Nine popular yoga styles explained

Learn nine different yoga styles which will benefit your health.

Yoga is a great way to keep fit, lose weight, improve mobility, while reducing anxiety and stress. Here’s nine different yoga styles explained to make your next class easier.

  1. Acroyoga

    A blend of yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage, AcroYoga is playful but deep. You build physical strength ‘trust’ so that you can ‘fly’ into airborne partner poses. Having a partner support your back, arms or feet can open tight areas, with massage techniques encouraging an even greater release.
  2. Ashtanga

    This is a physically demanding practice that uses a fixed sequence of poses developed by Indian yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois (1915–2000) and is taught worldwide. The entire sequence can take a lifetime to learn, but you’ll likely find plenty of challenge in the primary series, which is heavy on Sun Salutations, arm-strengthening Chaturangas and Ashtanga’s characteristic pick-ups and jump-backs.
  3. Bikram

    A Bikram class feels like a workout in a sauna as rooms are heated to 37 degrees. You leave soaked in sweat, but devotees of this practice swear by the set sequence of 26 poses (half standing, half on the floor) and the post-exercise euphoria it induces.
  4. Hatha

    The term Hatha refers to the physical practices of the yoga tradition. Technically, all asana classes can be labelled as Hatha, but in yoga studios, the term generally refers to a slower-paced class that teaches you how to align your body and work with your breath.
  5. Integral

    This gentle, physical yoga integrates chanting, breathing practices, meditation and deep relaxation. Founded by Swami Satchidananda (1914–2002), Integral Yoga teaches you the components of a yogic lifestyle and encourages you to enjoy your natural health, wellbeing and joy.
  6. Jivamukti

    In this physically and intellectually stimulating practice, you’ll flow with vigorous asana sequences (and a soundtrack of contemporary music). You’ll also explore Sanskrit chanting, philosophical teachings and meditation. Jivamukti’s founders, Sharon Gannon and David Life, are committed vegans and the school’s culture is infused with activist sentiment.
  7. Kundalini

    This is a unique blend of chant, movement and breathing practices. You’ll explore the kriyas, practices that combine mantra, breathwork and rapid movements, often repeated for several minutes, pushing you to your limit. Each class finishes with meditation, relaxation and a cheerful song.
  8. Power

    Power yoga is an intense workout that can help strengthen muscles and heat you up. Most Power classes are held in heated rooms. Even if the room is cool, the practice will build heat from the inside, helping you to go deeper into poses and work up a sweat. Classes usually incorporate flowing sequences of standing poses interspersed with long, challenging holds.
  9. Vinyasa

    Vinyasa (or flow) classes vary, but a common feature is the way poses flow, synchronised with the breath. Expect lots of Sun Salutations, which are usually a workout. If your teacher says “take a vinyasa”, they are using the word to refer to the sequence of Plank to Chaturanga to Up Dog (or Cobra) and, finally, to Down Dog.