There exist many different styles of yoga depending on the different techniques involved during its practice. So, it becomes difficult to choose which style is most appropriate for your body type and which style will give you the desired results you want to achieve through yoga practice. Yoga provides various physical and mental benefits such as improving your immunity, flexibility, reducing stress and anxiety, improving overall physical fitness, and mental health.
As the yoga has recently gained much popularity in mainstream fitness and wellness regime, there has emerged many different variations and styles of yoga. All these yoga styles have different variations, techniques, and focus points, giving different benefits. With so many options available it is always better to first question yourself what benefits you want to gain in a yoga practice: Are you looking for a body strengthening exercise, athletic workout, or want to have a gentler approach, enhance your beauty, or want to have a calming and relaxing effect, or have a sweaty workout? Once you find out the correct answer it becomes easy for you to choose the right yoga style.
Always keep in mind that all these styles are somehow interconnected and there may exist diversity in teaching approaches within each discipline. Here is given the list of 6 most popular styles of yoga according to experts and their benefits for your overall wellness and fitness.
List of most popular styles of yoga and their benefits-
1. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is, first of all, concentrating on the practice of postures( Asanas) & breath control( pranayama) to energize subtle channels( nadies). Hatha yoga is traditionally associated with the Nath Sampradaya in India. In Sanskrit the word “Hatha” means the force, thus involves a system of physical techniques. Its practice involves body, mind, and breath. Traced back to the first century, mentioned in both Hindu and Buddhist scripts and literature the use of yoga asanas or postures, and breathing awareness and control techniques involve a way to enhance vital life energy. It is a complete set of asanas, pranayama or breathing exercises, mudras and hand gestures, and meditation for personal and spiritual growth. Today, Hatha yoga is widely recognized for both as a physical and spiritual practice for mind-body healing.
Benefits of hath yoga:
- Stress and anger management
- Mind and body awareness
- Beats depression and emotional turbulence
- Improved sleep quality
- Improves balance and induces healthy living habits
- Reduces menopause symptoms
- Relieves muscle pain and arthritis
2. Ashtanga Yoga
It is a modern approach to classical Indian yoga. This style of yoga is energetic and involves synchronization of breath with body movements. “Ashtanga” in Sanskrit literally means the eight limbs- mentioned by Patanjali sutras as Yam, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. It is an intensive athletic practice. It’s dynamic, physically demanding practice collaborated with breathing techniques produces an internal heat, that purifies the body. It is great for toning your body and especially strengthening the core build. Ashtanga style is known for quick transitions and challenging poses. The students need to transition from one pose to another with a quicker pace and holding time is also less than the Hath practice.
Benefits of Ashtanga yoga:
- Increases flexibility over time
- Builds the core strength
- Reduces body fat and helps to tone the muscles
- Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces stress, anxiety and improves focus and concentration
3. Iyengar yoga
Considered as one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world B.K.S. Iyengar is the founder of this yoga style. It is considered as a type of Hath yoga focusing on alignment as well as the union of mind, body, and soul. It is designed to be suitable for all ages and abilities. It is the purest form of yoga combined with pranayama where the precision is given to the body alignment. Iyengar yoga is the world’s most well-known and most practiced style of yoga. Iyengar yoga teachers and instructors are well experienced in helping the students to reach the students to their own level in each posture. Yoga props are always useful here to attain the final posture in asana. Though it is far slower-paced than the other forms and styles of yoga you need to work hard.
Benefits of Iyengar yoga:
- It Improves body posture
- Gives a good stretch to your whole body
- Strengthens and tones the muscles
- Encourages you to focus on your body during practice and thus good for improving concentration
- Improves the blood circulation
- Enhances the functioning of digestion, nervous and lymph system
4. Vinyasa yoga
Vinyasa is a Sanskrit word, Vi, meaning the ‘variation’ and Nyasa suggesting- ‘within prescribed parameters’. Vinyasa is generally referred to as the “flow”, from one form to another. It is a modern style of yoga with an asana movement like a fluid, doing them one after the other like a flow of a fluid combined with controlled breathing. Vinyasa yoga is often non-repetitive with each class having different sequences each day. T Krishnamacharya has the largest influence on how the vinyasa style of yoga is performed today. There are many ways to vinyasa from rapid to slow.
Benefits of Vinyasa yoga:
- It improves endurance and strength training
- Increases flexibility
- Induces proper breathing
- Helps in body detoxification
- Cardiovascular benefits
5. Power yoga
Power yoga is a form of vigorous, fitness-based approach towards vinyasa yoga. It is generally closely modeled on the ashtanga style of yoga. It involves the athletic approach of ashtanga yoga, including a series of yoga sequences performed alike in vinyasa yoga, but giving the flexibility to teachers to consider their own approach about the order of sequence, making each class unique. Ashtanga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois has an immense contribution to this style. If you choose the power yoga style to be ready to work hard and to work up a sweat.
Benefits of Power yoga:
- Helps to burn a lot of calories
- Builds strength, tones muscles and body
- Gives a boost to metabolism
- Considerably reduces the stress and tension
- Detoxifies and regulates hormones
- Improves blood circulation and reduces weight
6. Kundalini yoga
It is a divine form of yoga, that stimulates your feminine energy based at the base of the spine, at Muladhara. It incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and chanting of mantras. It gives you a feeling like you have gone to the therapy, had an awesome workout, allowing the person to achieve their maximum creative potential.
Benefits of Kundalini yoga:
- Helps to develop an inner guidance
- Establish a deep inner connection
- Increases positive energy
- Increases well-being and mindfulness
- Control over emotions