Which Yoga Suits Me? 10 Yoga Styles in Comparison

1. Hatha Yoga – holistic & powerful

Hatha Yoga is probably the best known and most traditional form of the numerous types of yoga. In this yoga form, the balance between body and mind is sought. You can accomplish this with precise body postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation (dhyana) and deep relaxation (savasana).

In Hatha Yoga, the positions are taken slowly and held for a comparatively long time. In general, in a Hatha Yoga lesson, your body will be stretched, aligned, stabilized and strengthened, while at the same time being trained in your balance, body awareness, your ability to focus and focus, and your self-retreat.

Through the gentle exercises and the use of yoga aids, the body-oriented training is particularly suitable for beginners and untrained, as well as for anyone who seeks more connection to his own body.

2. Vinyasa Yoga – dynamic & physical

Vinyasa, also known as Vinyasa Flow Yoga, is a powerful and dynamic yoga style in which the various asanas (bodily postures) merge smoothly into one another and are combined with the conscious perception of the breath. This yoga style lives on the constant change in stretching and strengthening positions which are fluently linked.

Vinyasa courses can be quite strenuous and difficult and usually involve sun salutations, with the movements always synchronized with the breath. Of course, beginner courses are designed so that you can compete as a normal athletic person. Vinyasa especially strengthens the concentration and flexibility of beginners and later, as the exercises become more complex, more strength, stamina and mindfulness are trained. The progress of the movement, the more advanced the yoga class is, the more fluent and varied the movements.

This yoga style is particularly suitable for people who like a dynamic, athletic yoga practice and enjoy the movement.

3. Bikram Yoga / Hot Yoga – athletic & sweaty

Bikram Yoga is trendy and probably one of the most popular yoga styles worldwide. The series is named after the Indian athlete Bikram Choudhury, who has brought 26 simple but challenging Hatha Yoga exercises in combination with 2 breathing exercises in an effective sequence. Unlike most types of yoga, Bikram does not have a holistic approach that aims for a combined effect on the body, mind and soul.

The Bikram Yoga series is designed so that each exercise optimally prepares the body for the next exercise. During the 90-minute yoga routine your entire organism is addressed, through compression and stretching your internal organs massaged and your glandular system stimulated. By repeating the exercises, you can progress quickly.

Bikram Yoga is practiced under hot conditions – the high room temperature of about 40 ° Celsius and a humidity of about 40% allow you to stretch your musculoskeletal system very intensively, increase your flexibility, improve your condition and detoxify your body. In addition, your sense of balance will be improved and your back strengthened. Bikram Yoga is brand protected and therefore mostly known in this country as Hot Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is suitable for anyone who gets along well with heat. People with circulatory problems should check with their doctor before a Bikram lesson. Especially for beginners, the entry is easy, because the sequence of exercises is always the same. No previous experience is necessary.

4. Yin Yoga – calm & deep

Yin Yoga is a meditative, slow and passive yoga style with a tremendous depth effect. It’s all about relaxing in the asanas (postures) and letting the breath flow freely to find inner peace and release subliminal tensions and blockages in the body.

Most positions are practiced while lying down and sitting and kept passive for a long time (3-6 minutes). The muscles are relaxed and the body stays calm. As a result, your more compact connective tissue structures around the joints can be safely stimulated.

Because of the long stay in the individual Yin Yoga poses, your deep connective tissue (fascia) will be stretched and your joints opened. On a physical level, Yin Yoga preserves and promotes your natural mobility, which regresses with age. At the energetic level, the meridian system of your body is stimulated and the energy flow (chi) in your body is harmonized.

Yin Yoga is the perfect complement to dynamic and powerful yoga styles like Vinyasa and Ashtanga and prepares your body and mind for meditation.

This calm yoga style is particularly suitable for you, if you are limited in your mobility, want to learn to let go and to experience a deep self-awareness and relaxation.

5. Iyengar Yoga – precise & effective

Iyengar Yoga is a method developed and refined by the influential yoga master BKS Iyengar in years of work. This yoga style has a therapeutic approach and is a practical exercise method that is characterized by absolute precision in the exercise of individual postures. Workers use a variety of yoga tools such as blocks, straps, pillows, blankets, and chairs to guide students into alignment.

Breathing and mind, long-held asanas (postures) and a calming awareness are the essence of this famous yoga method of the famous Indian guru UCS The Hatha yoga exercises integrate your whole body, encompassing both lying, powerful standing and sitting postures as well as forward, backbends, Reversal postures and rotational postures as well as exercises for relaxation and regeneration. Devotion and attention to detail and a perfect alignment are always very important, as well as special breathing techniques (pranayama).

In Iyengar yoga, there is no fixed sequence of yoga postures that are repeated at each lesson in the same way. Instead, individual exercises are selected from a large repertoire of attitudes as well as specific ways of working and variations and brought into a meaningful and harmonious order depending on the theme or focus of the yoga class.

The use of aids allows anyone, even physically or physically handicapped persons, older and weaker people, as well as immobile students to perform the exercises effectively and accurately. Iyengar Yoga is great for both beginners and advanced, as the asanas are very extensive.

6. Sivananda Yoga – holistic & spiritual

Sivananda Yoga is named after the founder Swami Sivananda Saraswathi. In this classic and holistic yoga practice several yoga styles are integrated. The goal is to achieve and maintain the combination of the five pillars of asana (yoga practice), pranayama (breathing exercises), deep relaxation as well as vegetarian diet, positive thinking and mediation, mental and physical health.

You can imagine a Sivananda Yoga lesson more calmly and relaxed, while at the same time awakening your energies and harmonizing your body and mind.

In contrast to many modern yoga styles, a Sivananda Yoga lesson consists of mediation, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises and mantras in addition to body postures, and the final relaxation is not neglected. Some Western yogis are therefore irritated at their first Sivananda hour, find it too esoteric or spiritual. Others appreciate the holistic approach of tradition.

Sivananda Yoga is ideal for those who value a holistic approach and want to include body, mind and soul in the yoga practice.

7. Ashtanga Yoga – purist & disciplined

The Sanskrit term “Ashtanga” translated means “eight members” and thus refers to the eight-limbed path of Patanjali. Of all the yoga styles he is considered the hardest and hardest. Purists swear by him, others are too strict and exhausting. But undisputed Ashtanga is one of the most important classical yoga methods.

Ashtanga yoga is a very physical way of doing yoga. Sometimes very difficult exercises are carried out in flowing vinyasa style in harmony with the breath. 

The Ashtanga Yoga system consists of six, increasingly heavy series. Most of the six are taught only the first series. Only after one series is fully mastered, you practice the next. Since the series are all very demanding, there are not many people beyond the second series. For a balanced yoga practice, the first series called Yoga Chikitsa (meaning “Yoga Therapy”) is often sufficient. This series consists of a fixed sequence of positions composed of sun salutations, standing positions, a middle section and the final sequence. Each movement is initiated by inhalation or exhalation, and each position is held for a fixed number of breaths. Once the process has been learned, the practice of meditation can start moving.

Ashtanga yoga is traditionally taught in the so-called Mysore style, with the yoga teacher walking around and assisting but giving no general directions. So private lessons in a group atmosphere. In the process, you gradually learn the Ashtanga sequence so that you can practice it independently at some point. Independent practice has the advantage that you are less distracted and it is also easier that you can really concentrate on yourself and your own practice. In addition to the Mysore style, there are also LED classes, in these yoga classes body postures and breath are announced.

Ashtanga Yoga is for disciplined people who like clear rules and instructions and do not feel like having a softening program.

8. Jivamukti Yoga – musical & challenging

Jivamukti Yoga is a modern and dynamic form of Hatha Yoga that is physically and intellectually challenging as well as stimulating. This popular yoga style from New York was founded in the 1980s by American artist couple Sharon Gannon and David Life.

The yoga classes include strengthening and flowing body postures. In addition, stimulating music, singing of mantras (chanting), meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), individual hands-on assistance and yoga-philosophical instruction always play an important role. In order for the yoga classes to be inspiring, the sequences are very varied and creatively designed and different from hour to hour.

Jivamukti Yoga is for people who want to live out the spiritual background in addition to the classical yoga a little more. It should lead to more awareness, courage and strength. But you have to be reasonably fit and agile, because Jivamukti is also one of the more strenuous types of yoga.

9. Kundalini Yoga – conscious & energizing

Kundalini Yoga, also known as the “Yoga of Consciousness”, was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan from northern India in the late 1960s. In this dynamic, playful form of yoga, physical exercises are combined with relaxation techniques, mantras are sung and meditated.

A Kundalini Yoga class usually involves dynamic exercises, in which the energy in the body is activated and made to flow through various yoga positions and breathing exercises. Kundalini Yoga cultivates joyful power, agility and a clear mind. If you are strongly challenged in everyday life, you can experience the opposites of strength building and letting go, as well as of energy charge and relaxation during the exercises. Breathing, a conscious body awareness and mindfulness are always in the foreground.

Kundalini Yoga is suitable for yogis and yoginis of all ages, as the postures are simple and you do not have to stretch or stretch. There is no special physical fitness or mobility required and requires no prior knowledge of other yoga directions.

10. Anusara Yoga – heart opening & thought out

Anusara Yoga is a modern and still relatively young yoga style from the USA and was founded in 1997 by the American John Friend. Anusara means “flow with grace” and attaches particular importance to a precise orientation of the yoga postures. In this kinematics are mainly focused on physically demanding and strengthening exercises that open the chest and thus the heart.

The yoga teacher often picks up on a philosophical topic and then transfers it to everyday life. The theme is the focus of the yoga class. In addition to the opening of the heart, Anusara Yoga focuses on the anatomy and the feeling of being in an exact alignment. With the help of biomechanics and bioenergetics, John Friend developed extremely precise alignment principles. These are intended to help prevent and reduce injuries and postural damage.

Anusara Yoga is particularly suitable for newcomers, as you slowly, with precision and peace, approaching each yoga position and the exact alignment also minimizes the risk of injury. I would recommend Anusara Yoga to anyone who not only wants to go through life more positively and find their own center, but also loves physical movements with flowing elements.

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