Exploring the Top 10 Yoga Styles: From Bikram to Vinyasa, Yin, and Beyond

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

Lord shiva statue at Rishikesh yoga
Bairagi photography / Shutterstock.com

So, you have just thought about starting Yoga and are doing a bit of reading when suddenly you realize that Yoga is not just Yoga; there are various styles to choose from. Now what? Do not worry. This is a problem that most newbies are faced with when they first start toying with the idea of doing Yoga.

Therefore, I would love to share a few of the Yoga styles that I quite honestly think are the best. 

These are my top 10 types of Yoga.

  1. Hot Power Yoga,
  2. Iyengar Yoga,
  3. Yin Yoga,
  4. Restorative Yoga,
  5. Hatha Hot Yoga,
  6. Vinyasa Yoga,
  7. Kundalini Yoga,
  8. Ashtanga Yoga,
  9. Bikram Yoga,
  10. Jivamukti Yoga.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? That’s the thing about signing up for Yoga. Most people see the word “Yoga” and assume it is all the same. Just seeing a list of Yoga type names does not help much, does it? 

Knowing that there is a difference between Yoga styles and knowing what to expect from each style is actually quite important. Imagine arriving at a Yoga class that is completely out of your capabilities, or a class that you feel entirely uncomfortable or unprepared for! Let’s avoid that! 

To help you to choose the ideal type of Yoga for you, I have detailed a bit more information on each type below. 

1. Hot Power Yoga

First and foremost, Hot Power Yoga is great for weight loss. Its intended outcomes are improved balance, greater flexibility, improved muscle tone, and strength. 

Hot Power Yoga is a high-intensity form of Yoga that is practiced in a classroom or studio that is heated with infrared. While this type of Yoga is fun, it is extremely challenging and can be considered suitable as your cardio workout for the week.

Video source: TheWTBC / YouTube

2. Iyengar Yoga

This type of Yoga is a great go-to for stretching, toning, and injury recovery. Its intended outcomes are muscle strengthening, overall toning, alignment.

Iyengar Yoga is not very intense and focuses on slow, comfortable stretching. While the classes don’t focus on a lot of poses, the poses do need to be quite precise in order to achieve correct alignment. If you are the type that likes a sedate, meditative class – this one is for you.

Video source: YogaDownload.com / YouTube

3. Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga packs a bit of a punch and is ideal for people looking at improving flexibility and toning muscles. Its intended outcomes are quite impressive too and include relaxation, tension relief, toning, and shaping, as well as improved mobility in the pelvis, spine, and hips. 

There is nothing fast and energetic about Yin Yoga. This is one of the slower types of Yoga. Each pose is held for between 3 and 5 minutes. While it is slow and relaxed, it is also quite an intensive form of Yoga. Most people pair this Yoga with another sport such as running.

Video source: Yoga International / YouTube

4. Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga is just as the name implies: restorative. It is a great form of Yoga for de-stressing and ideal for those who want a form of non-strenuous exercise. Its intended outcomes are improved flexibility, strength building, and muscle toning 

This type of Yoga is very similar to Yin Yoga, except there are props used to provide support to the body. Props can be a variety of items such as blankets, rolled towels, or soft block equipment. The focus of this type of Yoga is to improve the flow of energy through the body and to the organs.

Video Source: LivestrongWoman / YouTube

5. Hatha Hot Yoga

If you are interested in detoxing and increasing muscle and joint flexibility, Hatha Hot Yoga is ideal. Its intended outcomes include improving overall strength and muscle tone.

Hatha Hot Yoga is another form of yoga done in a heated room, but this type is both challenging and slow. There are a variety of challenging poses, and most of the class is done in a standing position. The poses are very slowly transitioned and held for a few minutes at a time. Most people who want to detox the body and increase muscle strength opt for this type of Yoga.

Video Source: HotYogaofMillCreek / YouTube

6. Vinyasa Yoga

There’s no denying that Vinyasa Yoga will be absolutely great for your very first Yoga class. It’s simple and fun and has excellent outcomes, which include improved muscle strength and toning, increased flexibility, and relaxation.

Vinyasa is probably the most common form of Yoga practiced today. In fact, most commercial studios offering Yoga are focused on this particular type of Yoga. This type of yoga focuses on correct poses that are not held for particularly long. You will almost feel like you are moving consistently throughout the class. This is a good class to go to if you want a non-intensive introduction to the art.

Video source: YogaDownload.com / YouTube

7. Kundalini Yoga

This type of Yoga is undeniably great for meditation, deep relaxation, and stress relief. The intended outcomes are to reconnect with yourself and develop a mindful approach.

Kundalini Yoga is unlike other forms of Yoga because it is not particularly focused on holding poses. It is a style that is aimed at young and old as well as both genders. It is focused on a mindful workout which means that you will do more meditating than actual Yoga poses in a class. If you ever wondered what it means to “find your center”, attend a Kundalini Yoga class. 

Video source: expertvillage / YouTube

8. Ashtanga Yoga

This type of Yoga is specifically great for Yoga pros. If you have the skill and capability to twist yourself into a pretzel, then Ashtanga is for you! The intended outcomes of this type of Yoga include core strength building and overall muscle toning.

Ashtanga Yoga is not easy and certainly shouldn’t be your very first class if you have never tried Yoga before. Ashtanga is every bit as difficult and harsh on the body as it appears to be. It focuses on building a great deal of core strength that allows you to carry out some pretty impressive poses and transitions. This type of Yoga provides a full-body workout. While you should not start off in an advanced Ashtanga Yoga class, you should certainly aim to progress to it. 

Video source: Ventuno Yoga / YouTube

9. Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is absolutely great for detoxing, weight loss, and relaxation. The intended outcomes for this style of Yoga include muscle toning, improved energy flow, increased stamina.

Bikram Yoga is yet another kind of Yoga to sweat through in a heated room. In fact, the room is heated to a balmy 100 degrees. During the class, you will be faced with a series of about 26 challenging moves. This particular Yoga style is no for the faint-hearted. 

Video source: Bikram Yoga / YouTube

10. Jivamukti Yoga

If you are looking for a great form of meditation, this style of Yoga is a great option. Its outcomes are also focused on achieving a relaxed state of mind, centered approach, and getting a full-body workout. 

Jivamukti Yoga is actually an unusual form of Yoga. Classes involve chanting while carrying out Yoga poses. Students have both a physical and spiritual workout in a Jivamukti Yoga class.

Video source: AcaciaFitness / YouTube

Why Choosing the Right Yoga Style is Important

You might wonder why it is considered important to choose the right style of Yoga suited for you. The reasons are simple. Here are a few:

  • Choosing the right type of Yoga minimizes the potential risk of injury in a class. 
  • If you have any health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, a heated class can be dangerous for your health. 
  • People with previous injuries might struggle to keep up with the intense forms of Yoga.

Factors Affecting the Style of Yoga That’s Right for You

Of course, it comes down to more than just a list of Yoga styles when trying to choose which Yoga class is best for you. Below are a few factors that will and should affect your final choice:

  • The instructor. You need a knowledgeable instructor if you want to do Yoga right. They should also have sound knowledge of the type of yoga they teach. You can test them by asking a few questions. 
  • The atmosphere of the class space. Some people just don’t do well in crowded, stuffy, and hot spaces. Keep in mind that many Yoga classes are done in heated classrooms, so choose a class that won’t cause you any discomfort.
  • The cost. Some Yoga classes, especially the most common types, such as Vinyasa Yoga are aimed at the general public. You can usually find these classes advertised at gyms and studios, and they are often the most affordable. The Yoga styles that are very intensive and done in heated rooms may be more expensive to attend. Make sure that you check on the price differences between classes before you book.
  • Your intention and the intention of the class. If you sign up for Yoga because you are hoping for a good workout and inadvertently sign up for Jivamukti, which is largely focused on meditation; you aren’t going to enjoy your classes very much. Make sure that you learn more about the style of the class and what its focus and attention are, before you book. 
yoga instructor teaching paschimottanasana pose
Fizkes / Shutterstock.com

Last word

If you are thinking about doing a Yoga class, do a bit of more research into the various styles available to you, so that you can choose a style that best suits you and what you hope to get out of Yoga.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.