Let's Talk: Types of Yoga

Let’s talk about the types(categories) of yoga. With all the different variations and names of classes, it can be seriously confusing. Hopefully this will shed a little light on the situation. Here are the major types of yoga you may come across at either our studio or other yoga studios in the area. There are more than just these, but this should get you familiar with the main types.


Hatha-The general term used to describe the physical poses (asana) in yoga. When you see it listed as a class, it’s usually a beginner friendly, gentle yoga class. At our studio, it's called Gentle Yoga.

Vinyasa- One of the most popular styles of Western yoga, Vinyasa is known as a movement-intensive class where you move fluidly from pose to pose, linking the breath to your movements.

Bikram- Named after it founder, Bikram Choudhury, this style of yoga features 26 poses done in sequential order. Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury trademarked his sequence and has sued studios who call themselves Bikram, but don't teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. At our studio, we have a class similar to Bikram called the ‘Heated Power Series.’

Ashtanga- It's a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order.  The difference between Ashtanga and Bikram is the series of poses as well as Ashtanga linking poses to the breath.

Yin- In Yin Yoga poses are held between 2-5 minutes to get a deeper stretch. The goal is to relax the muscles as much as possible to reach the deeper connective tissues. Some of these poses are assisted with a bolster and block and can be at times an intense stretch or extremely relaxing depending on the pose.

Restorative- Using bolsters, blocks, blankets and other props, yogis are put into passive poses that completely relax the body and mind. Poses are held for around 10 minutes whereas in Yin they are held to 2-5 minutes. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap.

Yoga Sculpt- More of a workout class than yoga, don’t expect relaxation here. Using light weights to tone and sculpt the body, prepare to sweat, using yoga poses to get in a great workout.