12 Types Of Yoga: Finding The Best Yoga Practice For You

There are many types of yoga to choose from, with each one offering a unique pathway to health and harmony. Whether you prefer an energetic flow, a meditative experience, or even something in between, aligning your yoga style with your personal goals ensures you have a more fulfilling journey. 

In this guide, we will take a look at the different types of yoga. We will also discuss how to choose the best yoga practice for you. 

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a holistic practice that originated in India. Its aim is to connect the mind, body, and spirit. At its core are physical postures known as “asanas.” Additionally, yoga provides ethical principles for daily living, including meditation (“dyana”) and breathing techniques (“pranayama”).

Yoga is not just a physical activity. It is also a philosophy that encourages inner peace and balance. It has the necessary tools to help you navigate the challenges of modern life. Yoga practitioners go on a journey of self-discovery, mindfulness, and compassion.

Some people were able to manage their anxiety and depression due to yoga. Others were able to curb their bad habits, like smoking. Yoga has even helped us reduce stress and improve our sleeping habits.

The Different Types Of Yoga

There is no right or wrong choice when deciding what type of yoga is suitable for you. Pick one that aligns with your current preferences. Just like other forms of exercise, opt for a yoga style you will genuinely enjoy.

Let us take a look at the common types of yoga so you can find one that resonates with you:

Vinyasa Yoga

“Vinyasa” translates to “to place in a special way.” It is an athletic style of yoga where movements are synchronized with breathing. There should be a seamless transition from one pose to another.

The flows and sequences can also incorporate meditation. However, this type of yoga focuses on movement more. Meditation sequences are usually done at the beginning and end of the sequence.

Vinyasa yoga can be done by both beginners and professionals. It is a good choice if you want more movement in your yoga practice. 

Hatha Yoga

Hatha derived its name from the Sanskrit words “sun” and “moon.” Hatha yoga aims to balance opposing forces, more specifically, physical and mental strength.

Its sequences have rhythmic and slow flows. These flows will develop your flexibility and strength. It also includes breathing exercises and meditation. It is good for beginners due to its pace and well-balanced flow. If you are looking for a gentle approach to yoga, Hatha is always a good option.

Iyengar Yoga

This type of yoga was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. Its focus is on the classical alignment of the poses. The movements in the sequence should always be precise. The challenge is to use breath control to align the body in a detailed manner. 

In Iyengar yoga, props are used to enhance the depth of a pose. Some examples of props are chairs, walls, straps, and bolsters. This type of yoga is best for people who have injuries or those who have physical limitations. The methodical flow of movement helps with physical and mental recovery. 

Even though the sequence is not forceful, it is still an intense workout that makes you feel relaxed.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga zeroes in on both the spiritual and physical dimensions of the practice. It hones in on your core, where the “kundalini energy” is believed to be trapped. The goal of the sequences is to release this energy for stress relief and positive mindfulness.

The sequences can be intense, so be prepared to sweat it out. The poses are designed to be quick and lively, and the practice is heightened by incorporating chanting or singing alongside breathing exercises. This type of yoga is perfect for those who like energetic workouts. You will also enjoy this if you want to relieve stress. 

Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. It is also what is commonly known as “hot yoga.” We do the class in a room where the temperature is 105 Fahrenheit and there is 40% humidity. The class is usually 90 minutes long and incorporates 26 poses. Each pose is done twice in line with two breathing exercises. 

Studies have noted how yoga practice in a hot room helps in the detoxification of the body discussed. The intense temperature also paves the way for you to go deeper into the pose. You achieve intense focus as you continue to sweat due to increased blood circulation.

Bikram yoga is great for people who like the physical practice of yoga. It is not recommended for people with heart conditions, like hypertension, as the temperature may cause high blood pressure.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga has only six sequences of poses, which are taught in order. It is unique because you can only move on to the next pose once your teacher thinks you have mastered the previous one.

Some examples of the poses are the basic ones like utkatasana (chair pose) and purvottanasana (upward plank pose). There are also advanced poses, like setu bandhasana (bridge pose) and kurmasana (tortoise pose). 

Teachers discern your mastery of the poses based on your breathing, stance, flow of movement, hold of the pose, and, most importantly, alignment. The difficult part is mastering alignment. The teachers are extremely strict about it. Even though your alignment is off by just a hairline, you have to start the sequence again. 

It is also a combination of physical and spiritual practice. You will move at your own pace and adjust your breathing accordingly. The spirituality aspect is achieved by your constant practice and mastery of the poses.

As this type of yoga can be very demanding, it is not suggested for beginners. Those who like routine and precise movements will enjoy Ashtanga yoga. The principles of Ashtanga yoga will be appreciated by people who want to challenge their limits. 

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slow type of yoga where poses are held for a long time. Each pose can last for 45 seconds to two minutes. It focuses on slow rhythmic movements and breath control. 

This type of yoga is designed to improve flexibility, so there are also a lot of stretches. The sequences zero in on your thighs, lower back, and hips. The goal is to enhance joint circulation and promote an overall sense of relaxation.

Yin yoga is also a practice of stillness. The longer hold of the poses promotes the release of positive or “yin” energy, which can help you feel balanced and at peace.

Props, like bolsters and blocks, can also be used in this yoga practice. Our go-to prop is a blanket, and we especially love using a weighted one. The added weight offers a comforting touch, making it easier to hold poses for extended periods.

Yin yoga is perfect for people who like slow practice. This yoga style is also helpful if you have trouble concentrating on daily tasks.

Restorative Yoga

Ever peeked into a yoga class and thought everyone was just taking a snooze? Odds are, it was a restorative yoga session. The main goal here is to chill out the mind, body, and spirit to achieve deep relaxation.

In restorative yoga, the poses are all about relaxation, not perfection. They are also held longer; some poses are even held for up to five minutes. It is encouraged to fall asleep while doing the poses. 

In fact, some instructors even lead a guided meditation called “yoga nidra.” This is a process where you drift between asleep and awake as you go through the flows. 

Restorative yoga helps with stress relief and improves cognitive functions. If you also overthink a lot or have problems releasing your tension, this yoga is worth a try.

Anusara Yoga

Anusara yoga is a new approach to the combination of vinyasa and hatha yoga. Just like vinyasa yoga, there is an emphasis on flow and alignment. But it also derives principles from Hatha yoga, where there should be a connection between body, mind, and heart.

Its main principle is rooted in “spirals” and how the flow and release of energy go through your body. The aim of the practice is to open your heart with the constant movement of your body. 

Your instructor even takes moments to break down the poses, helping you grasp the meaning and benefits behind each one.

If you’re into routine sequences and aiming to master specific poses, Anusara yoga is a perfect fit. It’s a style that resonates with those who appreciate the beauty of a structured practice.

Jivamukti Yoga

Jivamukti is derived from the Sanskrit word jivanmuktih, which means liberation while living. As such, this type of yoga has a physical aspect, but it has a deeper spiritual practice.

Jivamukti yoga has five tenets: Ahimsa (non-violence), Dhyana (mediation), Bhakti (devotional practice and chants), Shastra (study of yogic scriptures), and Nada (use of sound). Each session revolves around one of these principles, guiding you through a demanding yet invigorating physical practice. 

As you practice strict flow and movement, your instructor will occasionally impart some wisdom about the philosophy behind these tenets. Jivamukti yoga’s aim is to bring to life the ancient teachings and practice it in the modern world. You can give this style a try if you want to have a fresher perspective in your life!

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga was specifically developed for mothers-to-be. The poses were designed for the safety and comfort of pregnant women in all trimesters. Therefore, some difficult poses are excluded from the practice.

The flow focuses on alleviating the pains that come with pregnancy. There are also stretches that relieve the lower back and hips. It is also a form of exercise that helps strengthen the pelvic muscles to aid with labor and delivery.

The breathing exercises in this yoga style are especially helpful during labor. In fact, If you just gave birth and want to ease into exercising, this will be a great starting point. Just make sure to consult your doctor first before trying prenatal yoga. 

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga incorporates all the usual poses while you are supported by a hammock that is hung on the ceiling. They also call it anti-gravity yoga sometimes, as the support from the hammock will make it easier for you to do inverted poses. 

It is good for people who have back problems, as the stretches are more defined when you are suspended in the air. You also get to overcome your fear of doing the difficult inverted poses, like the downward dog. 

Plus, here’s the fun part: it’s not just for poses. In the final chill-out moment, you can cocoon yourself in the hammock for some extra relaxation after a physically intense class.

How To Choose The Best Yoga Practice For You

Your yoga journey can be a transformative one, especially if you find the “perfect fit.” But how will you know the right yoga practice for you?

Here are some tips to help you choose the best type of yoga for you:

Step 1: Define your goals

You should first define your goals before even researching a style of yoga. Are you doing yoga for exercise? Or is it for mindfulness and relaxation? Your specific goal dictates the yoga practice that will work for you. 

Let’s say you’re all about getting active. Opt for styles like vinyasa, Iyengar, or kundalini—these are the ones that incorporate a ton of movement. Meanwhile, if your goal is to de-stress and find your inner balance, opt for a slow-paced yoga style. Some examples of this yoga type are hatha, yin, or restorative yoga.

If you’re aiming to ease joint and muscle pain, opt for yoga styles heavy on stretches. Also, look for ones that hold poses for a bit—they’re great for managing pain.

Or maybe your goal is an all-around lifestyle boost. In that case, dive into a spiritual yoga practice. Styles like Jivamukti and Anusara not only open you up to the world during your practice but also sprinkle in teachings from yogic scriptures that you can apply in your everyday life.

Once you have a clear goal, it will be easier to look for a yoga practice. Focus on the core principles of the type of yoga you are researching. See if they’re all about movement, breathing, or meditation. From there, choose a type that aligns with your goal. 

A common slip-up is getting swayed by the general perks of a practice without checking if it fits your specific goal. Take Bikram yoga, for example. 

You might be drawn to it for detoxing and inner peace, but did you think about the potential discomfort of the heated room? Some folks find the heat distracting, making it hard to focus on the poses.

On paper, Bikram yoga seems like a perfect fit for your goals. But if you focus on just the benefits and not the actual practices of achieving your goal, you can get stuck with the wrong yoga style.

Step 2: Assess your capabilities and limitations

Next, it is important to be honest with yourself when it comes to your capabilities. There are types of yoga that are physically demanding. Others will even push your mental and spiritual boundaries. 

The best yoga style for you is one that will make you feel safe and comfortable. Even at times when you feel the sequences are challenging, you should still find joy in doing it.

Be aware of your physical limitations. Do not force yourself into doing a difficult yoga style that brings immense pain to your body. 

If you are just starting out, choose from beginner-friendly yoga styles. Some examples of these are Hatha, yin, or Iyengar yoga. Once you learn the ropes, then you can try more difficult ones.

The same goes for the core principles of the yoga style you are going to choose. If you have trouble understanding the teachings from yogi scriptures, opt for a yoga style that is not too heavy on spiritual practice.

Step 3: Consider your availability

Different yoga types have varied class times. Styles involving chanting and meditation might stretch to 90 minutes or more, while the more physical ones can be wrapped up in just an hour. 

Remember, yoga should never take over your life. We practice yoga to incorporate its principles in our lives to have a well-balanced one. Always choose a style your schedule can accommodate.

You should also know if the yoga style needs equipment. It depends on the studio, but generally, everyone brings their own props for hygienic purposes. 

Wrapping Up

The world of yoga is a diverse one. Your journey to wellness will only become successful if you choose the right yoga practice. Find one that will honor your rhythm and stick with a style that brings out the best in you.


In general, ashtanga yoga is considered to be the most difficult style. It has fast sequences and complicated breathing techniques. Mastering the poses also requires a lot of time, and you cannot move on to the next pose without mastering the previous one.

Yoga brings a mix of perks for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. What you get depends on the style you pick. But in general, expect perks like boosted flexibility, improved focus, and enhanced strength and balance. Yoga can enrich your overall well-being.

Hatha yoga is considered to be the most beginner-friendly. It is a gentle type of yoga that does not have fast sequences. It is also balanced because it incorporates physical practice, meditation, and relaxation.

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