There is nothing like yoga for creating positivity in your life.
Trouble is, how do you know which type of yoga is best for you?
There are many different types of yoga. And each of them is right for a specific type of person.
In this guide you will discover the best type of yoga for you as an individual.
Here’s why that’s important.
Why you need to find the right type of yoga for yourself as an individual
In my article “Pick Your Personality. See The Best Meditation For You” I revealed how finding the right kind of meditation will change your life.
Yoga is the same. It’s a life-changer. But you need to know which type of yoga will compliment your lifestyle and boost your health (mentally and physically) based on your own individual needs.
We are all beautiful, unique people. And as unique people we have different needs when it comes to yoga.
I’ve been studying yoga for ten years. And in writing this article I have consulted many yoga teachers and have read very many research papers. Why? In order in to help you get started on a yoga practice that will truly revolutionise your life.
Doing the wrong type of yoga will not help you.
Doing Kundalini when you should be doing Yin is a recipe for failure.
You’ve got to know which practice matches your individual character.
How to use this guide:
1) Save this guide somewhere because you will be coming back to it (you can save it on your Facebook wall, on Pinterest, bookmark it… whatever you like just keep it accessible because you will refer to it again later).
2) Read about each of the different types of yoga
3) Pick the best one based on your individual needs
4) Read the accompanying advice.
5) Give your chosen type of yoga a try.
6) If it doesn’t work, come back and try another type of yoga (this is why you need to save this article somewhere, like on your Facebook wall / Pinterest / print it out and stick it on your fridge…
All right, yogis, let’s get started.
13 Different Types Of Yoga. Choose Your Favorite
- Check out our list of 16 crazy alternative forms of yoga for some less traditional, more fun ways to do yoga.
Choose your favorite from this list. Read the accompanying guide. Then try out your chosen yoga-style.
Anusara yoga is a modernised version of Hatha Yoga that was created by John Friend in 1997. The name Anusura can be translated to “flowing with grace” or “following your heart”.
One of the main benefits of Anusara yoga is that is creates a deep sense of bliss and joy in daily life. Meanwhile, the body is made stronger and circulation is boosted.
Asana in Anusara are based on the principles of alignment. These asana help to bring oneness to the mind, body and spirit.
Anusara also focuses on flow by making us morer aware of vinyasa (coordination of breath with body).
Is Anusara Yoga Right For You?
Anusara is a good middle-of-the-road yoga practice. It is good exercise without being too taxing. And it strengthens the body while also improving flexibility.
One of the best benefits of Anusara is that it creates positive feelings.
For these reasons, Anusara is perfect for people who are looking for a moderately challenging yoga practice that leaves you feeling truly positive.
Benefits of Anusara Yoga:
- Gentle exercise for people of various fitness levels
- Good for strength and flexibility
- Create joy and positivity
An ancient style of yoga, Ashtanga was brought to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 1970s. What distinguished Ashtanga from many other forms of yoga is that the exact same poses (asana) are practiced in the exact same order. This is why Ashtanga is one of the more serious forms of yoga. For instance, if we look at Ashtanga VS hatha, Ashtanga is much more serious and not as easy for beginners. Then again, looking at Ashtanga VS Bikram, Ashtanga is not so dangerous Therefore, it is a good middle-of-the-road choice for people looking for a serious but safe form of yoga.
Ashtanga refers to the “Eight limbs of yoga”. Physical movements are only one of those eight branches. Pranayama (breath) is another.
The Eight limbs of yoga are:
- Yama, which relates to ethics.
- Niyama, which is about self discipline.
- Asana (poses)
- Pranayama (breathing)
- Pratyahara, which means to gain control over external influences
- Dharana (focus meditation)
- Dhyana (absorption meditation)
- Samadhi (oneness in meditation)
Is Ashtanga Yoga Right For You?
Some people practice Ashtanga yoga as purely a physical exercise. It is quite a vigorous exercise which will build up a sweat and help with overall fitness. Ashtanga is best, however, when we practice all Eight limbs. For this reason, Ashtanga is great for people who are looking for a complete lifestyle involving ethics, meditation, and of course, exercise.
Benefits of Ashtanga:
- Good for body and mind
- Beneficial overall lifestyle
- Excellent exercise
- Also includes meditation
Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choundry with the express purpose of making people sweat a lot.
In Bikram yoga, we practice in a heated room so that the body temperature rises. The heat helps relax the muscles so they become more flexible. In this heated room we work through 26 different yoga asana (poses). Similar to Ashtanga, there is a specific sequence of moves we go through when doing Bikram yoga.
It is definitely worth noting that several studies have stated that Bikram yoga is dangerous because of the heat.
So where does Bikram stand? If we look at Bikram VS Ashtanga, Bikram is the more dangerous form. And VS Hatha, it is not as good for beginners.
Is Bikram Yoga Right For You?
For starters, if you are not good in the heat (like me) you absolutely should not do Bikram yoga as it is potentially fatal. Other people will find Bikram yoga great exercise for stripping the pounds and purifying the body.
Just be aware of the dangers of Bikram.
Benefits of Bikram yoga:
- Makes you sweat (a lot)
- Good for weight loss
- Heat improves flexibility
- Currently very popular
Hatha yoga is a physical type of yoga that also involves mind training. The mind training is similar to Ashtanga in that it teaches us to attain freedom from external stimuli.
One of the oldest forms of yoga, Hatha stems from the Nath sub-tradition of Hinduism. It was intentionally created as a type of yoga that next to anyone could practice, so it is ideal for people of various fitness levels. Because of this it is the best type of yoga to do at work because anyone can join in.
As well as physical exercises, Hatha Yoga also incorporates breathing techniques, diet and other lifestyle considerations. The overall purpose of Hath is to help with a variety of problems, including aging and spiritual liberation. The physical exercises are good for flexibility, strength and concentration.
Today, Hatha yoga is also used as a broader term that refers to any style of yoga that includes asanas.
A lot of people look at Hatha VS Vinyasa, but this is not a good idea. Writing for SeatleYogaNews, Arundhati Baitmangalkar explains that these two styles are basically different sides of the same coin. So if you are interested in learning Hatha Yoga, you would do well to learn Vinyasa at the same time.
Is Hatha Yoga Right For You?
There are two key reasons why hatha yoga could be the best meditation for you. Firstly, it is a relatively simple physical exercise that was intentionally created to be ideal for all people. So anyone can do it regardless of fitness level. It also incorporates lifestyle choices outside of just exercise.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga:
- Excellent for people of various fitness levels
- Offers a lifestyle solution as well as exercise
- Incorporates mind training
Iyengar was devised by B.K.S Iyengar in the 1970s. It is a very precise form of yoga in which the exact alignment of the body is of utmost importance. To help practitioners get into the right pose props are used, including blankets, straps, chairs and blocks. Both the upside and downside of this is in the seriousness. Iyengar is not the most fun yoga. However, it is very good training for body and mind.
Is Iyengar Yoga Right For You?
Because Iyengar is slow and very methodical it is the best type of yoga for people recovering from injury. It is also an excellent way of learning to hold the body is more beneficial ways (which is very beneficial for overall health).
Benefits of Iyengar:
- The best yoga for recovering from injury
- Serious training for body and mind
One of the lesser known styles of yoga, Jivamukti yoga was devised by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984. It is an ethical, physical, spiritual yoga that advocates five tenets:
- Shastra (scripture)
- Bhakti (devotion)
- Ashimsa (nonvivolence, non-harming)
- Nada (music)
- Dhyana (meditation)
Is Jivamukti Yoga Right For You?
Jivamukti is one of the most complete forms of yoga. It incorporates physical exercise (which is similar to Hatha and Vinyasa) with spirituality and lifestyle. Therefore, it is ideal for people looking for a complete lifestyle solution. People looking for a modern spirituality will also find Jivamukti yoga interesting.
Benefits of Jivamukti Yoga
- Excellent for getting into spirituality
- Offers a healthy lifestyle
- Good all-around physical exercise
Amrit Desai devised Kripalu yoga in the 1980s. The philosophy of Kripalu yoga is apparent in the name: Kripalu means “compassion”? Compassion for what? For the body.
Kripalu is like other forms of yoga but with a twist. It teaches that the body is the best teacher, and that we must accept the body as it is in order to grow.
Given that Kripalu is based no self compassion, it’s not surprising that this is a gentle form of yoga that is slow. It also uses meditation to take compassion even further.
Is Kripalu Yoga Right For You?
Because Kripalul yoga is soft and slow it is ideal for the elderly and for people who are out of shape. The gentleness of the practice extends to the mind too. It will teach you to be more compassionate to yourself (something many people could benefit from).
Benefits of Kripalu Yoga
- Kripalu yoga helps us develop self compassion.
- Ideal for the elderly or people who are out of shape
- Psychologically beneficial for all.
Kundalini yoga is a very spiritual type of yoga that has become popular over the past few years. Also known as Laya yoga, Kundalini is based on Shaktism and on the Tantra schools of Hinduism. The focus in Kundalini is on awakening the kundalini that is dormant at the based of the spine. This is done through a combination of yoga, meditation, mantra chanting, pranayama and yoga asana.
Is Kundalini Yoga Right For You?
Kundalini is an advanced type of yoga not suitable for beginners. There have also been numerous scientific studies that show that kundalini yoga is potentially dangerous. So it is best to learn properly from a certified instructor. That said, Kundalini is spiritually rewarding and will completely renovate your life.
Benefits of kundalini:
- Spiritually awaken
- Learn meditation
- Awaken Kundalini energy
Sivanda Yoga is based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. Sivananda is an unofficial form of Hatha Yoga. However, if we look at Sivananda vs Hatha, Sivananada has more focus on breath and is arguably more spiritual.
The purpose of Sivananda Yoga is to increase health and to reduce the chance of disease through natural cultivation of the body.
As well as physical exercise, Sivananda includes philosophies that are based on asanas, pranayama, diet (vegetarian), positive thinking, and meditation.
Is Sivananda Yoga Right For You?
Proper Sivananda yoga is a deeply spiritual practice that incorporates belief and should be taken seriously. It is hugely beneficial for overall health of both the body and mind, and the positive thinking aspect also introduces a level of self-growth that many will enjoy. For that reason, when we compare this to other forms (like Sivananda Vs Hatha or Vs Ashtanga, for instance), Sivananda is arguably a deeper form that is of more benefit for the mind.
Benefits of Sivananda Yoga
- Great for the mind and spirit
- Incorporates positivity
Viniyoga is a fairly advanced type of yoga that incorporates breathing with extended periods of asanas to increase inward awareness and insight. Pranayama is particularly important in Viniyoga. One of the best parts of Viniyoga is that it makes us more aware of how we hold our bodies in everyday life. This is excellent for improving posture, which in turn can help to eliminate health problems like muscle tension and more serious illnesses.
Is Viniyoga Yoga Right For You?
If you are aiming to improve your mind-body connection and to become more conscious of how you hole your body, Viniyoga is perfect. If you enjoy a slower type of exercise you will love Viniyoga. The slow motions also promote inner calm.
Benefits of Viniyoga
- Excellent for improving mind-body connection
- Great for helping problems like hypertension, asthma, arthritis and diabetes.
- Slow and calming.
Vinyasa / Power
One of the most popular forms of yoga today, Vinyasa is similar to Hatha and uses sequences of poses. The name Vinyasa translates to “To place in a special way”. The focus here is on the precise asanas and the flow between them. This is complimented with pranayama (breathing) that helps to relax the body while also focusing the mind. The core discipline is on the way we flow from one pose to the next. To make Vinyasa more fun many yoga teachers will play music during sessions. Vinyasa is similar to Ashtanga in complexity, except that Vinyasa allows for variation in the order of asansas. This is one of the most physically demanding styles of yoga.
Is Vinyasa / Power Yoga Right For You?
Vinyasa is one of the most physically demanding types of yoga (except if we look at Vinyasa VS Hot Yoga, in which case the hot of the latter makes it a little harder).
For this reason, people who want to use yoga to get fit should probably start with Vinyasa and compliment it with Hatha.
Benefits of Hatha
- Very popular and easy to learn (there are many teachers)
- Fantastic physical exercise
The final style of yoga we will look at in this guide is Yin yoga. Yin yoga is become massively popular at the moment and it is very different to other forms of yoga. An alternative, Yin yoga is about relaxation and energy. And the best thing about it is that it perfectly compliments all other form of yoga.
The focus in Yin yoga is on meditation, flexibility and exercise. With these three core disciplines Yin is a excellent overall yoga form for benefiting the body and mind.
The most obvious difference with Yin yoga is that poses are held for a few minutes each. This allows for meditation and develops inward awareness, heightening the mind-body connection.
Is Yin Yoga Right For You?
But seriously, Yin yoga is great for most people. It is relaxing and energising and it perfectly compliments other forms of yoga. Plus, it’s great for beginners. The one thing to note is that Yin yoga is mostly a secondary form of yoga, a Yin practice to compliment Yang practices.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
- Very relaxing
- Produces positive energy
- The best secondary yoga form (combine it with any other form of yoga)
Which type of yoga is right for you?
In this guide to Yin yoga we have looked at 13 different types of yoga. And we have seen how anyone can start doing yoga.
I hope this guide has helped you to find the perfect yoga form for you.
May I ask you a favor?
If you have enjoyed this article and found it useful, please share it. That will tell me that I’ve done something good here, and I will know to produce more guides like this one.
Thanks so much.