Types of Yoga

The ultimate goal of yoga is achieving health, comfort, and happiness. Hatha Yoga, the most commonly practiced yoga form in the United States, focuses on the physical and uses postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The following types of Hatha yoga emphasize different paths:4,18

• Astanga Yoga—sometimes called "Power Yoga"—this form is only for those in good shape who are seeking an aerobic workout in addition to yoga’s other benefits.

• Iyengar Yoga—stresses precision and allows props so that people can comfortably get into a given pose.

• Kripalu Yoga—uses a gentle, introspective approach. Poses are held a little longer than in other forms so that participants may focus on their mental/emotional states.

• Restorative Yoga—Postures requiring a minimum of effort are supported with props and held for 3-5 minutes.

• Viniyoga—uses a gentle, individualized approach that adapts to each participant’s body type, as well as emotional and cultural needs. Postures are often combined with rhythmic movements of arms and legs.

Raja Yoga—also called "The Royal Path"—differs from Hatha yoga in that it emphasizes the meditative aspects of yoga, focusing on control of the intellect to attain enlightenment.