Which Yoga Style is Right for You?

on March 2, 2015

Which Yoga Style is Right For You?

Think all yoga classes are created equal? Think again. The general practice of yoga encompasses a broad range of styles, each with a unique feel, personality and flavor. There's Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Power Yoga-the list goes on and on. To help you find your perfect match, we offer a helpful cheat-sheet for decoding the different yoga styles you might encounter. From upbeat and challenging to slow-paced and meditative, you're bound to find something for you!


Vinyasa Yoga

Good for: Fit individuals who want to build strength, flexibility, and stamina while blasting stress.

What to expect: Also called "flow yoga," Vinyasa is one of the most popular styles of yoga today. The classes consist of a fast-paced series of smooth, almost dance-like movements that are synchronized to the breath. The sequence of poses varies from class to class, but expect a lot of Sun Salutations and Warrior flows.


Power Yoga

Good for: Fit individuals who want to burn calories and build strength with less emphasis on meditation and breath.

What to expect: Very similar to Vinyasa, power yoga is a fitness-based approach to yoga. The term "power yoga" originated in the 1990s as a way to bring yoga into fitness clubs and make it more accessible to the masses. Power yoga classes vary widely from class to class, but many feature athletic, strength-based variations on classic yoga moves-think challenging core sequences and plenty of chatarunga push-ups.


Bikram Yoga

Good for: Those who want to build strength and flexibility while sweating and wringing out toxins. Because the classes are the same every time, it's great for those who enjoy consistency and repetition.

What to expect: Expect to sweat-a lot. Bikram is performed in temperatures as high as 95 to 100 degrees with 40 percent humidity (the heat is thought to promote sweating and increase flexibility). The classes last 90 minutes and consist of 26 poses and two breathing exercises. This style of yoga was designed by yoga guru Bikram Choudhury in the 80s, and in order for a studio to be considered "true" Bikram yoga, all instructors must be trained and certified by Bikram Choudhury himself.



Good for: Advanced yogis who want to perfect their practice, or those who are interested in precision and subtle movements.

What to expect: A lot of attention to detail. This style of yoga focuses primarily on correct alignment of postures and pranayama (breath control). Many of the classes will utilize props to attain proper alignment, such as blocks, straps, blankets and pillows. Unlike Vinyasa or Ashtanga, Iyengar-style yoga includes very little flow, so it might not be as intense of a cardiovascular workout. Rather than continually moving from one pose to the next, poses are held for longer durations to focus on precision.



Good for: Folks who are in need of a stress-reliever or those who are recovering from an injury.

What to expect: Prepare to be relaxed. As its name suggests, this slow-paced style of yoga is designed to calm the mind and body through a series of gentle stretches, breathing exercises and meditation practices. Many of the poses are performed with the help of props (think blankets, blocks, straps, etc), and you'll often hold each pose for a long time-as long as ten minutes, in some cases-to give your muscles and connective tissues some TLC.



Good for: Those who want to cultivate self-awareness while focusing on the breath and spinal alignment.

What to expect: An energetic, lively style of yoga that's different every time; don't be surprised if you find yourself jumping, dancing, hopping or chanting during class. One of the oldest and arguably most spiritual styles of yoga, Kundalini is an energetic style of yoga that originates from 8th century India. The word Kundalini means "coiled," and it refers to the untapped reserve of energy located towards the base of the spine; the aim of kundalini is to awaken and release this energy through dynamic breath and movement.



Good for: Those who want a traditional, fast-paced yoga style.

What to expect: A fast-paced series of sequential postures. This flowing style of yoga, which is very similar to Vinyasa, consists of six pose series that are designed to realign the spine, detoxify the body, and build strength and flexibility. The terms "Vinyasa" and "Ashtanga" can generally be used interchangeably, but there are slight differences between the two disciplines. While traditional Ashtanga adheres to a rigid order of postures, Vinyasa yoga classes will often vary in the order of the poses.