Yoga Styles

There are many different yoga styles, but the differences are in the emphasis, rather than the practice.  There are three major yoga styles: Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Viniyoga.  The founders of all three were students of the same teacher, so all yoga styles share the same lineage. Within these major groups, there are several subgroups. Here's a brief overview of the different yoga styles:

Beginner Yoga Styles

Hatha: Best for beginners, Hatha yoga encompasses a broad spectrum of yoga, but is usually slower-paced and best suited for beginners. A gentle style of yoga, most people enjoy Hatha yoga.

Iyengar: Iyengar yoga focuses primarily on body alignment. By focusing intensely on body alignment, Iyengar yoga helps to avoid injury while maintaining the maximum benefits. This class is great for beginners; most Iyengar yoga classes use props such as blankets, blocks and straps to increase body alignment.

Viniyoga: This is a yoga style that emphasizes a holistic approach, and favors function over form.  This yoga style often includes meditation, reflection, and other introspective elements

Intermediate Yoga Styles

Vinyasa: With a strong emphasis on breath-synchronized movement, Vinyasa yoga is slightly more rigorous than Hatha or Iyengar, and usually incorporates a series of beginning Sun-salutations to increase blood flow throughout the body. Intense stretching is usually practiced throughout this class, as well.

Kundalini: Focusing on breathing in conjunction with body movements, Kundalini yoga style focuses on freeing energy from the lower body by allowing it to move up and outward. Although most yoga styles focus on breathing (asana), Kundalini yoga places a specific emphasis on breathing, posture, and energy (prana).

Experienced Yoga Styles

Ashtanga: This is the most physically demanding yoga styles and focuses on strength, flexibility, and stamina. An influencer of "power yoga", Ashtanga yoga moves quickly from one style to the next, creating a rhythmic flow of yoga poses. This is one of the most physically demanding forms of yoga - and one of the most beneficial.

Bikrim Yoga: Practiced in a room where the temperature ranges between 95 and 100 degrees, Bikrim yoga is a style of yoga that causes profuse sweating, therefore loosening tight or strained muscles. Traditionally, the Bikrim yoga style uses a set of 26 poses; however, many hot yoga classes incorporate a diverse set of non-traditional poses, as well. Not for the faint of heart, Bikrim yoga cleanses the body form the inside out.