Eight Major Styles of Yoga for Wellness

Scanning your gym’s class schedule for a good yoga class is sometimes confusing. What on earth is the difference between Hatha and Ashtanga? Bikram and Iyengar? Here is a cheat sheet to the various styles of yoga practiced today.


John Friend in 1997, Anusara yoga is fairly new. Inspired by the thought that we all have inherent goodness, Anusara wants to use yoga to help students accept this fact and let their inner goodness reveal itself.


Pattabhi Jois. It’s a demanding style that adheres to a specific posture sequence and is like vinyasa yoga, with each style connecting each movement to a breath. The sole difference is that Ashtanga adheres to the same poses and repeats the same order.


At least thirty years back, Bikram Choudhury built this 26-pose school of yoga, where classes were done in rooms with artificial heating. Just like Ashtanga, a Bikram class sequence never changes, but these yoga sequences are very unique from each other.


Hatha yoga is an overall term that refers to any kind of yoga that concentrates on physical positions or postures. Hatha yoga is what most Western yoga classes teach. When you find a class is marketed as Hatha, it means it is a class that will introduce you to the most basic yoga postures.


Overall, the sole difference between Bikram and hot yoga studios is that with hot yoga, Bikram’s sequence is modified somehow, therefore, it should get another name. The area will be heated and you will sweat a lot, so using mats and accessories particularly designed for hot yoga classes is a must.


S.Iyengar, this school of yoga is very punctilious, with huge attention devoted to finding the best alignment for a pose. Helping Iyengar students find proper alignment are a whole stock of yoga props, ranging from bolsters to blocks to chairs and everything else.


Restorative yoga is a great way to relax those nerves. Also called yin yoga, restorative classes make use of bolsters, blankets, and blocks to assist students into passive poses, allowing the body to enjoy the benefits of a pose not having having to put in any effort. A great restorative class is more revitalizing than a nap.


Vinyasa classes are popular for their smooth, movement-intensive style. Vinyasa teachers conduct their classes while ensuring smooth pose to pose transitions, with the intention of connecting breath to movement. It sure becomes confusing to pick the right yoga class when you’ve got all these choices in front of you. But by understanding each one and assessing your own needs, deciding should come much easier.

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