The Myriad Different Styles of Yoga

The journey of yoga is an exciting exploration into a diverse realm of practices, where you’ll discover that there are many different styles of yoga to suit various tastes and preferences.
From the dynamic and athletic sequences of Ashtanga to the gentle and introspective pace of Yin, the world of yoga unfolds in an array of expressions. Each style of yoga brings its own set of postures, breathwork, and philosophy, allowing practitioners to find the perfect blend that resonates with their individual needs and goals.
It’s an invitation to explore, experiment, and ultimately, find the yoga style that becomes a companion on your personal wellness journey.

Different Styles of Yoga

The Shiatsu Guy recommends:

Starting my yoga journey as a young man in my 20s I have enjoyed different styles over the years from Hot Yoga to Vinyasa, in-person classes to online.

If things had been different I could as easily have been “The Yoga Guy” as The Shiatsu Guy!

I explored Yoga teacher training while I was in Thailand and even signed up for an online teacher training course during the Covid lockdowns (but didn’t end up doing either course…)

But yoga has always been there for me as a way to nurture my body and balance my mind.

I hope that yoga will be there for you too!

To learn more about what yoga is, visit this page.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga, recognized as the cornerstone of various yoga forms, seeks to harmonize the body and mind through a blend of physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation. This ancient practice aims to create equilibrium, preparing the body for extended periods of meditation and fostering overall well-being. With a spectrum of poses, from gentle stretches to challenging postures, Hatha provides practitioners, irrespective of experience levels, with a holistic experience.

While ideal for beginners, individuals with physical limitations should exercise caution and seek professional advice. Despite its less dynamic nature compared to styles like Vinyasa, Hatha’s focus on breath awareness and mindful movement makes it a valuable choice for those pursuing a comprehensive approach to health.

Ashtanga/Power Yoga

Ashtanga, or power yoga, is a dynamic and physically demanding yoga style that follows a structured sequence of postures, linked by synchronized breath and movement. This rigorous practice aims to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. Suited for those seeking a challenging and disciplined approach, Ashtanga is particularly beneficial for individuals who enjoy a more athletic and systematic routine.

However, beginners and those with physical limitations might find the intensity overwhelming. The fast-paced nature of Ashtanga may pose challenges for individuals seeking a more gentle or meditative practice. It’s a style that rewards consistency and dedication, offering a rigorous workout for those drawn to its dynamic nature.

For Yoga Classes in your area visit our Yoga directory

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar yoga, developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, is characterized by a strong focus on precise alignment and the use of props to assist in achieving optimal postures. This style emphasizes holding poses for longer durations, facilitating a deep understanding of each asana. Suitable for practitioners of all levels, Iyengar yoga is particularly beneficial for those recovering from injuries or with physical limitations, as the props provide support and aid in developing strength and flexibility.

However, individuals seeking a more flowing and dynamic practice might find Iyengar’s method slower-paced. The attention to detail and emphasis on alignment make it a favourable choice for those looking to refine their practice and deepen their understanding of yoga postures.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic and flowing style that synchronizes breath with movement, creating a continuous sequence of postures. With an emphasis on smooth transitions, Vinyasa offers a more vigorous and energetic practice, making it suitable for individuals who enjoy a faster-paced and physically challenging experience. This style caters to various skill levels, as practitioners can modify the pace to match their abilities.

However, those with limited mobility or certain health conditions may find the continuous flow demanding. The fluidity of Vinyasa allows for creativity and variety in sequencing, attracting practitioners who appreciate diversity in their practice. While it may not be ideal for beginners seeking a slower introduction to yoga, Vinyasa’s versatility appeals to those looking for a more dynamic and engaging experience.

Ashtanga Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is a unique and transformative practice that focuses on awakening the dormant spiritual energy located at the base of the spine. Recognized for its dynamic blend of postures, breathwork, chanting, and meditation, Kundalini seeks to elevate consciousness and foster spiritual growth. It is well-suited for individuals seeking a holistic approach that combines physical, mental, and spiritual elements.

However, the intensity and esoteric nature of Kundalini may not be suitable for beginners or those with specific physical limitations. The incorporation of repetitive movements and prolonged periods of meditation may challenge practitioners with certain health concerns. The distinctive aspects of Kundalini, including its emphasis on inner energy and spiritual awakening, set it apart from other yoga styles, attracting those who are drawn to a more spiritual and transformative dimension in their practice.

Tantra Yoga

Tantra yoga is a holistic and ancient practice that weaves together spiritual and energetic elements to attain a deeper connection with oneself and the universe. Unlike popular misconceptions, Tantra involves more than just the physical aspect and encompasses rituals, breathwork, and meditation. It is suitable for individuals who seek a spiritual path that integrates the sacred into daily life. Tantra’s emphasis on embracing pleasure, cultivating awareness, and connecting with divine energies may appeal to those seeking a unique spiritual journey.

However, the esoteric nature and the need for an open-minded approach may make it less accessible for those looking for a more traditional or purely physical yoga experience. The individualized nature of Tantra can be both a strength and a challenge, offering a personalized journey but potentially making it less standardized compared to other yoga styles.

Somatic Yoga

Somatic yoga is a specialized practice that focuses on internal awareness and sensory perception to enhance mind-body connection and promote healing. It involves slow and intentional movements, often in a supine or seated position, encouraging practitioners to explore subtle sensations and release tension held within the body. Somatic yoga is suitable for individuals seeking a gentle and introspective approach to movement, particularly those dealing with chronic pain, stress, or trauma.

However, those desiring a more physically challenging or fast-paced practice may find it less engaging. The pros of somatic yoga lie in its therapeutic benefits, aiding in pain relief and emotional well-being. On the flip side, the slow pace may not align with those seeking a more dynamic and invigorating yoga experience commonly found in other styles.

Kriya Yoga

Kriya yoga is a spiritual discipline that integrates breath control, meditation, and specific body movements to awaken the life force energy and promote self-realization. Originating from ancient Indian teachings, Kriya yoga emphasizes the purification of the mind and body to attain higher states of consciousness. It is suitable for individuals seeking a more contemplative and meditative practice, aiming to deepen their spiritual connection.

However, those looking for a physically demanding or posture-focused practice might find Kriya yoga less appealing. The pros of Kriya yoga lie in its potential for profound spiritual experiences and heightened self-awareness. On the downside, individuals seeking a more physically dynamic yoga style may be drawn to alternatives that offer a more vigorous workout.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra, often referred to as yogic sleep, is a deeply relaxing and meditative practice that induces a state of conscious relaxation. Participants lie down in a comfortable position as the instructor guides them through a systematic process of body awareness and relaxation. This form of yoga is suitable for individuals seeking profound relaxation, stress reduction, and improved sleep. It is particularly beneficial for those dealing with anxiety, insomnia, or high stress levels.

The practice may not be suitable for individuals who prefer more physically active or dynamic forms of yoga, as it primarily focuses on mental and emotional relaxation. The pros of Yoga Nidra include enhanced mental well-being, reduced stress, and improved sleep quality. However, some practitioners may find it less engaging than other active forms of yoga, and its benefits are more internal and subtle compared to physically demanding styles.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a slow-paced and introspective form of yoga that involves holding passive poses for an extended period, typically ranging from three to five minutes or even longer. The primary focus is on stretching the connective tissues and promoting flexibility, especially in areas like the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Yin yoga is suitable for individuals looking to enhance flexibility, release tension, and cultivate a meditative mindset. It’s particularly beneficial for those dealing with tight muscles, joint stiffness, or seeking a counterbalance to more dynamic forms of yoga.

However, individuals who prefer a more active and physically challenging practice might find yin yoga less engaging. The pros include improved joint mobility, enhanced relaxation, and a meditative experience. At the same time, potential cons may involve the perception of slow progress and the need for patience in holding poses for extended durations.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga, also known as the yoga of selfless service, emphasizes performing actions without attachment to the results, fostering a sense of duty and altruism. The main features involve engaging in actions with dedication, sincerity, and without selfish motives. Suitable for individuals seeking spiritual growth through selfless service, karma yoga is inclusive and applicable to people from all walks of life. It is particularly beneficial for those who wish to integrate mindfulness into their daily activities.

However, individuals seeking a more physically focused or meditative yoga practice may not find karma yoga as physically intensive or contemplative. Pros include its emphasis on ethical living and the cultivation of a selfless mindset, while potential cons may involve preferences for different yoga styles based on personal goals and inclinations.

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga, also known as anti-gravity yoga, introduces a unique and playful element to traditional yoga by incorporating the use of aerial hammocks suspended from the ceiling. This form of yoga allows practitioners to perform various poses and inversions with the support of the hammock, providing a sense of weightlessness and spinal decompression. Aerial yoga is suitable for individuals who enjoy a mix of yoga, acrobatics, and therapeutic elements. It can be particularly appealing to those seeking a novel and challenging experience.

However, individuals with a fear of heights or those who prefer a grounded practice might find aerial yoga less suitable. The pros of aerial yoga include enhanced flexibility, improved core strength, and the joy of defying gravity. On the downside, its accessibility may be limited, and some practitioners may prefer the stability of traditional yoga practices.


Acroyoga combines yoga, acrobatics, and Thai massage to create a dynamic and collaborative practice. This form of yoga involves partners working together to achieve various poses that seamlessly blend strength, balance, and flexibility. Acroyoga is suitable for individuals who enjoy a social and interactive approach to their practice, as it often involves working with a partner or group. It is particularly well-suited for those who appreciate a sense of community and trust-building through shared movements.

However, individuals who prefer a more solitary or meditative yoga experience may find Acroyoga less suitable. The pros of Acroyoga include improved communication skills, enhanced physical strength, and the joy of shared accomplishment. On the downside, it requires a level of coordination and trust between partners, and some practitioners may prefer the introspective nature of traditional yoga styles.

Face Yoga

Face yoga is a unique and rejuvenating practice focused on exercising and toning the muscles in the face and neck. Incorporating facial exercises, massages, and acupressure techniques, face yoga aims to enhance facial muscle strength, reduce tension, and promote a more youthful appearance. This form of yoga is suitable for individuals seeking a holistic approach to skincare and facial wellness. It can be particularly beneficial for those looking to reduce signs of ageing, minimize wrinkles, and improve overall skin tone.

However, individuals looking for a more traditional physical workout or a comprehensive mind-body experience might not find face yoga as satisfying. The pros of face yoga include its potential for natural anti-ageing effects and improved facial circulation, while cons may involve a subjective perception of results and the need for consistent practice.

Laughing Yoga

Laughing yoga, or laughter yoga, is a joyful and unconventional form of yoga that combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing techniques. The main features include guided laughter sessions led by a trained facilitator, incorporating playful activities to induce spontaneous laughter. Suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, laughter yoga promotes overall well-being by reducing stress, enhancing mood, and boosting cardiovascular health. It can be particularly beneficial for those looking to incorporate laughter as part of their wellness routine.

However, individuals seeking a more physically demanding or traditional yoga practice may not find laughter yoga as fulfilling. Pros include its accessibility and positive impact on emotional health, while potential cons may involve personal preferences and the need for an open-minded approach to the practice.

What is Puppy Yoga?

Puppy Yoga

Puppy yoga, a delightful and unconventional form of yoga, combines traditional yoga poses with the joy of having playful puppies around. The main features involve practising yoga in the company of adorable, stress-relieving puppies, adding an element of fun and relaxation to the session. Suitable for animal lovers and those seeking a unique and uplifting yoga experience, puppy yoga offers a chance to connect with animals while promoting physical well-being.

However, individuals with allergies or fear of dogs may find it less suitable. Pros include the therapeutic benefits of animal companionship and a joyful atmosphere, but potential cons may involve distractions from the poses or limited availability compared to more mainstream yoga practices.

Find the best style of yoga for you!

In the grand feast of yoga, where various styles unfold like a diverse array of delectable dishes, the conclusion draws us to savour the richness of this ancient practice. Just as a culinary journey can be enriched by sampling different flavours, textures, and aromas, exploring various styles of yoga adds depth and diversity to our personal wellness experience.

Whether you resonate with the spicy intensity of Ashtanga, the soothing subtleties of Yin, or the balanced flavours of Vinyasa, each style contributes to the symphony of well-being. Like a well-curated menu, the multitude of yoga styles invites practitioners to craft their unique practice, blending postures, breathwork, and philosophy to create a holistic approach that nourishes mind, body, and spirit.

So, as you navigate this yoga buffet, relish the journey, savouring the nuances of each style and discovering the perfect blend that satiates your appetite for overall health and harmony.