15 Types of yoga and what each does for you

Oct 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. ET
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We typically generalize yoga into one type of workout. But, like "dance," there are several kinds of yoga — each focusing on a different goal or philosophy.

1. Anusara

Great for: beginners, people with injuries

This type of yoga, created by John Friend, allows you to take part in a yoga class without that "being judged" feeling. Anusara encourages you to do each pose to the best of your ability — even if the end result is slightly (or very) different from your neighbor.

2. Ashtanga

Great for: intermediates, experts, weight loss

Ashtanga is a physically demanding type of yoga that synchronizes your body movements to breath through continuous vinyasas. Although these classes may be frustrating to a beginner, they will build strength and endurance for seasoned yogis.

3. Bikram

Great for: flexibility, stamina, weight loss

Bikram is your typical hot yoga class, where the room is heated up to 105 degrees with humidity at 40 percent. The heat loosens your muscles, giving you more flexibility — but, these classes really require patience. If you are new, the heat can be irritating and could make you woozy.

4. Hatha

Great for: meditation, beginners

This is the "yoga of balance." Ha means "sun" and tha means "moon." Hatha actually covers several other types of yoga, but generally these classes will focus on your connectedness to breath and posture. Hatha classes are relaxing, restorative and can relieve all that stress you're carrying around.

More: How yoga benefits the socially awkward

5. Iyengar

Great for: beginners, people with injuries

Iyengar yoga is all about focusing on proper alignment. The theory here is that iyengar would rather have you properly perform a pose half-way with the aid of a block, strap or board rather than have you fully reach the position with your body misaligned.

6. Jivamukti

Great for: spirituality, meditation

If you're looking for a traditional, spiritual experience in a yoga class, try jivamukti. These classes will stimulate you physically and mentally, blending poses and vinyasas with ancient teachings and music. Jivamukti incorporates philosophy, meditation and chanting to help you reach a state of enlightenment.

7. Kripalu

Great for: self-empowerment

Kripalu is a type of yoga that helps you connect to you. It guides you in learning about your body as a tool — what it can do with practice. With breathwork, meditation and a mix of poses and vinyasas, you will begin to connect your mentality with your physicality.

8. Kundalini

Great for: morning yoga

Kundalini is designed to give you a "yoga high," if you will. It is meant to arouse your consciousness and invigorate your core by awakening the energy that is said to be stored at the base of your spine. You'll take part in chanting, chakras and breathing to achieve that energy buzz.

9. Power

Great for: athletes, strength building

This would almost be like a Pilates class, where you'll engage in fast-paced or strengthening poses to build internal heat. A variation of ashtanga, power yoga will challenge you athletically and boost your metabolism.

10. Prenatal

Great for: pregnant women, women practicing for labor

Prenatal yoga assists pregnant women emotionally and physically. The breathwork and poses are specifically geared toward pregnant bodies to relieve pain and increase resiliency and stamina. The adapted positions help with aches and pains and also prep women for labor.

More: PHOTOS: What yoga with a child is really like

11. Restorative

Great for: relaxation, meditation

In a restorative yoga class you will only perform up to about six positions and hold them for about five minutes each. Calming music and relaxing scents will help you sink deeper into easy twists and seated folds, as your body and mind release their tensions.

12. Sivananda

Great for: routine, lifestyle, elderly

Sivananda is based on a five-point system to achieve a holistic yoga lifestyle: breathing, relaxation, exercise, diet and positivity. Here, each class opens and closes with chanting and sun salutations and walks you through about 12 poses.

13. Tantra

Great for: mentality, spirituality

Tantra yoga is typically thought to awaken your sexual energies and make you become more in tune with your body. These classes will have you engage in chakra work and aim to increase your confidence and inner peace with your body.

14. Vinyasa

Great for: intermediates, athletes, weight loss

Like power yoga, vinyasa yoga will have you continuously moving throughout the class. It can be fast paced, but will include poses for flexibility, balance and strength. It may also include inversion poses, which will have variations of the pose for newbies.

15. Yin

Great for: flexibility

Yin yoga works to enhance your flexibility by lengthening the connective tissues around your joints. But the poses are not active stretches — they are passive stretches, performed with restorative poses, allowing gravity to help you sink deeper into the position.

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