10 Different Types Of Yoga & Their Benefits (Yoga Exercises)

A lot of people assume that yoga isn’t for them, either after trying just one class or before trying any yoga at all. The thing that these people don’t realize is that there are many different types of yoga and their benefits to try, and even if one yoga type isn’t for you, another might be the perfect addition to your fitness routine.  

There are so many yoga fitness trends going on right now, and each one of these trends offers a different set of benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about yoga and what it can do for you, check out this guide to the different types of yoga and their benefits.  

Yoga is a mind and body practice. The word itself means union because it quite literally unites the mind with the body. Yoga has been around for at least 5,000 years and got its start somewhere in northern India, but in the past few decades, yoga has become much more embraced in the western world.  

In addition to the meditative aspects of yoga, the practice consists of many different types of yoga poses that help with strength, endurance, flexibility, and stamina. In terms of its general health benefits, here’s what you can expect from incorporating a regular yoga practice into your life:  

  • Improved flexibility  
  • Better stability and balance 
  • Improved abdominal and core strength 
  • Enhanced total body strength (yoga targets every muscle group) 
  • Improved digestion and better weight control 
  • Increased energy levels and a boost in immunity 
  • Reduced stress and anxiety 
  • Greater ability to find inner peace and tranquility 
  • Improved cardiovascular (heart) health 
  • Reduced muscle/joint strain 
Yoga At Sunrise

10 Different Types Of Yoga And Their Benefits To Your Body

When it comes to the different types of yoga workouts to try, your yoga practice can range from slow and meditative to fast-paced and powerful. The type you go for depends on what you’re looking for in terms of mental and physical health.  

If you’re wondering how many types of yoga there are, check out this list of 10 different types of yoga and how they can benefit the mind and body: 

1. Jivamukti Yoga 

This type of yoga is considered a "way of life," and it's a practice that can be applied in everyday life. Not only does it include the physical aspects of yoga, but also ethics and spirituality. The core of Jivamukti Yoga is mindfulness and learning how to be mindful of your surroundings and environment.  

There are 5 factors involved in Jivamukti, including Shastra (scripture), Bhakti (devotion), Ahimsa (non-harming), Nada (music), and Dhyana (meditation). In a typical class, you’ll start by setting an intention for your practice, followed by chanting and breathwork. Then you’ll move onto Vinyasa (flow) movements, and end with a short meditation.  

2. Vinyasa Flow 

Vinyasa Flow is probably the most popular type of yoga right now. Depending on the teacher, the class can be fast and powerful or slower-paced with gentle movements. Whichever one it is, the idea behind Vinyasa is that every movement is linked to your breath.  

Vinyasa is all about connecting each movement with either an inhale or an exhale. Most classes start with a slow warmup to get the body ready, then move into more challenging poses, ending with a final resting pose (Savasana). Many Vinyasa classes are practiced in hot studios, but this isn’t always the case.  

3. Ashtanga Yoga 

Ashtanga, also called Power Yoga, is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to build strength and gain muscle. This is a classic yoga style that has been around for ages, but many instructors put a contemporary twist on the class structure.  

Similar to Vinyasa, Ashtanga is all about linking movement with breath, but the movements are more defined than they are in Vinyasa. Beginners start with the primary series of poses, then move on to more challenging postures.  

4. Bikram Yoga 

Bikram is all about heat. A Bikram Yoga class is around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and the room is usually maintained around 40% humidity. The main focus of Bikram is to sweat it all out, and in this high temperature and humidity, you will! 

Bikram poses have a lot of similarities to the Vinyasa style, but it is a much more choreographed practice. There are a total of 26 postures that you’ll go through in a sequence, and each one challenges different parts of the body.  

5. Hatha Yoga 

Hatha is often referred to as the “mother of all yoga," and all types of yoga actually use Hatha as the inspiration. There are many types of Hatha Yoga practices to choose from since every practice technically falls under the Hatha category.  

Traditionally, Hatha classes are slower in pace and have no structured sequence. It focuses on the basic poses and postures, so it’s a great choice for beginners who are new to yoga. Even more advanced yogis can benefit from Hatha since it allows you to unwind, destress, and get back to the basics.  

6. Iyengar Yoga 

Iyengar is all about the alignment of the body. Every single pose is intense and deliberate, and the focus is to expand on each posture as you breathe. You’ll be holding each one for a while, so it’s common to incorporate yoga props like straps, bolsters, blankets, and straps.  

If you consider yourself a calculated person and you want to get into the nitty-gritty of each yoga pose, Iyengar is for you. It’s also a top pick if you’re looking to improve your flexibility and balance.  

7. Kundalini Yoga 

Kundalini is rooted in the Chakras, which are various points along the midline of the body that directly correlate to specific nerve groups and organs. There is a lot of breathwork - also called pranayama - in Kundalini practice, and the focus is to open the mind and awaken the body.  

This type of yoga is probably the most spiritual. You can expect chanting, meditation, mantras, mudras, and breathing as you perform physically demanding poses.  

8. Anusara Yoga 

If you’re looking for an upbeat form of yoga that is all about uplifting the soul, Anusara is the one for you. Anusara is also commonly referred to as the "celebration of the heart." Although it has only been around since the late 1990s, it's extremely popular for anyone who needs to do some soul searching.  

9. Yin-Yoga 

Yin Yoga is unlike any other type of yoga practice in the fact that it is focused on putting stress on the connective tissues of the body. You do this by holding each pose for 3 to 5 minutes, which is great for increasing circulation and improving flexibility.  

Most Yin classes are practiced in a heated room since heat helps to expand the muscles, allowing them to stretch further than they’d normally go. Don’t be surprised if many of the poses in Yin start out as uncomfortable, and then slowly start to feel more natural - even pleasant.  

10. Kali Ray Tri Yoga 

Tri Yoga is a practice that was founded by a woman named Kali Ray. This type combines asana (posture), pranayama (breath), and mudra (mental focus). The main focus is on spinal alignment and movement, and eventually, the goal is to reach prasara (flowing without thought). 

Yoga Class Stretching

Different Types Of Yoga Meditation 

Meditation is a major aspect of any strong yoga practice. While some classes don’t incorporate much meditation, the practice of yoga as a whole has a lot to do with calming the mind, and that’s what meditation is all about.  

What many people don’t realize is that there are several types of meditation to choose from. Each one can bring something new to your yoga practice, so try out all 3 of these yoga meditations before or after practicing the different postures:  

  • Mindfulness (Awareness) Meditation   
    Mindfulness meditation is focused on developing a deep sense of awareness. Many people describe it as the meditation of the 5 senses since one of the most common ways to practice mindfulness is to focus on what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Mindfulness meditation is a great thing to practice in your everyday life, but it’s especially useful in yoga as you check in with your mind and body to evaluate how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally.  
  • Breath Awareness Meditation   
    This form of meditation is all about drawing awareness to your breath - that’s it. All you have to do is focus on each inhale and exhale. Your mind is very likely to wander after a few breaths, and this is completely OK, but do your best to bring your attention back to your breath and let all other thoughts drift away.  
  • Mantra Meditation/Koan Meditation   
    Mantra meditation - also called Koan meditation - is a more advanced practice that can be very challenging. The premise behind this is to have your mind follow a story or anecdote and to do so without judgment. Because this is more advanced, it’s best to follow along with a teacher or guide.  
Yoga Women Breathing

Different Types Of Yoga Breathing 

Even though some types of yoga put a greater emphasis on breathwork than others, your breath should always be a focus of your yoga practice. Take Vinyasa as an example; this type of yoga is centered around connecting your movement with each breath, which can be very powerful.  

Just like meditation, there are several types of yoga breathing that each serve a different purpose. This breathwork, also called pranayama, allows you to deliberately change the way you inhale and exhale to help you with whatever pose you're in.  

The literal Sanskrit translation of prana is "life force," and yama means "to control." By breathing in and out in a specific pattern, you're able to control your life force and experience a number of different benefits.  

Here are the 5 most beneficial types of pranayama breathing in yoga:  

1. Dirga Pranayama

This is the practice of taking complete breaths, and it is done in 3 parts. Start by inhaling through your nose to fill your belly, then continue inhaling to fill your chest, and finally finish the inhale to fill your lower neck region.

As you exhale, start by expelling the air from your neck, then your chest, and finally your belly. This breathing is meant to relax you, and it’s great for more passive yoga poses. 

2. Ujjayi Pranayama

Also called "warrior's breath," Ujjayi is the practice of breathing in and out through your nose, but your exhale should be more forced than normal. You can do this by pushing the air up through the back of your throat as you exhale, making an "h" sound while your lips remain sealed. 

3. Bhramari Pranayama

Bhramari, also called "bee breath," involves making a humming sound with each exhale. The humming is meant to relax and focus you, so this breath is useful if you're having trouble concentrating while practicing yoga. 

4. Kapalbhati Pranayama

As you exhale with this next pranayama, you’ll make your breath short and forceful to energize the body. The goal is to force air out of your body as fast as possible, and you can do this by contracting your abs as you exhale. Inhales should come naturally, but give your exhale as much force as possible. 

5. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Nadi Shodhana is a method of alternate-nostril breathing. It’s great for preparing your mind for meditation or challenging yoga poses. You’ll start by placing the tips of your ring finger and pinky finger of the right hand on the left nostril, and the tip of your thumb over your right nostril.

Close the left nostril with your ring and pinky finger and exhale through the right nostril, then breathe in through the right nostril. After your inhale is complete, close your right nostril with your thumb, and exhale through the left nostril. You’ll continue to alternate sides until you've done at least 10 breaths with each nostril.

Sunset Yoga Dual Pose

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Who can perform yoga? 

Just about anyone can do yoga - that’s the beauty of starting a yoga practice! Yoga is known for its gentle movements, so even if you’re suffering from chronic pain or muscle strain, there’s a very good chance that yoga can help.  

Who cannot perform yoga? 

The only reason not to do yoga is if you have been specifically advised against it by a doctor or healthcare professional. If you've suffered from an injury, make sure to tell your yoga teacher before the class so they can provide you with safe modifications for each pose.  

Which type of yoga burns the most calories? 

Because it’s fast-paced and generally done in a hot yoga studio, Vinyasa generally burns more calories than other types of yoga.  

How many times a week should you do yoga? 

This is completely up to you. Some people prefer to do just 1 or 2 yoga classes to reset the mind and body, while others like to practice every single day.  

How long do you have to do yoga to see results? 

This depends on the results you’re looking for. However, if you’re hoping to gain flexibility and balance, it’s likely that you’ll see results within a couple of weeks.  

What is the best time to do yoga? 

It’s best to practice yoga early in the morning, ideally before you eat breakfast. If you’re an early bird, consider doing a sunrise yoga session to start your day off on the right foot.  


Conclusion

Whether you’re interested in the most popular types of yoga like Vinyasa flow or you’re looking for a traditional Bikram or Kundalini class, there are many reasons to try yoga 

Yoga is an amazing mind and body workout, and even if you prefer weight lifting or running, adding yoga to a fitness regimen can benefit anyone.  

Last Updated on August 20, 2021