Different Types of Yoga: Which Style Is Perfect For Your Yoga Journey

Many new to yoga will be surprised to know that yoga comes in many forms. They key to a good yoga practice is finding the right type of yoga suited for the practitioner’s fitness level.

While there are many fun quizzes online to find the “right style of yoga”—many instructors will note it is important to understand the variety of yoga and the effect it can have on the practitioner. One style of yoga may improve strength, flexibility and balance while a different style will quiet the “chattering mind,” release tension and help the yogi relax.

Acro Yoga: Gravity and Trust

Acro Yoga combines the characteristics of acrobatics and yoga by using the force of gravity to help improve strengthening of the body while stretching. Acro Yoga is a relatively new form of yoga developed by Jessie Goldberg and Eugene Poku—who have been using the term since 1999. They also share a domain, acroyoga.com that they registered in 2005. Acro Yoga combines two people, the “base” and the “flyer,” who allow their intuition and judgement to guide them. Acro yoga is also aimed to build trust between both partners. On Instagram, the yoga community will tag itself as #acroyoga or #aylife to find inspiration and others to connect with.

Ashtanga Yoga: An Ancient Practice with Much Popularity

Ashtanga yoga was developed by Sri. K Pattabhi Jois, as an incredibly powerful and rigorous physical practice which physically demands the synchronization of your breath and movement. This combination produces a great level of internal heat which can purify the body. Ashtanga has very strict rules and guidelines when it comes to practicing poses, or “asanas.”

If core strength and physical toning is a goal, this may be the perfect practice. Jois taught classes in ancient Sanskrit text called the Yoga Kurunta — which was brought to all again by T. Krishnamacharya. Jois and his teacher, T. Krishnamacharya, studied together in Mysore, India. Many yoga students and instructors travel to Mysore India to train in the temple in which Jois taught. Sri. K Pattabhi Jois passed away in 2009 at the age of 94. His grandson has now taken over the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. Madonna, Sting and Gwenyth Paltrow were students of his.

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga is pretty hardcore as in you practice in a super heated room. This kind of yoga is a tough workout and will allow the practitioner to sink deeper into poses. This is a super sweaty practice, so Hot Yoga practitioners need to pay super close attention to their bodies. Time Magazine reports, many studies have shown that this practice can lower stress and improve pain management while regulating emotions in a similar way to medication!

Exercise scientist, Dr. Tracy tells Time magazine,

“Feelings of light-headedness, nausea, confusion, or muscle cramping—either during or after a yoga practice—are all signs that you need to take a break. That’s especially true for inexperienced yogis, whose bodies aren’t acclimated to the rigors of hot yoga”

hot yoga

Hatha Yoga

Many agree that the term “Hatha” can have a dual meaning of being both “willful” or “forceful,” in its’ yoga of activity. Or, the “sun” stimulation (ha) and “moon” (tha) calming properties of the moon—bringing these two forces into balance, resulting in a balanced yoga practice. This yoga practice is great in reducing and receiving tension and stress.

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is a more tranquil and relaxing form of yoga influenced by the calming half of yin-and-yang. Yoga practitioners will sit in a pose for up to five minutes to allow for a deeper stretch.

Health magazine reports Sara Gottfried, MD. Of Berkeley, California, as saying the following.

“Yin yoga is particularly good at activating the part of your nervous system that helps you bounce back from pain and stress”

yoga types and styles
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Kundalini Yoga

Want to develop spiritual awareness by freeing up the “serpent power”? Well…this serpent power is voiced at the base of the spine—energy from this is drawn upward and through all seven chakras. This can be a achieved by using breath, sound and good posture.

[Photo by Matt Cardy / Stringer/ GettyImages]