When it comes to trying yoga, I’ve heard all the excuses. Among my favorites: “Yoga’s not for me,” “I tried yoga and didn’t like it,” and “I’m not flexible and/or strong enough for yoga.”

I don’t even know where to start. (Another post for another day.)

The truth is that yoga is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s one-size-fits-all. The key is finding the right style and the best type of yoga for you. But how do you do that?

The short answer: Find the type that provides the benefits you’re hoping to gain. Say you come to class looking for stress relief. The right yoga for you is the one that gives you the most relief from stress.

Sounds simple, right? It would be if there weren’t so many styles to choose from. And, oh by the way, what the heck do these class names even mean?

To help you on your quest to find your perfect fit, here’s the quick and dirty (or a refresher).

The 8 Most Common Styles of Yoga


Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises that is commonly referred to as "hot yoga" because the room is heated to approximately 105 degrees. It's best for those who think yoga is "too easy" and want to sweat.


Vinyasa yoga is a variety-filled, flowing style series where you move with your breath. It's like a rhythmic dance that'll put your strength and endurance to the test. It's best for those who like to move it, move it (like non-stop) and those who get bored easily. 


Ashtanga yoga is a challenging set series of vigorous and powerful poses connected to the breath with some longer holds. It's best for people who are all about them #gains through structure, focus, repetition, and discipline. 


Power yoga is a faster-paced and less-structured version of Ashtanga yoga, and it adds some strength building work for the core and upper body. It's best for people who would prefer that their yoga feel like an ass-kicking group fitness class. 


Iyengar yoga is a slower-paced practice involving lots of props to make it accessible to every body. It puts a lot of emphasis on precision, alignment, safety, and therapeutic benefits. It's best for the detail-oriented, "am I doing this right?" types, as well as those suffering from injuries. 


Yin yoga is a more meditative practice involving stillness in the body and mind using long, passive holds for deep release of the muscles, joints, and connective tissues. It's best for those who need to chill and learn to do it gently instead of always trying to force relaxation (you know who you are). 


Restorative yoga is all about looooooooong holds, which are fully supported by props to allow for complete relaxation. It's basically snuggle yoga. It's best for those who need a great big hug from their mama with gentle reassurance that everything's gonna be a-okay. 


Hatha yoga is a moderately-paced, well-rounded practice using mediation, breathing, as well as elements of many other yoga practices. It's best for those who want to just pop their head in and see what this yoga stuff is all about and get a bit of everything. 

More Tips to Find the Best Type of Yoga for You

Before giving up on yoga completely, try a few styles, teachers and facilities. You may initially be drawn to one style that closely matches the tone and tempo of your life. Or you may find yourself drawn to a practice that’s the polar opposite of your daily life.

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the choices and don’t feel like you have to lock yourself into one style. It’s not uncommon for yogis to go years practicing only one style just to abruptly be drawn to something completely different.

With time and practice, you become really in tune with your body and may find that you gravitate toward multiple styles for the unique benefits each has to offer. But don’t worry, that’s not considered cheating.