allows inner calm. Stress is a major factor in weight gain and Restorative Yoga is a very healthy solution.
12. Kripalu Yoga
Kripalu Yoga uses postures, breathing, and meditation to elevate the mind and find spiritual awareness. This can be challenging as it transforms you from within. This type of yoga is less physical but more emotional and spiritual.
It is practiced in three parts. It emphasizes learning the poses first and self-discovery. The second part trains you to hold the asanas longer to increase focus and concentration.
Lastly, meditation improves your well being and allows healing.
This yoga style is accessible to everybody. It is not a goal-oriented practice.
Plus, students are encouraged to learn at their own pace. It focuses on listening to your own body and figuring out what works best for you.
Kripalu Yoga promotes consciousness and self-exploration. It can be challenging at times but includes a necessary process that leads to fulfillment and healing.
13. Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti Yoga is a new modern way of practicing yoga flow. It is similar to Vinyasa Yoga but incorporates chanting and meditation. It focuses on the physical, spiritual, and ethical aspects of yoga.
This is a contemporary type of yoga that aims to apply yogic principles to modern lifestyles.
The practice is vigorous and challenging. Plus, it encourages yogis to apply the philosophy to their lifestyle.
Chanting and scriptural studies also play an important role in Jivamukti Yoga. It promotes veganism, non-violence, gratitude, and devotion.
This style of yoga practice is always changing. If you are looking for spiritual elements and physical exercises, this might be the perfect type of yoga for you. It offers philosophical teachings and relaxation.
Jivamukti Yoga is a life-changing experience. It is very beneficial if you are looking to lose weight.
It promotes healthy living and combines physical with spiritual benefits. You will learn to make better choices for yourself and everyone around you.
14. Anusara Yoga
Anusara Yoga is fairly new to the different types of yoga. Created in 1997, it is a modern interpretation of Hatha Yoga.
It teaches precision principles like Iyengar Yoga but with playfulness. It is an accepting yoga style that encourages students to do the best they can.
The classes are still structured for the body and the mind. They include three parts, attitude, alignment, and action. The instructions are very precise and focus on connecting the physical to the spiritual body.
Anusara Yoga is a great type of yoga for beginners. It keeps classes fun and accessible while being rigorous and well structured. You will learn the basics asanas as well as the yogic philosophy.
There are many benefits of Anusara Yoga. It gets your body moving in a safe and playful environment.
It offers a wonderful experience that anyone can enjoy in inspiring ways. When practiced regularly, this activity promotes health and well being.
15. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda Yoga is a traditional type of yoga. It combines poses, breathing exercises, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. This yoga style teaches how to use positive thinking and proper diet to form a healthy lifestyle.
The practice focuses on 12 basic asanas, corpse pose (savasana), and sun salutations (Surya Namaskar). It is designed to increase strength, flexibility, and vitality of the body. It is also a healthy way to lower the risk of diseases.
This is a gentle type of yoga. Any beginner will feel at ease with Sivananda Yoga. It teaches the basics of the yogic lifestyle while promoting mental and physical well-being.
Sivananda Yoga helps you stay healthy and live a happy life. It uses physical exercises with a meditative practice to keep the body and the mind in good shape. It has positive effects on health and body weight.
Viniyoga is a style of Hatha Yoga. It focuses on personalizing the practice of yoga. It includes many traditional teachings of yoga such as asanas, pranayama, dhyana, bandhas. This is a great type of yoga to aid recovery.
Through Viniyoga, practitioners are encouraged to discover themselves. It is a gentle practice that heals, promoting change and growth.
Viniyoga favors physical, emotional, and spiritual growth. It adapts to the potential, goals, and interests of each student.
If you are just starting yoga, Viniyoga is a good choice to learn the principles of yoga.
Viniyoga will help you grow and adopt healthy habits to better your lifestyle.
17. Ananda Yoga
Ananda Yoga is a very gentle type of yoga. It is designed to prepare for meditation and higher spiritual possibilities.
It focuses on the internal benefits of a yoga practice instead of the physical aspects. It also includes breathing exercises and proper body placement.
Practice Ananda Yoga to reach a higher state of spiritual awareness. It will fill you up with positive energy.
If you are more into the spiritual aspects of yoga, Ananda Yoga might be a great practice for you. It is beginner-friendly and not very intense.
Ananda Yoga is a very uplifting style of yoga. It helps you view life from a positive angle. This aims to improve your energy, well being and overall health with internal means.
18. Dharma Yoga
Dharma Yoga uses many traditional teachings to improve awareness, mindfulness, and relaxation of practitioners. It focuses on obtaining good health and clearing your mind to bring students further on their journey to self-discovery.
This yoga practice is physically and mentally challenging. It develops strength, stamina, and flexibility.
The practice includes a series of flowing sequences that improve balance and stability. This will benefit your overall body and mind health.
Dharma Yoga includes many series that are accessible to practitioners of all levels. Choose a class that includes beginner-level poses and not advanced level exercises only.
Dharma Yoga is great to cultivate a strong body with a strong mind. Practiced regularly, it will improve your overall health and help you reach your body goals effectively.
19. Acro Yoga
Acro Yoga is a purely physical practice. It combines acrobatics with yoga poses.
It includes different styles of hybrid yoga mixing dance, calisthenics, and massages. It is a vigorous type of yoga that can lead to injuries if practiced incorrectly.
Acro Yoga focuses on improving strength, balance, and concentration. It combines the wisdom of yoga with the dynamic power of acrobatics to build trust, kindness, passion, and gratitude.
This is not a beginner-friendly yoga practice. It requires a lot of discipline, strength, and self-awareness to perform. It is best to learn other yoga styles before practicing Acro Yoga.
Acro Yoga is a challenging physical practice. It increases strength and flexibility. It is awesome to burn calories and excess body fat. But it requires a lot of preparation and technique to be successful.
20. Aerial Yoga
Aerial Yoga is also known as Anti-gravity Yoga. It combines traditional yoga poses, dance, and pilates using a hammock.
Aerial Yoga increases the strength and flexibility of the spine and legs. It makes inversions easier to practice and improves blood circulation.
Aerial Yoga gives practitioners freedom and energy. Plus, it is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Many people report restorative and calming effects when practicing Aerial Yoga regularly.
This is a very fun way to practice yoga. It combines acrobatics with traditional yoga postures. Try it out if you want to keep your yoga practice fresh and ever-changing.
Aerial Yoga helps get rid of stress and any tension in the body. It improves overall circulation and is beneficial for health and against excess weight.
To wrap it up
There are plenty of different types of yoga. Some are more beginner-friendly than others. But all yoga styles provide a lot of benefits for your health and well-being.
Practice any type of yoga regularly to get in shape, and even lose weight. Each yoga style focuses on different aspects of yoga, physical, mental, or/and spiritual.
If you want to reach your body goals, it's important to pick a physical activity that you can enjoy regularly. Make sure to try most of the yoga styles listed here and find out what type of yoga suits you best.
Let me know in the comments below which one you prefer! I'd love to hear your story.
About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.