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Type of Yoga Classes – Which one should you choose?

When I started my yoga journey, my friend and I saw on Groupon “5 Bikram yoga classes for 25$” or something like that. That was my first attempt at yoga, no experience, no knowledge of any type of yoga classes, we just went for it.

We didn’t complete all 5 classes, the travel time to the class and our schedule just made it harder to attend the 90 minutes of the Bikram Yoga class. I remember doing 2 or 3 classes. Afterwards, I was hooked on Yoga, but I needed to find something closer to home that matched what I needed.

I went to a fitness center that offered a yoga class, which was quite different. I was in a room with older people and I never moved so little in my life. I never went back, which was a Hatha Yoga for beginners.

After doing my yoga teacher training, it opened my eyes to how many different types of yoga classes there are and their benefits. Which also made me realize how little information was provided to people when they started their own journey.

From the list below, you can find an overview of the main types of yoga classes plus a go-to video if you are ready to try that style. Discover each of their benefits and origins and hopefully, this will allow you to make the best decision.

women sitting during a yoga class

Does choosing the right type of yoga classes matter?

Let’s not forget, that we all come from different lifestyles, ages, and exercise levels. We aren’t looking for the same thing when it comes to fitness.

It is easy just to join any sort of class and realize it is not for you and never do another yoga class or even get injured. It might not be the best way to go about it. By being informed you will be able to make the best decision for yourself, don’t listen to your buddy who attempted this one amazing class. Which might have been too hard for you or not what you are looking for. Personally, I don’t really like Power Yoga. It’s not what I like in my classes, but there are many other types of yoga classes to choose from.

It doesn’t mean it’s the yoga you want or need.

Main Category

I have divided the following into multiple categories, going from the main type of yoga classes to more specialized ones you should look for if that’s what you need.

Ashtanga Yoga

Introduced around 1970 by Pattabhi Jois, the word Ashtanga means “8 limbs”, which represents the 8 limbs of yoga. You can find all the necessary information about it in my article here.

When joining a full class you will practice 75 poses, where you will memorize the entire sequence. In addition, you will practice at your own pace and be assisted by the teacher for certain alignments. 

The student will be taken into the 6 series, starting from the primary series, starting with 5 sets of Sun Salutation A and B, intermediate series and advanced series. Also, you can expect no props or modifications or music. 

This type of yoga class is perfect, if you are looking for a workout, this form of yoga is extensive and will bring your heart rate up and bring muscle definition. I would not recommend for beginner.

For a beginner ashtanga student, you would first practice the first primary series, when completed and your teacher believes you are ready for the next series. Then, you would move on to the intermediate series and the advanced series. 

The more you advance, a 6 days per week practice will be needed and each practice will take between 60 – 90 mins.


  • Increases muscles strength
  • Boost stamina
  • Promote concentration
  • Mental clarity
  • Increase flexibility

Hatha Yoga

This type of yoga class is one of the most common forms of yoga. The word Hatha means “strong, willful, or forceful”. Hatha yoga incorporates multiple styles of yoga into a class, from a slower flow vinyasa style to Yin Yoga. You can expect a more diverse slower style of yoga.

The focus of the class will be on gentle practice, mixing between the breath and different poses. From there, the teacher would focus on bringing the student to a certain peak pose or sequence, providing multiple beginners poses and alternatives that would diminish your risk of injuries. 

There is no set time or movement associated with any given class, so this type of yoga class would be recommended for everybody due to its gentle approach.

Don’t miss out on my article to ensure your readiness before joining your first yoga class. Discover 24 crucial tips below.


  • Boost strength
  • Increase balance & flexibility
  • Promote concentration
  • Augmenting bone density

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga was founded by Paulie Zink around 1970 and became popular with Paul Grilley and Sara Powers. Being a martial arts teacher and practitioner, Zink started to introduce yoga to his students for flexibility. 

During a Yin Yoga class, you can expect a slow and meditative approach, holding each pose for 1 to 10 minutes. When you practice this approach, you find what we call “your edge”. Which is to find a point where you feel a maximum stretch but no pain. By holding a position for an extended period, instead of working the muscles like in a Hatha or vinyasa class, you will work the connective tissue, ligaments, joints and fascia. 

Perfect for a calmer approach, you can expect no warm-up, no music, and in the original classes no props.


  • Increased flexibility, circulation, and concentration
  • Improves mobility in the body and joints
  • Improves the health of tissues, fascia, and joints
  • Decreases anxiety and stress

Kundalini Yoga

Meaning “coiled snake or coiled serpent”, this type of yoga class has a similarity to Hatha Yoga but uses more of the spiritual side of the practice. This practice became more popular around 1960 from Bhajan. During a Kundalini yoga class, you will undergo more meditation and focus on the core and lower back. 

This type of yoga class typically follows this order; a warm-up, kriya (a series of asanas, breathing, and sounds), relaxation, and meditation. To be expected, classes are typically opened and closed with a mantra.


  • Increase relaxation 
  • Enhance flexibility
  • Boost mental clarity
  • Promote calm and inner peace

Vinyasa Yoga

One of the common forms of yoga known in the West, Vinyasa Yoga means “Sacred way to place”. During this type of yoga class, you can expect to move faster from poses to poses, aligning your breath to each movement. Each class can be different as no set sequence of movements is in place. 

Vinyasa Yoga provides a perfect way to always have a different type of workout that focuses on different body parts and sequences to learn and build strength from.

The focus of your breath to create the transition from movement to movement will become highly important. Due to its faster pace, this practice is perfect for fitness and cardio, not recommended for beginners.


  • Increase muscle strength
  • Enhance flexibility
  • Boost cardiovascular function
  • Increase respiratory capacity
  • Improve bone density

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga was invented by B.K.S Iyengar and established around the 1970s. During this type of yoga class, you can expect heavy use of props to achieve proper alignment and cues, mixed with breath connection. 

The belief from Iyengar was that yoga should be accessible to everyone. Furthermore, this form of yoga is perfect for all levels and especially beginners to learn the proper alignment. 

You can read further details below from an article written by Mind Body Green.


  • Increases muscular strength
  • Enhance flexibility
  • Boost stamina
  • Promote concentration & mental clarity

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga derives from the practice of Iyengar Yoga. It was introduced in the 1970s by Judit Lasater, who was a student of Iyengar. 

This type of class was created for students recovering from an illness or injury, mostly focusing on a slow-paced and calm environment. 

Just like Iyengar Yoga, you can expect heavy use of props, but instead of achieving alignments, you should want to achieve maximum rest, calm and healing throughout the body. 

In addition, you will hold each pose for up to 5 mins and each class will have approx 5 to 8 poses per class. 


  • Increases flexibility
  • Boost stamina
  • Enhance concentration
  • Promote mental clarity

Hot Yoga & Bikram Yoga

As the name implies, this type of yoga class would be practiced in a control room where the temperature would be hot, between 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Hot Yoga was introduced around 1970 by Bikram Choudhury. The main difference between both hot yoga and Bikram Yoga is that Bikram Yoga is a copyrighted name and sequence. The class goes into a set series of 26 poses which are performed twice. Each studio that is named “Bikram” would have been approved and paid the license to use the name. 

In a typical hot yoga class, you can benefit to loosen your joints anstrengtheningen your body. Also, the class will be similar to a vinyasa style, using your breath to move from pose to pose. 

Due to the heat, Hot Yoga can be more dangerous for overstretching your muscles and creating dehydration or heat stroke. It’s important to remain cautious when attempting this class and ensure you give your body time to adjust and to get consent from your medical professional.


  • Regulates metabolism
  • Increases flexibility, immunity, and strength
  • Promotes detoxification of the body

Subcategory of Yoga

The following type of yoga classes are a derive version of the above main category. Due to some specializations, it is important to include them in the list so you can make the best decision.

Power Yoga

Derived from the Vinyasa style, Power Yoga can often be interchanged, but this type of yoga class was created in the 1990s as a beginner’s approach to Ashtanga Yoga. Especially offered in a gym setting. During a Power Yoga class, you can expect a slower flow than in a vinyasa class, but each pose is held longer to build up muscle. 


  • Increase cardiovascular health
  • Build endurance
  • Increase muscle Strength
  • Boost with weight loss


Prenatal and Postanal Yoga

As the name suggests, Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga is specifically designed for expecting mothers or mothers who just had a baby. 

Prenatal Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga with the same slower flow between each pose. The main difference is the focus on the proper alignment for the mom, to ensure the belly isn’t squished and there is attention to provide more comfort. 

Due to the change in the mother during pregnancy and postnatal, a lot of poses are not accessible at this time in their life. These types of yoga classes will provide a safe environment and alternative to their range of movement. 


  • Increase flexibility
  • Maintain or increase muscle
  • Stronger pelvic floor
  • Release stress and anxiety

Don’t miss my other article to learn even more about postnatal yoga and its benefits.

Aerial Yoga

Aerial yoga was invented after Iyengar Yoga to promote the use of props during a class. Think of “Cirque du Soleil” for yoga. During this type of yoga class, you can expect to be wrapped in silk or rope from the ceiling to perform yoga poses. From restorative yoga by removing gravity on your joints to advanced more circus-like poses, this style of yoga is for everyone.


  • Improved flexibility, stability, and balance
  • Reduced risk factors for heart disease
  • Improved mental health

To learn more about this style of yoga and the research behind the benefits read the article by

Kids Yoga

Made for ages 2-17, yoga can be found for all development groups of kids. Multiple benefits have been found to introducing yoga to children. In contrast to an adult yoga class, this type of yoga class might involve stories, games, playtime, mindfulness meditation etc.

Each group’s age would have a specific type of yoga classes to match the child’s attention spam and movement. You can’t expect the same class from a 2-year-old to a 14-year-old. Kids yoga is made to ensure they follow the right development and movement of the child and to promote body awareness at a young age.

During the teenage years, the classes are similar to those of an adult class, but some modification is required and special attention is given to body image. Yoga can help promote body image and help self-esteem in high school kids.


  • Improve self-esteem
  • Decrease stress & anxiety
  • Improve mental and physical health
  • Increase muscle strength

Find further information below from the Harvard Health Publishing.


The yoga world can be a wonderful yet confusing place. It is important, like for any fitness journey you start to do your research on what type of yoga class you find interesting and which one is right for you.

Just like a fitness regimen might not be the same for everyone, yoga is just the same. There is a lot to go around, but it doesn’t mean the class you tried in the past was the right one for you.

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