There are many different styles of Yoga and mostly they are all based on the same Asana (poses) with each style having its own particular focus.
Here is a list of ten popular styles of physical Yoga with a brief description on each style.
1. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is the foundation of all physical yoga styles. Hatha yoga means the physical practice of yoga!
Slow paced and gentle.
2. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga come from the same lineage. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar are the teachers who developed these yoga styles and we’re both thought by Krishnamacharya.
Ashtanga originated in Mysore, India, the vigorous practice was devised to focus the minds and energy of teenage school boys. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois brought this style to the U.S. in 1975.
Ashtanga Yoga is made up of eight limbs. (See the Ashtanga section for more detail)
Very strong Vinyasa Class with a set sequence of Asana (poses) with each movement Coordinated to the Ujjayi breath.
3. Iyengar Yoga Iyengar Yoga developed by B.K.S. Iyengar covers all eight aspects of Ashtanga Yoga. There is more focus on body alignment with the use of props. Poses generally are held for longer periods.
4. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga classes focus on coordinating the breath and movement. It began with Krishnamacharya who thought B.K.S. Iyengar and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Vinyasa is the Sanskrit word for flow, and these classes can be called vinyasa yoga, vinyasa flow yoga, or simply flow yoga classes. Ashtanga yoga too is a vinyasa yoga class but the main difference is the sequencing of postures. Vinyasa yoga doesn’t follow a set sequence whereas Ashtanga follows a set sequence. All classes start with a Surya Namaskara (sun salutation), intensity ranges from gentle to strong depending on the class and then the sequence can differ from one class to the next.
5. Bikram Yoga Bikram yoga is hot yoga and was developed by Bikram Choudhury. It has a series of 26 Asanas (poses) and rooms can be heated to 40 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity.
6. Restorative Yoga Focuses more on relaxation and you’ll spend long periods of time lying on blocks and bolsters passively allow the muscles to relax and stretch.
7. Kundalini Yoga Kundalini yoga was designed to awaken energy in the spine. There is a lot of emphasis on the Root Chakra, the area surrounding the lower spine, aiming to awaken the kundalini (serpent) energy in your body and move it upward through the body.
8. Anusara Yoga Founded in 1997 by John Friend. There is a big focus on heart opening poses like backbends. Anusara is often described as Iyengar with a sense of Humour!
9. Yin Yoga
Yin or Taoist yoga is for the joints not the muscles. Quiet, meditative yoga practice, Yin poses are passive allowing gravity to do the work. Focus is on lengthening connective tissues and compliments Yang yoga (muscle forming yoga like Ashtanga and Iyengar).
10. Vini Yoga Developed by Krishnamacharya’s son Desikachar. Desikachar likes to teach with a more holistic approach with each student receiving one to one instruction from the teacher at some stage within their yoga training.
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