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19 types of Yoga and their characteristic

By Marry / March 6, 2016

19 types of yoga

Yoga was developed in India as a method to keep the mind quiet and prepare for meditation, with the last goal is to achieve enlightenment. Yogis have experienced various benefits. Therefore, Yoga nowadays is popular more and more over the world. There are also many different types of yoga. Some of yoga types are gentle and meditative while others push the body or are more athletic. And each type has its own benefit as well as advantage so it’s important to choose the most suitable type for your condition and your purposes.

19 types of Yoga and their characteristic

And here I would like to introduce types of Yoga and their characteristic.

19 types of Yoga and their characteristic

  1. Bikram Yoga

This practice is designed to create a fit body and mind, allowing the spiritual self to combine with the physical self. Rooms for these classes are heated to 105 degrees, each class consist of standing poses in 45 minutes and floor postures in 45 minutes with two breathing exercises. A study of healthy adults found that the strength and flexibility of participants were improved, and they also lost a small amount of body fat after practicing Bikram yoga three times per week for eight weeks. Besides, the benefit of releasing toxins by sweating is also mentioned as an advantage of this type. However, if you choose this type, you should know that sweating too much caused by the hot conditions of a Bikram yoga room can lead to dehydration and some symptoms like nausea, fainting or dizziness. In order to avoid these risks, you need have strong focus on hydration before and after class, as well as rest during class when necessary. People with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and some cardiac complications should check with their doctors before trying hot yoga.

  1. Vinyasa Yoga

This is considered as the most popular style of yoga in America. Vinyasa Yoga’s definition is as the combination between body movement and breath and covers a wide range of yoga classes. Each movement in the series is done as the same time with an exhalation or an inhalation. The poses run together smoothly like a dance. This practice is also called “Vinyasa flow” and designed to get your heart pumping and encourage finding the authentic personal power in your life to create peace of mind, freedom, make you live more powerfully. This is performed for 90-minute sequence in a heated room with the purpose for internal cleansing.  The heat which is created from yoga cleans and makes the blood thin for free circulation. The blood circulates freely around all the joints, getting rid of body pains. This physically challenging practice helps you solve philosophical and emotional challenges that arise in your life easily. I believe that the correct Vinyasa method is necessary to get the full benefits from yoga practice.


  1. Kundalini Yoga

This type of yoga is sometimes known as the Yoga of Awareness with an immediate effect. The major goal is to awaken kundalini energy leading to spiritual elevation, and start the transformation process through regular practice of pranayama, chanting mantra, meditation and yoga asana. In the other words, this practice awakens the creative spiritual potential of a human, speak truth, and focus on the consciousness and compassion to help others and strengthen immune system. Classes in 90-minute typically starts with chanting and finishes with singing with challenging breathing exercises during practice process. Breath aids to release, control and direct the flow of Kundalini energy from the lower energetic centers to the higher centers. The majority of the physical postures focus on spine and navel activity. And this is expected to have lots of work in “core” area.


  1. Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga” literally means eight limbs. Ashtanga Yoga is often called Power yoga. This type involves synchronizing a progressive series of postures with the breath to produce intense internal heat and detoxify muscles and organs through a profuse and purifying sweat. Its benefits are to improve circulation, keep a strong and light body, and a peaceful mind. There are 3 main components of Ashtanga Yoga. The first is Vinyasa which means movement system and breathing for internal cleansing. With each movement, there is one breath. The second is Tristhana. This means the three places of attention: breathing system, posture and gazing point which helps we control the senses and have a deep awareness of ourselves. And the last component is six poisons that surround the spiritual heart. When we practice yoga effectively, the heat created by this will burn away these poisons, and make our inner nature shines forth. By maintaining this practice with devotion and regularity, you can get steadiness of mind and body.

  1. Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar, is a form of Hatha Yoga. It often focuses on detail, alignment and precision in the performance of breath control (pranayama) and posture (asana). Only the combination of breathing techniques and certain poses can provide the expected positive effect. For beginners, the main objective of this is to understand the basic structure and alignment of the poses, and to have greater physical awareness, flexibility and strength. Iyengar Yoga often uses props, such as blocks, belts, and blankets to support perform asanas (postures). The props help beginners or participants to perform the asanas correctly, reduce the risk of strain or injury without several years of practice. Props also support injured, elderly, tired students to get the benefits of many asanas with less muscular effort. Through the asanas performance, it unites the body, mind and spirit for well-being and health.

  1. Anusara Yoga

Anusara Yoga is the successor of school of hatha yoga founded by an American-born yoga teacher in 1997. This has been very popular in Europe and Asia. He studied and taught Iyengar yoga before developing his own method that explains why Anusara also focus on alignment. Anusara classes are often positive, lighthearted, and fun. They include a lot of alignment work and vinyasa flow. Alignment principles of Anusara highlight Focal Points in the body: Pelvic Focal Point in the core of the pelvis, Heart Focal Point at the bottom of the heart and Upper Palate Focal Point at the roof of the mouth. In every pose, there is only one Focal Point being nearest the most weight-bearing part of the pose is active. Muscular Energy is drawn into this active Focal Point, and Organic Energy is extended out from it. Anusara encourages the use of props and allows students of differing abilities to access classes. This type of yoga is recommended for those who want to work both their spiritual and physical well-being.

  1. Restorative Yoga

After a long day of work, perhaps you want to quiet your mind and wind down. Restorative yoga is a good choice because it focuses on relaxation. Restorative yoga is completely different from most contemporary yoga. It slows down and opens the body through passive stretching. This type usually involves only five or six poses and is supported by props that allow you to completely rest and relax. It is performed for 5 minutes or more including light twists, gentle backbends and seated forward folds. Most of this practice is relied on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. This is really an excellent antidote to stress and good complement to more active practices.

  1. Jivamukti Yoga

It’s a combination of vinyasa flow sequencing with a vegetarian twist and chanting. Or in the other words, Jivamukti is an ethical, physical, and spiritual practice because this practice often focuses on an intellectual and physical stimulating with spiritual development. One of the major principles of Jivamukti Yoga is non-harming, and these classes often find the link between yoga and veganism, animal rights and activism. Jivamukti Yoga has been developed as the most chosen yoga style of many celebrities. There are six types of Jivamukti classes including Open, Basic, Beginner Vinyasa, Spiritual Warrior, In-Class Private and Meditation.

  1. Prenatal Yoga

You are an expectant mother and you have found a type of yoga that can help you. Prenatal yoga is right option. Research reported that prenatal yoga is safe for pregnant women and their babies as well as provide them with many benefits. This practice can Improve sleep, reduce anxiety and stress, Increase the essential strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles for childbirth. It also teaches you how to breathe deeply and relax, which is very useful when you have to face the birth. A regular yoga practice will show you how to relax instead of tightening up when you feel pain. Prenatal yoga can also help you meet other pregnant women and have well preparation about mental and physical to become a new parent.

  1. Forrest Yoga

Forrest yoga

Forrest Yoga was based on the practice of the east yoga, but has been applied for the western lifestyle. This hot, strong practice designed to help you deliver emotional and physical tension and pain, and welcome the strength of your own body. The practice combines deep emotional exploration with physically challenging sequences. This emphasizes on abdominal core work, and standing series with 20 poses on each side. Forrest Yoga does not require flexibility or strength. It only requires an authentic feel and honest response. The style is based on four principles: 1) Breath helps connect feeling with body. 2) Strength creates heat and promotes the senses through intense core sequences of poses. 3) Integrity teaches you to control each pose safely to work best for you, especially with emotional and physical injuries. By learning to work honestly, you can develop effective tools for yourself to deal with struggle and fear. 4. Spirit creates a feeling of freedom and courage to walk as your Spirit dictates.

  1. Integral Yoga

This is a gentle practice with chanting, deep relaxation, postures, breathing practices, and meditation. It is a combination of the different branches of Yoga. This combination aims for the harmonious development of every aspect of the individual. Integral Yoga focuses on bringing us back to our “natural condition” including strength and health, a calm and clear mind, a heart full of love and compassion, a pliable but strong will, a life with Supreme Peace and Joy. Success in this effort combines the human individual with the transcendental and universal Existence.

  1. Ishta Yoga

ISHTA is one of the pre-eminent yoga systems taught in the West nowadays. It stands for the Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda. It aims to create a stable and strong platform for spiritual growth through balancing the human organism. Classes include meditation with alignment-based vinyasa sequences, kriyas, Pranayama and to create specific energetic effects. Mission of ISHTA is to provide a personal yoga system that is neither dogmatic nor rigid. This allows the individual student to create the most suitable practice to her or his mental, physical and spiritual needs.

  1. Kripalu Yoga

The major purpose of this type is to awaken the flow of the natural life force which helps you develop in all aspects of your life. Even insignificant thought can block or disturb this flow of energy and create imbalance or even disease. Therefore, through pranayama, meditation, asana, and relaxation techniques, you learn how to observe the activity of the mind without judgment, develop a quiet mind and take what is learned into daily life. Thanks to this, energy is freed, blockages begin to dissolve and healing can happen on different levels. With Kripalu Yoga, your body is as the temple where you invoke the presence of the divine. This can bring you to new depths of your practice as well as your life.

  1. ParaYoga

Para means supreme, highest, ancient, the culmination of all effort. This practice allows students to access to the complete spirit, power, and tradition of Yoga and unlock the vast potentials of your mind, body, and spirits to help you touch your best life. Classes include challenging asanas with an emphasis on the practices of meditation, pranayama, bandhas and mudras. Although this has ancient roots, ParaYoga practice is easily accessible for all levels of students. You have had several experience years or just are new student, you’ll quickly discover why ParaYoga can help to reshape and enrich the way people practice yoga.

  1. Prana Flow Yoga

The class is a near-continuous motion exercise and encompasses many of the other yoga styles including chanting, mudra, bandha, pranayama, meditation, kriya, asana and a lot of fun. Sequences are often accompanied by music that guarantees to open your heart, raise your vibration and set your mind free. These sequences also combine with elements of dance and moving meditation. This is an active yoga style.

  1. Purna Yoga

Classes consist of asana, incorporation of yogic philosophy, and adherence to the alignment principles of Iyengar Yoga. Short meditations are used to begin and end class in order to connect participants with the heart center. Purna Yoga use a wide variety of effective and inspiring techniques to address our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Another aim of this type is to unite the mind and body with the spirit.

  1. Sivananda Yoga

This yoga style is more spiritual practice than physical exercise. Each class focuses on 12 core poses which were carefully selected including inversions, forward bends, backbends, twists, balances, and hamstring stretches. This is combined with pranayama practices, Sanskrit chanting, meditation, and relaxation in 90-minute. This practice is designed to transform and develop human consciousness. Sivananda Yoga focuses on five primary points for optimal health and spiritual growth of yoga: proper breathing, proper exercise, proper diet, proper relaxation, and positive meditation and thinking. The aim of this practice is to promote mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

  1. Svaroopa Yoga

Classes begin and end withSavasana and often focus on releasing tension in the deep spinal muscles from the tailbone up to the entire spine. Poses are practiced in obvious alignments. Students can use props to support and meet their individual needs. As I know, there are no other yoga styles which have the same focus too much on releasing spinal tension as this manner. Many tried or even forced to have the picture-perfect pose that often leads to overstretching and possibly injuring muscles and ligaments.

  1. Yin

This practice is a quiet, meditative yoga type which is also called as taoist yoga. Yin aims to lengthen connective tissues around the joints. Poses of Yin are passive involving variations of supine and seated poses typically held for 3 to 5 minutes that means you relax your muscles and let gravity do the work. This practice is designed to allow you to sit longer, and more comfortably. Therefore, you can also practice patience here.

Although there are more other types of Yoga but these 19 top types of Yoga is my research basing on my experience as well as summarizing information of many other websites. I tried to explain them in easiest way, and hope that will make you easier and happier on your yoga road.


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