The yoga world can seem pretty intimidating at first glance if you have never practiced before. If you are like me you may have absolutly no clue what all the different types of yoga are and what you may be getting yourself into when you walk into a class. So I will try and break down in a sentence or two as simple as I can the major types of Yoga. I may miss some because there are so many schools so do not hestitate to enlighten! One type of Yoga may not fit everyone, that is why it is essential to try many different teachings before you completly call it quits.
Ashtanga: Ashtanga is a athletic yoga practice. Six established pose sequences - the primary series, second series, and so on - practiced sequentially as progress is made. It produces intense internal heat and a purifying sweat that detoxifies organs and muscles.
Anusara: It pairs strict principals of alignment with a playful spirit. The goal of this specific school is to open your heart and strive to connect with the divine in yourself and others.
Bikram: Bikram is a full on workout. It combines muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, cardiovascular flexibily and weight loss. A series of 26 basic postures. The only twist is that it is in a room that is heated to 95-105 degrees.
Ananda: The main focus is on proper body alignment and controlled breathing. This type puts a spotlight on gentle postures designed to prepare you for meditation.
Hatha: Hatha is pretty much the foundation of all Yoga styles in this hemisphere. It incomperates Asanas ( postures ), Pranayama ( regulated breathing ), Dharana & Dhyana ( meditaion ) and Kundalini ( Laya yoga ). An easy to learn and perfect for beginners type yoga.
Integral: A very traditional school that uses postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting, prayer and self-inquiry.
ISHTA: Focuses on opening energy channels throughout the body with postures, visualizations and chanting.
Iyengar: It is all about precise alignment and coordinate breathing. It is a very good type for anyone of any level. Mainly catorigized by the use of props such as blocs, straps etc. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of many props, this type can be especially good if you're recovering from an injury.
Jivamukti: Very physical but reintergrates the traditional spiritual elements of yoga for Western practitioners. There is a large emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play in the practice of yoga.
Kali Ray TriYoga: Incorperating Pranayama and meditation with a flowing, dancelike series of movement.
Kripalu: There are three stages to this type, Stage one focuses on learning the posture and exploring your bodies abilities. Stage two involves holding the posture for a extended amount of time to develope concentration and inner awarness. Stage three is like a meditation in motion, were unconciently and spontaniously you move into the next sequence of movements. To hold poses to explore and release emotional and spiritual blockages is what this specific type focuses on.
Kundalini: This practice aims to awaken and release the Kundalini energy at the base of our spine by a fluid practice of constantly moving and invigorating postures.
Prenatal: Yoga specificaly designed for pregnant women or women that have just given birth.
Power: The Americain twist on Ashtanga yoga. Streching, strength training and meditative breathing is combined with a face paced flow makes this type build muscle and sweat a whole lot.
Restorative: You will spend long periods of time in Asanas with props such as blankets and blocs to help you sink into a deep relaxation.
Sivananda: The basis of this practice is a five-point philosophy to acheive a healthy yogic lifestyle. Proper breathing, relaxation, exercise, diet and positive thinking & meditation are combined with a traditional practice of 12 basic asanas, sun salutation and savasana.
Svaroopa: Often beginning in an easy chair pose. This type promotes healing and transformation.
Viniyoga: Commonly used as a therapeutic practice for people who have suffered injuries or recovering from surgeries. A gentle practice which adapts poses and goals to meet each persons own needs and abilities.
Vinyasa: This very active type of yoga puts emphasis on coordinating breath and movement.
White Lotus: Developed by Ganga White this is a modified Ashtanga practice which is combined with breathwork and meditation.
Yin: The significant characteristic of this type is the long held nature of the postures. It directs the stimulation which is normally created by the asana into areas deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues. Yin Yoga works the connective tissues of the ligaments, fascia, joints and bones.