4 Types of Yoga and Their Differences

Do you want to try a yoga class but are overwhelmed with all of the options? With so many different types of yoga being offered now, it’s no wonder that a lot of beginners are intimidated and don’t know where to start. The physical postures are the same for many of the styles, but there are subtle differences that may make some types better for you than others.

One thing is for sure:  whatever form of yoga you practice offers valuable health benefits, especially if you practice consistently. From flexibility to stress relief to better sleep and heart health, yoga is definitely something you should incorporate into your wellness plan.

But there are so many yoga classes offered at so many studios and gyms – how do you find the right one for you?

Vinyasa Yoga

Out of all of the types of yoga, Vinysasa yoga is one of the most popular. Vinyasa yoga is a “flow” class, meaning it links poses by breath, breathing from one movement into the other. So whether the pace of the class is fast or slow, the movements in a vinyasa yoga class are coordinated with your breathing. Another way to think of it is that your inhale lifts you and opens you into movement or pose, and your exhale moves you deeper into the move or into a twisting motion depending on what the pose is.

Vinyasa yoga movements increase strength, flexibility, and focus while clearing the body of toxins, leaving you feeling calm and centred.

Click here to learn more about our Vinyasa Yoga classes offered at our Nunawading Gym.

Yin Yoga

If you’re looking for a practice that is more relaxed, slower, and more meditative, Yin yoga is the answer. Yin yoga focuses on the essence of surrender and bringing balance into your practice and life. It targets your deep connective tissues and uses grounding postures to lengthen fascia tissues surrounding the hips, spine, chest, and shoulders.

In Yin yoga, each pose is held longer than other types of yoga (up to 20 minutes), which helps to lengthen tissues that aren’t normally used. By stretching and deepening into poses and holding them, you open up any blockages and allow greater energy flow through your body. Some people compare its benefits to those of acupuncture.

One of the greatest benefits of Yin yoga is that it re-energises and calms your nervous system. It really is the perfect way to release the tension and stress from your day.

Click here to learn more about our Yin yoga classes offered at our Nunawading Gym.

Bikram Hot Yoga

There are some yoga classes that are restorative, and some that will get your heart rate up. The Bikram form of hot yoga is specifically designed to do just that – raise your heart rate and give your muscles a good workout.

During a Bikra hot yoga class, the room is heated to about 40 C with a humidity of around 40 percent. Classes usually last 90 minutes and consist of combinations of stretching and standing positions. The poses are fairly demanding, so if you’re brand new to yoga, you might want to ease into this type of class.

Make sure to stay extra hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during, and after a hot yoga class. Listen to your body and stop if you start to feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous.

This type of yoga isn’t for everyone. If you’re sensitive to heat but still want a good workout, try sticking to Vinyasa yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga (Power Yoga)

Ashtanga yoga, more commonly known as Power yoga, is more structured than traditional yoga classes. Like Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga links each movement with breathwork, but the movements are more defined. It’s one of the more challenging types of yoga, so if you’re just getting into your practice, you might want to start with something slower.

Ashtanga has the same benefits as other types of yoga, such as increased flexibility, strength, and creating peace and stress relief. But it’s more demanding style makes it a much more intense workout, so if you do it daily you will definitely get stronger faster. That being said, if you have any joint pain or injuries that flare up with exercise, this may not be the practice for you.

If you like a more structured class and are up for a good challenge, then give Ashtanga yoga a try.

Health Benefits of Yoga

Even though there are several types of yoga, they all offer a great deal of health benefits that are backed by numerous studies.

The National Institutes of Health reports that there is scientific evidence showing that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and quality sleep. This comes as no surprise, given that many people practise yoga as a way to create inner peace and stress relief.

According to Finances Online, in a recent UK survey, the majority of respondents in one survey said that they agree or strongly agree that yoga had improved their physical health (88%) as well as mental health (86.2%). They also said that it had improved their stress levels (82.6%), their strength (87.1%), and flexibility (91.6%). Moreover, 69.3% of participants reported a change in lifestyle due to their yoga practice while 57.4% reported having better sleep. (Cartright et al., 2020)

Another study reported that yoga participants were 61% less likely to have high blood sugar levels compared to non-yoga participants. They also were 52% less likely to have a high body mass index and triglyceride levels compared to inactive individuals. (Forseth et al., 2019)

As you can see, yoga has many health benefits and is a great addition to any wellness plan. There’s a type of yoga out there for everyone, so try it today and start seeing the positive results.

Yoga Classes at Our Nunawading Gym

Yoga classes are a great way to increase your strength and flexibility and to release stress and tension. At Element Fitness Nunawading Gym, we are happy to offer both Vinyasa yoga and Yin yoga.

Visit our website here to see our class schedule and see how different types of yoga can be a great addition to your fitness plan.