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How Many Styles of Yoga Are There?

by | Jan 7, 2023 | Yoga Teacher Continuing Education

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When considering what style of yoga may be right for you, you need to be aware of the benefits of each kind. It is essential to choose what best fits your lifestyle and skill level to ensure you are playing it smart and safe. 

There are many different styles of yoga, possibly even too many to name. Some styles of yoga include:

  • Hatha
  • Vinyasa
  • Ashtanga
  • Kundalini

When choosing a style, you should observe the advantages of practicing each technique and determine what best suits your needs. When it comes to yoga, there is a style and practice for everyone. If you intend to understand more about how many styles of yoga there are, peruse this article. 

What Is a Style of Yoga?

There are many yoga styles of yoga you can practice. It all depends on your preference. 

Style refers to the way of movement, the different postures it entails, and the way it improves the health of the body. It could help with strength and flexibility or have cardio benefits. 

The specific style of yoga you choose will promote different aspects of health, and all forms of yoga are good for you. 

How Many Styles of Yoga Are There?

You can find different styles of yoga that can help with specific health concerns. The type of yoga you choose is personal, as everyone’s needs and preferences vary. 

There are at least ten styles of yoga, and probably more. You can learn and perform multiple types of yoga if it suits you. 

The following include the different styles of yoga explained.

Hatha

The primary objective of Hatha yoga is to restore balance in the body. It combines relaxing strengthening poses with various poses to improve flexibility. Breathing during Hatha yoga is meant to naturally promote harmony between the mind and body. 

The benefits of Hatha yoga:

  • Purifies the system
  • Enhances mindfulness
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Decreases stress and anxiety

Hatha yoga is great for beginners, as it can be slower-paced compared to other styles of yoga. Hatha encompasses many different styles of yoga that utilize the body as a means for self-inquiry. Sustained and long-term practice of Hatha can lead to weight loss and toned muscles.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa refers to the word “flow.” Everything about the practice of vinyasa yoga involves the fluid movement of the body. The transitions into each posture symbolize the movement of life. It is considered the most athletic style of yoga, as power yoga is included in the particular form. 

The benefits of Vinyasa yoga:

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Lengthens the body 
  • Aligns the body
  • Good for cardiovascular fitness

In this style of yoga, mindfulness and meditation are used to help with grounding and balance. It is an excellent exercise to improve mental health and well-being, as it is ideal for beating anxiety symptoms. It can also help with concentration and mental fatigue. 

Yin

Yin yoga is the artful combination of martial arts and yoga. I?T increases blood circulation to the joints and helps with flexibility and muscle toning. You will use tools such as blocks and blankets in this form of yoga. It lubricates the muscles and keeps them limber and in good condition. 

The benefits of Yin yoga:

  • Boosts energy 
  • Increases mobility
  • It helps promote restful sleep 
  • Works the connective tissues in the body 

The slow pace of yin yoga helps calm your mind and makes the nervous system not work as hard. It is more of a meditative practice of yoga. This form of yoga eases tension in the hips, lower back, and thighs. It explicitly targets these muscle groups, while most other types of yoga focus on the whole body. 

Kundalini

Kundalini yoga combines movement with challenging breathwork to create endurance and promote a healthy nervous system. It focuses on what is referred to as “life force energy,” which translates to chi in yoga speak. This form of yoga is ideal for unblocking energy or chi, including chanting, singing, and meditation. 

The benefits of kundalini yoga:

  • Reduces stress
  • Clears the mind
  • Strengthens willpower
  • Promotes spiritual enlightenment 

This form of yoga helps unblock, clear, and balance all seven chakras. When you practice this type of yoga, you wear all white, which is said to dispel negative energy and brighten the aura. It is also a good form of yoga to help increase mental and physical stamina. 

Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga is a type of yoga known for its powerful weight loss benefits. It consists of six series of specific poses taught in order. It is a physical form of yoga with spiritual elements involved. Each student that learns this type of yoga has their own individual pace. 

The benefits of ashtanga yoga:

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Helps with back pain
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Purifies the nervous system  

Vinyasa yoga originated from Ashtanga yoga. It is an excellent style for linking breath with movement. However, it may be slightly more complicated than is comfortable for the beginner. Ashtanga yoga is the one to practice when you want to move around and sweat.  

Iyengar

Iyengar yoga is named after the famed teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, who introduced yoga props into the practice, such as blocks and chairs. The props help improve technique and positioning while gaining the ability to get into the correct form without them. 

The benefits of Iyengar yoga:

  • It helps teach proper posture
  • Helps create alignment
  • Improves concentration 
  • Suitable for challenging the body 

Some yogi enthusiasts have said that this form of yoga completely cured their musculoskeletal disorders. It has demonstrated success in treating spine abnormalities. It can also be beneficial for helping alleviate symptoms of gastroenterological disease. 

Nidra

Nidra yoga is a form of guided meditation known as “yogic sleep.” It is typically practiced while lying down on a mat. It involves moving from a conscious state to dreaming while remaining awake. It means going past the unconscious to the conscious. 

The benefits of Nidra yoga:

  • It helps the autonomic nervous system
  • Regulates heartbeat
  • Assists with digestion 
  • Improves blood flow

This form of yoga helps calm the flight or fight response that can trigger stress and anxiety. It also helps to activate the sleep hormone melatonin. It can even help manage blood pressure, reducing cortisol levels. 

Bikram

Bikram yoga and hot yoga are interchangeable. Bikram yoga is a method of hot yoga, as it is performed in a hot room. Bikram is the initial form of hot yoga. Teachers are trained to talk you through the flow as part of a moving meditation, and it instructs you to be in the moment. 

The benefits of Bikram yoga:

  • Better discipline 
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Heals chronic pain
  • Improves heart health

Bikram yoga is practiced with a unique set of 26 postures, while hot yoga is regular yoga in a heated room. Bikram yoga also tends to be hotter. If you are recent to Bikram yoga, you should expect the space to be as hot as 105 degrees Fahrenheit, as warmed-up muscles tend to bend better. 

Hot Yoga

As the name implies, hot yoga is practiced in a hot environment. Most hot yoga classes involve powerful postures and sequences. The idea is that heat helps the body to move around more easily. In this style of yoga, you are likely to sweat more, so you must drink enough water during your practice. 

The benefits of hot yoga:

  • Creates balance in the body
  • It helps remove toxins from the body
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Boosts the immune system

This style of yoga is excellent for releasing endorphins. It also creates better awareness of breath and corrects posture. There are commonly two types of hot yoga: Bikram and Vinyasa yoga. Hot yoga is good for extensive calorie burning and overall fitness. 

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga focuses on postures that are appropriate for pregnant women. It may entail less strenuous poses and breathwork. There may also be some focus on specific types of breathing that can help during labor. It is a gentler style of yoga. 

The benefits of prenatal yoga:

  • Increased circulation
  • Reduces back pain
  • It helps ease nausea and headaches
  • Decreases stress and anxiety

This style of yoga can help improve the strength of the muscles involved in childbirth. It encourages more stretching, mental centering, and deliberate breathing. There may also be helpful props, such as blankets, cushions, and belts, to provide enough support. 

Conclusion

You can practice many different styles of yoga to help with various health disorders and keep yourself in good physical and mental condition. These forms of yoga vary in practice and skill level, and it is essential to talk to your general practitioner before starting any exercise regimen.

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