Yoga style guide

Find out which style of yoga will suit you best!

Esther Ekhart Goddess pose

With so many styles of yoga out there, it can be difficult to know which will suit you. Take a look at some of the main styles we offer on EkhartYoga to help you choose, with some suggested teachers and programs for each one.

Hatha

For an ‘all-round’ balanced practice, a great place to start

Andrew Wrenn, Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga provides the ‘blueprint’ for all contemporary, physical yoga practices. It’s usually slower-paced and most likely to include asana (poses), breathing techniques and meditation. It’s a great place to start if you are new to yoga or if you want to advance or deepen your practice because you get the time and space to become familiar with yoga poses, Pranayama and relaxation techniques.

Vinyasa flow

Helps build overall strength and flexibility

Esther Ekhart, Vinyasa Flow yoga

In Vinyasa Flow classes the poses flow from one to another, often in sync with breath. Though many Vinyasa classes begin with Sun Salutations, there is no set sequence and the style, pace and intensity will all vary depending on the teacher. Classes may have a particular focus on a category of poses such as backbends, or they may be sequenced around a particular theme such as the chakras.

Yin Yoga

Improves flexibility and develops a deeper connection to stillness

Yin yoga, Jose de Groot

Yin Yoga is Vinyasa yoga’s polar opposite – a slow-paced, meditative form of yoga. Typically, poses are held for around 3 to 5 minutes and work on the connective tissues – ligaments, joints, bones, and the deep fascia networks of the body – rather than the muscles. Though slow, Yin Yoga can be far from easy: staying with a pose while keeping the mind calm and steady can be especially challenging. 

Yin Yang Yoga

For balancing energy, flexibility and strength 

Yin Yang Yoga

Yin Yang Yoga classes include a mix of Yin yoga with dynamic (Yang) sequences. While the Yin part targets the connective tissues, the dynamic section targets the Yang tissues (muscles and blood). The Yang part could be flowing sequences or longer held standing poses. The Yang poses may have different names to similar poses practised in a Vinyasa class, for example Warrior 3 is Flying Dragon. A Yin Yang class will often begin and end with Yin and have a Yang mid-section but any combination of the two is possible.

Slow flow 

Gives space to the poses; meditation in motion  

Jeff Phoenix, Slow flow

Slow Flow yoga is a combination of Vinyasa Flow and Hatha yoga, with fewer transitions than the former and more flow than the latter. Slow Flow yoga can help you find the space between poses while still retaining the gentle rhythm of a flow yoga class. In this way, you can experience the more meditative and calming effects of a Hatha class, whilst continuing to reap the benefits of improved strength and flexibility.

Ashtanga

Builds stamina and improves bone density

Joey Miles, Ashtanga

Ashtanga is a physically demanding, athletic style of yoga practice. It is made up of six ‘series’ (Primary, Intermediate and four Advanced series), each of which has a fixed order of poses. This set sequence requires both mental and physical discipline so can help you establish a regular yoga practice. Ashtanga yoga’s emphasis on weight-bearing can also improve bone density.

Somatics

Combats neuromuscular pain, creates greater body awareness

Lisa Petersen, Somatics

The term Somatic means ‘embodied’ or ‘of the body’. Somatics is a therapeutic movement practice which uses small, slow and gentle movements to re-educate the brain so that it can relax and move the muscles more functionally. It’s wonderful for muscles which have become tight or restricted due to developmental reasons, habitual patterns, emotional stress, injuries or trauma.

Budokon

Yoga meets Martial Arts, builds cardiovascular strength

budokon yoga

Budokon yoga combines classical Hatha Yoga elements with influences from various Martial Arts systems, calisthenics, animal movements, and meditation. It’s a strong form of yoga and the fluid movements require strength, concentration, and co-ordination. Practising Budokon Yoga regularly will help you to gain muscular strength, build up cardiovascular stamina and improve your joint mobility.  

Iyengar

Improves alignment and postural issues

Adela Serrano, Iyengar

Iyengar yoga has a strong focus on detail, precision and alignment in the postures. The poses are held for longer periods than in many other styles and the use of props such as straps, blocks, blankets and chairs is a major part of Iyengar Yoga. These support the body in different postures so that you can work on a posture in a safe and effective way.

Yamuna 

Self-massage with a ball, instant tension-reliever

Nichi Green, Yamuna

Yamuna body rolling elongates the muscle, stimulates tendons and frees up joints. Working with the ball reveals how tightness in certain muscles restricts movements in the joints. One of the best things about Yamuna body rolling is that the effects are instant – it realigns you, bringing all of your body parts back to where they are supposed to be. The perfect complement to yoga, sports or a workout session.

Yoga Nidra

Enables transformation through a state of deep relaxation

James Reeves, Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra – also known as “yogic sleep”- can be described as the conscious state between wakefulness and sleep, allowing deep relaxation and a sense of wellbeing. It’s a guided practice and great for anyone who finds it hard to switch off and relax (i.e. most people!) Benefits include better sleep, improved mood, reduced stress. Research has shown that Yoga Nidra can reduce chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia and PTSD.

Scaravelli-inspired

Incorporates waves and spirals to encourage a slow and safe release of tension

Scaravelli-inspired yoga, EkhartYoga

Named after Vanda Scaravelli who was introduced to yoga through BKS Iyengar in her forties, this style helps us to become more centred and grounded by creating a strong connection to our feet. With its emphasis on surrendering to gravity and listening to the breath, the body’s natural responses can initiate a wave-like release in the spine and a deep felt-sense of freedom in the body. 

Therapeutics

Tackles and supports health issues

Esther Ekhart, Therapeutics yoga

Marrying traditional techniques and practices with modern day research and science, therapeutic yoga helps individuals facing health challenges, be they mental, physical or emotional. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, insomnia, joint pain, tension in your body, mood swings, muscle stiffness, digestion issues (to name but a few), we have something to support you on EkhartYoga.

Mixed movement

Supports sustainable and healthy movement both on and off the mat

Mixed movement

Mixed movement classes feature exercises from other movement practices including Pilates, Chi Gung, Budokon yoga, animal movements, dance, and strength and conditioning exercises to support healthy and safe movement both on your yoga mat and in your daily life.
 

Kundalini-inspired 

Moves the energy in the body

Marlene Smits, Kundalini-inspired

Kundalini yoga focuses on awakening Kundalini energy – life energy said to be located in the base of the spine – and includes asana, Pranayama, meditation and mantra chanting. Kundalini- inspired classes often have a focus on balancing and strengthening the seven main chakras located along the spine, through which the Kundalini energy rises, as well as addressing specific conditions such as built-up stress.

Core Strength Vinyasa

Accesses your physical and energetic “core”

Marlene Henny, Core Strength Vinyasa

Often thought of as just abdominal muscles, it’s more accurate to think of our ‘core’ like an apple core, running from the top of our head to the inner arches of your feet. With a strong core you improve almost every yoga pose and the whole practice of yoga becomes much easier and safer.

On a spiritual level, when the core is strong, the ups and downs of life are much easier to navigate too.

Restorative Yoga

Aids rejuvenation and renewal

MacKenzie Miller, Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga classes are usually very relaxing and slow paced – expect dimmed lights and lots of blankets and bolsters! The main philosophy of Restorative yoga is that by relaxing in poses, with the aid of props, without strain or pain, we can achieve physical, mental and emotional relaxation. During a Restorative yoga sequence, you still stretch, but you relax fully in the stretch so that tension can slowly be released.

AcroYoga

Cultivates trust and connection

Acro Yoga

AcroYoga combines yoga, acrobatics and Thai yoga massage into a fun, playful and therapeutic form of partner yoga. The (Solar) acrobatic practices, such as lifting and supporting your partner, are powerful, technical and playful. The (Lunar) Thai massage elements are healing and cultivate listening, loving and letting go.

Anusara

Teaches you to ‘flow with grace’

Sandra Carson, Anusara

Anusara meaning ‘flowing with grace’ is based on the philosophy that life is a gift that we are invited to remember and celebrate in our practice. Anusara uses the universal principles of alignment – guidelines on how to align your body, heart and mind in a way that provides both integration and safe opening. Teachers will generally not ‘fix’ student’s poses, but instead, instruct the proper usage of the principles of alignment and allow each individual to develop their own.

Tip: click on the links to view all classes in that style – you can then use the other filters to narrow your choices further by level, duration, teacher and specific use. 

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Kirsty Tomlinson
Kirsty TomlinsonKirsty Tomlinson trained with Esther Ekhart in 2013 and moved to the Netherlands from North West England in 2015 to follow her dream to work for EkhartYoga. Her role here is a varied one - teacher manager, copywriter, editor, member liaison, and dog walker. (You may recognize her beloved canine hogging the limelight in several of our classes.)...but the best thing is being completely and utterly immersed in yoga!