What Are the Five Different Types of Yoga?
If you’re new to yoga, you might feel overwhelmed by all of the different yoga practices out there. At BalanceFrom, we are yoga enthusiasts, and are passionate about building an inclusive and welcoming space for all those interested in learning about yoga. That’s why we made our extra-comfortable high density yoga mat. With nearly twelve square feet of super-supportive foam, our mat is perfect for all bodies. In this article, we’ll break down the ten different types of yoga, and help you find a practice just for you.
In actuality, there are hundreds of different yoga styles, each one ranging in physical difficulty, level of meditation, spirituality, and of course, poses. However, for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on the five most commonly practiced types of yoga in the U.S. To find your practice, we recommend trying a few different lines to figure out which one you like best.
1. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa roughly translates to ‘to place in a special way.’ If you’ve ever practiced vinyasa yoga, you’ll know that this refers to the exciting poses you maneuver your body into. Highly regarded as the most physically taxing yoga, Vinyasa is the ideal form to practice if you want to get strong and tone your muscles. Today, vinyasa yoga often incorporates elements of pilates, such as core work and localized muscle pulses. To perform its complex poses, vinyasa yoga often requires blocks. We’ve built our BalanceFrom yoga blocks to give you all the stability you need while practicing Vinyasa yoga.
2. Hatha Yoga
In the US, Hatha yoga is a bit of a catch-all yoga category, and refers to every practice other than vinyasa yoga. Typically, hatha yoga is a little less rigorous than vinyasa, but still quite demanding. You can expect a slower flow with a strong focus on breathwork. If you’re new to yoga, hatha yoga is a great place to start as it teaches you the fundamentals you need to be able to master other yoga forms.
3. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga unites the spiritual and physical parts of yoga. The aim of kundalini yoga is to release your kundalini energy. Legend has it that the kundalini resides in the lower spine, and takes the form of a coiled snake. To achieve a kundalini awakening, people practice kundalini yoga which focuses on releasing your inner energy.
4. Bikram/Hot Yoga
Bikram yoga has a dark past. The practice was founded in the 70’s by Bikram Choudhury, and quickly gained a cult-like following. Choudhury established his own studio, and by the early 2000’s, he had opened up over 1,600 locations across 40 different countries. The practice thrown into scandal when it was discovered that Choudhury had been guilty of sexual assaulting his followers. He eventually fled to Mexico in 2017 and is now living in exile.
In an effort to rebrand the practice and distance itself from the misconduct of its founder, Bikram yoga is now referred to has hot yoga. This practice is unique from other forms in that it is practiced in a sauna setting. Studios are often up to 105 degrees in temperature, with humidity hovering right around 40%. Hot yoga is an extremely physical yoga practice, as the intense environment makes even the most basic movements difficult. Not for the faint of heart, hot yoga is recommended for advanced practitioners only.
5. Restorative Yoga
The aim of restorative yoga is to relax your mind. By far the most meditative of all the practices, restorative yoga is a mental cleanse. Practitioners often report entering into a trance-like state of relaxation. Restorative yoga is a great practice to try if you are looking to enjoy the mental benefits of yoga more than the physical ones.