Which Yoga Style Is Right for You?

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If you’re just getting started with yoga, you probably don’t know your Hatha from your Bikram. There are dozens of different types of yoga, some much more popular than others. Here’s a quick guide to some of the different types of yoga practice and some information to help you decide which yoga style is right for you.

Calming and Relaxing

Some people seek a yoga practice as a way to soothe daily stresses, manage anxiety and become more centered, sometimes combined with meditation.  If that’s your goal then you may want to try a yoga style that is calming and relaxing. The following styles may suit your needs:


Yes, the name of this yoga style identifies the primary benefit. It’s designed to help repair and restore. You’ll move through less poses than in other yoga classes, but hold them for extended periods of time – often 10-15 minutes.


Vini means adaptive and that’s exactly what this style is. It’s adaptive to your needs and goals. It’s perfect for people who are working with injuries or limitations. It’s usually practiced in a small group or one on one so your instructor can create a practice that’s just right for you.


This style focuses on utilizing gentle postures which you hold for several minutes. It can be incredibly relaxing while also (over time) hugely increasing your range of motion and level of flexibility.

Powerful and Intense

If you’re looking for a yoga style that challenges you, helps you build strength, and improves your fitness, then the following styles may best suit your needs:

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga

This style of yoga is physically demanding. You’ll move quickly through series of postures. It’s designed to build strength, flexibility and endurance.

Power Yoga or Power Vinyasa

Power yoga is a physically demanding yoga style. The goal is to improve strength and flexibility. It’s also often practiced as hot yoga which means you’ll be in a room that’s around 100 degrees F. The goal with hot yoga is to detoxify. Some people find that the heat helps with flexibility, allowing for deeper stretches. But many people find that the extreme heat causes dizziness and discomfort. Do your research before committing to hot yoga.

Bikram Yoga

This yoga style provides a complete workout. You’ll move through poses that increase strength, endurance, cardiovascular capability, and flexibility. Classes are always in a hot room, so be aware of the pros and cons of this, especially as many Bikram yoga classes last an hour and an half.

The Best of Both Worlds

You don’t have to choose one end of the spectrum or the other. There are many yoga styles that are designed to offer both mental benefits and physical benefits. They include:


This is one of the most popular types of yoga. The poses are active and they include the use of props which makes it great for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.


Hatha is the foundation for most yoga styles. Traditional hatha is easy to learn and suitable to all fitness levels. You’ll practice active poses which challenge you and help you increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance but you’ll enjoy restorative and calming poses as well.

These styles are just the beginning. There’s prenatal yoga for those who are pregnant or just had a baby. There’s yoga for people who want to tap into their creative side and yoga for those who are competitive.

Any type of yoga is a great way to keep both mind and body healthy. If you’re just getting started with a yoga practice, start with a basic form that meets your needs and allow yourself to grow and change as you become more proficient.

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Featured image by Hà Cao from Pixabay

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