Popular Yoga Styles Explained

Yoga has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient India. It began gaining popularity in the West in the late 20th century, as the influence of practitioners such as Bikram (the Bikram series), Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga), and B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar) began to spread. Although there are many styles of practice, yoga is broadly understood as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice, and in Sanskrit the word “yoga” signifies the concept of connection, or yoking together. Broadly, yoga can be defined as a moving meditation. At Rio Wellness, we focus our yoga classes on intentional conscious connection, using breath and meaningful movement to connect our minds to our bodies and spirits.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha is a style of practice that strives to incorporate the whole body. “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means moon, indicating the balance between postures, mastering strength and flexibility, breath and movement: the goal of hatha is developing a healthy body through consistent practice. This may also refer to the Hot 26 or Bikram series.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is a term that refers to the combination of movement and breath. Vinyasa classes are often called “flow classes,” in which postures (asanas) are linked together through the foundation of the sun-salutation. Vinyasa is the foundation for both lower intensity flow-style classes, and higher intensity classes, sometimes called “power.” Power yoga classes may include inversions, balances, or move at a slightly faster pace.

Bikram/Hot Yoga/Hot

Bikram/Hot Yoga/Hot 26 was developed and introduced in the West by Bikram Choudhury. It is the same 26 postures performed in order in a heated room. The original Bikram sequence was 90’ long, but as the popularity of the 26 posture series has spread, classes have often been modified to a 60’ class.

Yin Yoga

Yin is a restorative yoga practice. It is slower paced and aims to calm and balance the mind and body. Each pose is held for five minutes or longer, encouraging patience and calm. It is a meditative practice, and can be challenging because of the long hold time. It targets the deeper connective tissues for deep release, in order to restore strength and elasticity. It is ideal for anyone seeking to improve flexibility, joint mobility, and circulation.