Main Types of Yoga and What They Are Used For

There are different types of yoga and you want to become a member of a class but as a beginner, which type should you choose? Yoga utilizes various poses called Asanas. Individual poses work your body muscles from head to toe and integrate meditation, deep breathing, and stretching. Ask yourself if you need a specific type of yoga that targets back pain, tension, or anxiety. Maybe all you want is to become better physically and mentally fit or make friends with similar interests. Knowing a few details about each yoga type will help you decide which is best tailored for you and your physical needs. Find a local yoga class, grab your yoga mat, and be prepared for a targeted and specialized workout experience!


If you are an amateur and want to begin the yoga experience at a slower, less physical pace, Hatha may be a good choice. Hatha integrates meditation, asana, and pranayama and is the basis of most yoga types. Pranayama yoga enhances the breathing process, increasing lung capacity and boosting the amount of oxygen circulating throughout the body. Asana movements develop muscle tone and balance by bending and stretching the body. The sitting Asana is a traditional, focused position for meditation. After a long, hectic day, participating in a yoga class is one option to reduce daily stress and provide an outlet to work on improving mental and physical health. 


This style of yoga is a good choice for advanced beginners who prefer steadier-paced yoga that moves naturally from one position to another. Vinyasa yoga can be somewhat slower-paced as you transition from one position to another and focus on meditation. Some of the popular names for the poses are the downward-dog, upward-dog, and plank pose. With practice, your body experiences better balance, especially while holding the plank pose. Tense muscles are better relaxed after a good yoga workout, while the body and mind are strengthened and revitalized. 


Iyengar yoga can be used as additional physical therapy after having sustained and recovered from a physical injury. Always check with a doctor before engaging in this or other types of yoga. Created and developed by I.K.S. Iyengar, this style of yoga promotes body strength, flexibility, and balance by properly aligning the body. Similar to Hatha yoga, Iyengar is slower-paced as positions are held longer. Students rest between poses and exercise at their own pace. New students use equipment such as soft bricks, sandbags, and stretch straps. 


Hot Yoga

Some like it HOT, and this is exactly what you get with this type of yoga. Hot yoga is just as it claims- hot. Give your muscles an extreme workout in a heated room that can range from 95 to 100-degrees. Hot yoga can be any type of yoga, the only difference is that you feel the heat while you work out. Heated muscles are more prone to injury, so if you choose this type of yoga, make sure you can handle it.

What makes yoga different from other exercises is how a person can work on more than one area of the body during a complete workout. Do you need additional physical therapy as you return from an injury? Iyengar yoga improves flexibility and strengthens the affected area. Most types of yoga focus on mental health, which is equally as important as physical health. There is always room for advancement in yoga and moving to another more intensive style such as hot yoga. Yoga instructors will not push a beginner beyond what he or she is physically capable of doing.

See if it is possible to sit in on a few yoga classes in your area, and choose the type that is right for your body.

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