There are various types of yoga styles out there, but the truth is that some styles may fit you better than others.

Whether you’re doing Yoga to energize you for the day ahead or a slower, restorative flow before bedtime or for weight loss, the best type of yoga for you will also depend on your mood, schedule and how many minutes you have to spare. Yoga, as they say, is all about finding your edge and stepping outside of your comfort zone, as well as enabling yourself to explore and grow physically and spiritually.

We asked instructors and teachers to break down each yoga style and created this quick guide for you when you can't determine what kind of practice you want or need a refresher on what to anticipate in each class.

1) HATHA YOGA - The “Easy” Yoga

Hatha is a Sanskrit term that implies strength and power.  It is generally considered the most basic of all yoga styles and origin of all other Yoga subgroups.

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Practice:

Hatha Yoga is usually slow-paced and does not follow a set flow. It’s perfect for beginners as it is relatively easy and mellow to start with. If you're a seasoned Yogi, Hatha Yoga would be a good choice for you to unwind and relax.

Benefits: 

Learn all the fundamentals of Yoga such as breathing, postures, meditation, and relaxation techniques.

Difficulty Level: 

Perfect for beginners to get started with Yoga and develop lasting interest.

2) VINYASA Yoga - The “Fitness” Yoga

Vinyasa means “connection” in Sanskrit. Often referred to as “flow” yoga, it is a style of yoga in which one moves from one pose smoothly into another creating a mellow workout effect.

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Practice:

This yoga style requires you to coordinate your breath with your movement and focuses on creating a flow of postures with smooth transitions from one to the next. You will pace your movements with a proper inhale and exhale. It doesn’t have a set rigid structure, thus, giving you more freedom on different poses or asanas.

Benefits: 

Build muscle strength and endurance while improving your overall fitness.

Difficulty Level:

For beginner and intermediate Yogis who take it as a form of fitness exercise.

3) ASHTANGA YOGA - The “Control” Yoga

Ashtanga yoga shares some elements with vinyasa yoga, including the flowing movement and breathing style. But while Vinyasa classes are more varied, Ashtanga has a set of controlled poses that you can't deviate from. The practice requires concentrated movement which helps stabilize your mind and mood. 

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Practice:

This type of yoga involves different series throughout the entire class. You have primary, intermediate, and four advanced series. Each series builds upon the last and progresses through to the more difficult poses or asanas.

Benefits:

Enhances overall mind and body control. Great for stress relief.

Difficulty Level:

For intermediate to advanced Yogis who look for more vigorous practice and mind training.

4) HOT YOGA - The Slimming Yoga

A type of Yoga that will surely make you sweat it out! The postures require lengthy, forceful and sustained contractions of all major muscle groups. The demanding nature of the poses and the heat are designed to raise your heart rate and exercise your muscles.

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Practice:

Get ready to really sweat in Hot Yoga. Essentially, you practice a set of defined poses (by the instructor) with coordinated breathing, but this time, in a setting that is heated to 40 degrees centigrade with 40% humidity. The idea is to cleanse your body by sweating out.

Benefits:  

Lose Weight, build bone density and boost your cardiovascular capacity.

Difficulty Level:

For intermediate and advanced Yogis. Might be quite overwhelming for beginners. Make sure you come ready and prepared for a strenuous practice experience! 


5) IYENGAR YOGA - The Healing Yoga

A physically challenging approach to Yoga and can be quite strenuous.This yoga style focuses on perfect body alignment through relatively rigorous and long pose holding.

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Practice:

Expect to do intense and long poses of standing, sitting and twisting asanas, as well as inversions and backbends. Usually requires use of props such as straps, blocks and blankets. And each practice session could last 90 to 120 minutes.

Benefits: 

Besides usual Yoga benefits, it could be physically therapeutic for chronic problems or injuries.

Difficulty Level:

For advanced Yogis

Hope this quick guide could keep you informed enough to start on Yoga with a style that best fits you and be able to enjoy the experience of Yoga for continuing practice. Choosing the right form for your interests will not only be fun, but it will also bring out the best in you physically and spiritually.

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Namaste!