There are many different styles of yoga. One is not better or worse than the other, however one style could suit you more than another. I believe you should take whatever element of each practice you feel is right for you. This could change each day and even over the course of the day. For me, vinyasa yoga is perfect to start the day, but in the evening I prefer a more slow and intense yin practice. This said, some days I don’t feel like vinyasa at all and would benefit more from a hatha style practice. There is no set schedule, just you, your mind, your body and whatever each of them needs at that moment.
Here is a overview of some of the styles you could try and may or may add into your own practice.
This style consists of 6 established sequences [the primary series, second series, … etc.]. These are practice sequentially as progress is made. Ashtanga is a fast paced style where one flows from one pose to the next with each inhale and exhale.
Bikram, “invented” by Bikram Choudhury, is a series of 26 basic yoga postures, each performed twice. In official Bikram classes the room is heated up to nearly 105 degrees and has 40% percent humidity.
Hatha, one of the 6 original branches of yoga, is by definition a physical yoga practice and encompasses nearly all types of modern yoga. Nowadays “hatha” classes are usually a basic and classical approach to yoga postures and breathing exercises.
This style of yoga was developed by B. K. S. Iyengar and is practice were the attention lies with finding the proper alignment in a pose, using props as needed. There isn’t as much movement as in other styles of yoga, but not less physically and mentally challenging.
One of the more recently “invented” styles, Jivamukti translates as “liberation while living” and was created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984. It is a physical, limit-pushing practice that reintegrates yoga’s traditional spiritual elements in an educational way for Western practitioners.
This is one of my favourite styles of yoga, because of the focus on establishing a deeper connection with your own body. Kripalu is a 3 part practice that teaches yo to get to know, accept, and learn from your body. It starts with figuring out how your body works in different poses, the moves toward postures held for an extended time and meditation. It then taps deep into your being to find spontaneous flow in asanas letting your body be the teacher.
This practice features constantly moving, invigorating poses. The fluidity of the practice is intended to release the kundalini energy in your body.
This holistic style is based on a five-pint philosophy that proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking work together to form a healthy yogic lifestyle. It is a slow paced practice that typically focuses on the same 12 basic asanas or variations thereof every time, bookended by sun salutations and savasana.
Vinyasa (Sanskrit for “flow”) is an active and athletic style of yoga adapted form the traditional ashtanga system in the late 1980s to appeal to Westerners. It doesn’t stick to the same sequences of poses each time like ashtanga does, so the style varies per studio and per teacher. It often focuses on moving or flowing with the breath, which gives it almost a dancer like character.
YIN / TAOIST
This is a more quiet and meditative yoga practice. It focuses on lengthening connective tissues and is meant to complement yang yoga [musle forming practices like ashtanga]. The poses are passive, meaning you are supposed to relax your muscles and let gravity and your breath do the work. I especially like these practices for their meditating aspect, as they are often very long and you hold each pose for up to 10 minutes. I feel like a lot of emotions are released during these practices as you are letting go of any tensions in your body.