Vinyasa. Hatha. Ashtanga. Restorative. Yin. You’ve likely heard these names thrown around when people talk about yoga classes or yoga trends, but do you really know what each type of yoga is? Fear not, we’re here to help. We’ll breakdown these five types of yoga for you, so you can be informed about which practices are best suited for you, your goals, and your lifestyle.
Sometimes referred to as “Flow” yoga, Vinyasa classes are best known for the way their instructors pace the classes so that participants transition smoothly from one pose to the next. The intention behind this is linking your movements to your breathing so both are in sync. Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word that roughly translates to “arranging in a special way,” referring to the “arrangement” of poses you complete.
This is a more generic form of yoga since it refers to almost any type of yoga where multiple poses are taught. When a class dubs itself as Hatha yoga, it just means that you will be introduced to many basic yoga poses—so it’s a great class for beginners. You won’t burn too many calories or work up a sweat, but you’ll feel looser, more stretched out, and more relaxed after participating.
Based on ancient yoga teachings, this rigorous form of yoga follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to Vinyasa, in that each movement links to the next, and stays in sync with your breathing. The difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga is that you perform the same poses in the same order each and every time you practice Ashtanga whereas Vinyasa may mix and match these poses in a different sequence for each class.
So-called because it’s meant to relax and restore your mind-body balance. Restorative yoga uses cushions, mats, bolsters, or yoga blocks to prop you into poses so you reap the benefits of a pose without having to exert the effort of holding the pose yourself. This form of “passive posing” is good for those who want peace of mind but lack the energy to commit to more demanding forms of yoga…especially after a long week.
This style of yoga seeks to regulate the flow of energy in your body through subtle moves and meditation. With Yin yoga you will need to be comfortable with feelings, sensations, and emotions—because this yoga practice seeks to bring these to the forefront. So much so, in fact, that Yin yoga is often used in programs that help those dealing with addiction, anxiety or trauma.
Practicing yoga for just ten minutes a day is likely to give you incredible benefits. Pick the practice that suits you, and try it out! You may just find that you can’t finish your day without it.