Which Style of Yoga is Right for You?

Sep 10, 2018

Are you curious about all the different yoga styles? Are you wondering which style is the right fit for you?

This is one of the most common questions I get as a yoga teacher.

Ashtanga, Bikram, Vinyasa flow, Jivamukti, Viniyoga, Integral, Forrest, Power yoga, Yin, Restorative, Iyengar, Kundalini, Anusara, Hatha, Baptiste, even Laughter yoga!…the list goes on and on. No wonder people are confused!

There are dozens of different types of yoga. Whether you want something physically demanding or more relaxing, renewing, and meditative, yoga has you covered! The best thing is that no matter what type of yoga you choose, you’ll still receive all of the many health benefits.

Today I’ll focus on six of the most popular styles and break them down for you in detail. I have my preferences, but I’ve tried to refrain from expressing my opinion here so you can make your own decision without any outside influence.

(After you’ve finished reading, try taking this fun little quiz I created that will tell you which style of yoga you’re best suited for!)

Let’s get started!

 

Vinyasa Flow

Vinyasa flow is a physically beautiful style of yoga, partially influenced by dance. All of the poses flow seamlessly from one to another.

Vinyasa classes typically start with Sun salutations, a series of poses where each movement is matched to the breath. Sun salutations wake up the body and prepare you for the rest of the practice. Most Vinyasa flow yoga classes move quickly from pose to pose, which can get your heart rate up and be physically demanding.

 

Iyengar

Iyengar is a style of yoga that focuses on proper alignment. The Iyengar style uses a lot of props: blocks, straps, yoga blankets, and chairs. The props help bring a yogi into safe alignment for each pose, and therefore this style is great for people with injuries or people that just want to explore a pose in a different way.

The Iyengar yoga stye is very precise and detail-oriented. You’ll be amazed at how just moving one muscle very slightly can completely change how a pose feels in your body.

“To me, Iyengar yoga is the grammar of yoga. Once you know the grammar, you can write poetry.”  

-Rachel Yellin

 

Bikram/Hot Yoga

This is the heated style of yoga. Bikram yoga’s sauna-like rooms are specifically heated to 105 degrees. There are 26 fixed poses that you go through twice in every class.

Hot yoga classes, on the other hand, are different from the structured Bikram classes. They are very physical yoga classes (usually in a variation of Power or Vinyasa style) heated to variable degrees.

Both Bikram and hot yoga classes can be very strenuous, so be cautious if you’ve never practiced in extreme heat.

 

Restorative

Restorative yoga is a very gentle style of yoga used for calming the mind and nervous system. This style is wonderful for beginners and people who have limited mobility or injuries, but that said, everyone can benefit from the relaxation of restorative yoga (I’m looking at you, my power-driven Type A friends)!

Like Iyengar yoga, the restorative style uses a lot of props (especially bolsters and blankets), but instead of focusing on precise alignment like Iyengar, the focus is on complete relaxation and self-care.

I especially love to practice restorative yoga in the evening when I’m winding down after a long day. I see it as a little gift to myself.

 

Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga is an intense, fast-paced, physically demanding style created by Patthabi Jois in the 1960s. True Ashtanga classes have a series of set poses performed in the same order each class.

Ashtanga was very influential with the contemporary yoga we see today, especially the Vinyasa and Power yoga styles.

 

Hatha

Hatha is an umbrella term that includes all types of physical yoga (Iyengar, Vinyasa, Power, etc). However, nowadays Hatha is also frequently used to describe a basic gentle yoga class. When referenced this way, Hatha is a slower-pace class, great for beginners.

The main focus of this style is to create a balance between a peaceful mind and a healthy body. Hatha yoga asks us to bring attention to our breath and be present in each moment. It’s a powerful tool for transformation.

 

Now for the fun part!

I’ve created a personality-type quiz to help you figure out which style of yoga is right for you! If you’ve read through this blog and still have questions, this quiz might help you out. I had SO much fun making the quiz for you, and I really hope you love it. Enjoy!

One last thing: All of these styles have their merits. Yoga is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is different, and therefore different styles will appeal to different people! I urge you to try a variety of yoga styles until you find one that suits you and that you’ll stick with.

Thanks for reading! Now I want to hear from you. What styles of yoga do you enjoy? Is there a style you haven’t tried yet, but you’d like to? Comment below and tell me about it!

16 Comments

  1. Kelsy

    As someone who has a hard time starting and sticking to a yoga practice, I think this post is super important! I think my brain aligns with the IYENGAR style, while my body thinks it needs a good sweaty workout. Giving in to that seeking alignment part of my brain will probably help me a lot with my practice and discipline in other places in life!

    Reply
    • Mikah Horn

      I totally get that, Kelsy. I also need a good sweaty workout from time to time. I try to combine both and get alllll the benefits. 🙂

      Reply
  2. l dove

    I really enjoy yoga and would love to try bikram yoga but can’t due to low blood pressure, it makes me pass out!

    Reply
  3. Eric

    I’m trying to get into yoga, so this is some good info. Thank you

    Reply
  4. Bestcapturedblog

    I absolutely love the Hot Yoga! I agree that everyone definitely has a style that fits them better.

    Reply
  5. Latte Lindsay

    I would love to get back into yoga but it has been years since the last time I had my butt on a yoga mat! Great post 😀

    Reply
  6. TessaG

    I love this outline! Thanks so much for putting the work into it – I used to just do whatever class was running, or hot yoga; now I’m going to hone in on one for me!

    Reply
  7. Jessica Hughes

    I really enjoy a few different types of yoga myself. My favorite at the moment is Bikram and has been for quite a while now.

    Reply
  8. Silvia Martinez

    I love this!! I think I’m in the restorative type.

    Reply
  9. Devyani Ray

    I LOVE how you have described all the styles in plain layman’s language. Very very helpful.

    Reply
  10. David Elliott

    All of those sound really interesting. The only one that makes me nervous is hot yoga. I am not sure I would be up for that. Just crazy in that heat and risk of dehydration.

    Reply
  11. Jenn

    I had no idea there were so many different types of Yoga. I just started with a beginner Yoga book recently, but I am excited to increase my skill and my strength/flexibility. I pinned this to refer back to later. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Talya

    I love Yoga! I find that the style that I am interested in really varies based on what I want to get out of my practice. I do find that a lot of instructors I take combine a lot of the styles, so it is hard to know exactly what you are getting, but yoga is great any way you cut it!!

    Reply
  13. Lavanda Michelle Williams

    That Restorative Yoga sounds like it could be a perfect remedy for me. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  14. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

    I am planning to attend a beginner’s yoga class at my new gym. I think I’m gonna like Vinyasa.

    Reply

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Hi there, I'm Mikah!
I'm a yoga teacher + wellness expert, passionate about inspiring people to move better and feel better. Here on my blog I like to share my top tips related to yoga, healthy eating, self-care, and fitness – all the things I love most. Enjoy!
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Which style of yoga is right for you? Take my fun & free yoga style personality quiz to find out!

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