There are a lot of different types of yoga today, so if you are starting out and feeling confused, you are normal.
It is best to start with a type of yoga that is appropriate for your own level of fitness, physical and spiritual goals and health condition.

The 8 most common types of yoga are described in this article and briefly explained to help guide you in choosing the best type of yoga that you can start with.

Physical-Focused Types of Yoga
Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar yoga is focused solely on body alignment and executing precise movements. Yoga accessories such as blocks and straps are normally used by beginners who are not as flexible as the experts.

Yoga accessories help assist all sorts of people to be able to do the poses comfortably.

Because of its attention to details and the flexible modification of poses, Iyengar yoga is often considered a good form of exercise for people with neck or back pain, as they are likely to benefit from the random movement in the poses.

Practicing Iyengar yoga will give you a good knowledge on the classics in yoga poses so that whatever other style you eventually practice, you will have the basic fundamentals on how to do each position.

In Iyengar yoga the teacher focuses more on alignment and inner awareness. This awareness starts with the body and expands to other parts of the self as one continues to practice regularly

Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is commonly called “power yoga” because it is focused on a powerful flowing movement.
The movements include pushups and lunges, which deals with strength and stamina. Ashtanga yoga is best for people who have a strong back, or have successfully overcome back injuries and are looking for more challenging practice.
Athletic people such as runners, cyclists and gynmasts who wish to add more balance and concentration to their routines are also fans of Ashtanga yoga.

Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga is also known as the “hot yoga” because it is done in a very warm room. Bikram yoga is an excellent tool to increase flexibility because the heat helps you to stretch.
Keep in mind that Bikram yoga is not safe for anyone who has developed cardio vascular diseases, because vigorously exercising in the heat places strain placed on the body.

Mental-Focused Types of Yoga
Bhakti yoga: or commonly known as devotional yoga. Bhakti yoga focus on self surrender in the face of the divine, if you know what that means.

Mantra yoga: Mantra yoga is known as the “yoga of potent sound”. Mantra yoga aims at liberation through the verbal or mental repetition of empowered sounds, such as “om,” “hum,” and “ram.”

Viniyoga: Viniyoga yoga links breathe and movement in flowing exercises that are modified to each individual. Viniyoga is a good form of yoga for those with back problems or neck injuries because it can be easily adapted by everyone.

Raja Yoga: Raja yoga aims for liberation through meditation. Raja yoga is meant for those people who are capable of intense concentration.

As you can see, there are many types of yoga to choose from. It is a good idea to discuss the type of yoga practiced before engaging in any yoga class. In particular, learn which philosophy the teacher uses, so you’ll know if it will be a gentle, passive yoga, or a bone crunching form.

Both you and the teacher will be glad you knew what you were getting into, before the class begins.

Yoga is becoming a more and more popular activity in the Western world today. The number of places holding Yoga classes is on the increase and there is a plethora of different types of Yoga. With a choice of Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Power Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga and many more it can be easy to get confused

The article will help you to understand the difference between the most popular types of Yoga so you can choose which type is right for you.

Hatha Yoga – in Sanskrit (an ancient classical language of India) “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon”. This type of Yoga is relatively slow paced, gentle type of Yoga and is a good place to start if you are completely new to Yoga and don’t know any of the asanas (poses). Like all types of Yoga, Hatha Yoga aims to unite the mind, body and spirit.
Ashtanga Yoga – this is the type of Yoga that I practice on a regular basis and means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. It’s a fast moving, intense style of Yoga practice and is based on a progressive set sequence of asanas, synchronized with the breath. Ashtanga Yoga can be quite physically demanding as you constantly move from one asana in the sequence to the next, so you’ll find that it will improve your stamina as well as your flexibility and strength..

Power Yoga – this is a western interpretation of Yoga and is based on Ashtanga Yoga. A Power Yoga class may not necessarily stick to the exact sequence of poses like Ashtanga Yoga does, but it does involve practicing a series of poses without stopping and starting.

Iyengar Yoga – This type of Yoga is based on teachings by B.K.S Igengar and concentrates on the correct alignment and form of the body. Unlike Ashtanga Yoga, there is an emphasis on holding each pose for a long period of time rather than moving constantly from one pose to the next. Iyengar Yoga uses props such as blocks and straps to help align the body into the different poses.

Vinyasa Yoga – Vinyasa means breath synchronized movement and is another fast paced type of Yoga, with an emphasis on breathing. A practice typically starts with sun salutations and moves on to more intense stretching. Throughout the practice each pose is balanced with a counter pose.

Bikram Yoga – otherwise known as “Hot Yoga”, is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees, with a humidity of around 40%. Generally a sequence of 26 different poses is practiced during a Bikram Yoga class and the hot temperature helps to loosen muscles. Due to the high temperature most people sweat a lot during the class and this helps to cleanse the body of toxins.

If you’re just starting out or have never done any Yoga before, I recommend trying a few different types of yoga to find out what you like best.

Remember, there’s no rule that says you have to stick to one type of Yoga. I like Ashtanga Yoga best, but I also go to occasional Iyengar and Hatha Yoga classes for a bit of variety.