Many different styles of yoga exist, ranging from gentle to vigorous, physical to spiritual, offering something to suit all needs, abilities, limitations, and schedules. Although all styles of yoga are based on the same physical postures (asana or poses), each has a particular emphasis.
A selection of the most well-known styles is provided below:
Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara yoga combines an emphasis on physical alignment with a positive, light-hearted and accessible style.
Means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. Ashtanga yoga is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga in which a series of poses is performed, always in the same order. This practice is very physically demanding because of the constant, flowing movement from one pose to the next.
Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is a set series of 26 poses practiced in a heated room (ranging from 95-103 degree F), to promote cellular metabolism and detoxification through profuse sweating.
Taught by Ana Forrest and based in Santa Monica, California, this style employs vigorous asana sequences to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. This intense workout often includes an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.
A general term that includes many of the physical types of yoga and may incorporate breathing techniques. Hatha yoga tends to be slow-paced, gentle and to provide a good introduction to the basic yoga poses.
Follows the teachings of Sri Swami Sachidananda and is a gentle practice incorporating breathing exercises, chanting, kriyas and meditation.
Focuses on the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain maximum benefits and to avoid injury. Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of Yoga tends to hold poses for longer periods of time and encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps.
This style blends a physically intense series of asana similar to Ashtanga yoga with chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. Jivamukti Yoga was created by co-founders David Life and Sharon Gannon in New York.
Founded by yoga guru Amrit Desai, who came to the United States from India in 1960, this style combines meditation, inward reflection, physical healing and spiritual transformation with a compassionate approach that encourages practitioners to move at their own pace.
Discussed by Paramhansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, this style embraces breathing techniques aimed at achieving spiritual development, tranquility and a sense of oneness and connection with the universe. Practiced today at the Self-Realization Fellowship.
Emphasizes breath in conjunction with rapid, repetitive motion, to free and raise energy in the body. Kundalini yoga explores the effects of the breath and prana (energy) during each pose. Chanting is often incorporated into class.
An athletic and rigorous practice based on the flowing style of Ashtanga. Unlike Ashtanga’s predictable, set series, Power Yoga allows for creativity and flexibility within the flow of poses.
Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda’s five principles of: proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular), proper breathing, proper relaxation (Savasana), proper diet (Vegetarian) and positive thinking and meditation.
A gentle, passive form of yoga named after the Chinese concepst of yin and yang. Yin finds its form in the opposites of active, heated, aggressive forms of ”yang” yoga.
Means breath-synchronized movement. Vinyasa yoga is a vigorous style based on the performance of a series of poses called Sun Salutations, in which movement is matched to breath.