5 Most Popular Types Of Hatha Yoga + Similarities, Difference + What To Expect In Class

Yoga offers a vast array of styles to suit different needs, preferences, and fitness levels, with Hatha yoga being one of the most popular and versatile categories. But did you know there are different types of Hatha yoga? The most popular types of Hatha yoga are Traditional Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga, Power and Iyengar.

While you can expect something different from each of their classes, you can also expect some similarities, being that they are all of the Hatha lineage. Each of these styles has its unique approach and benefits, providing something for every level, from beginner to advanced.

This article explores the five most popular types of Hatha yoga and what you can expect in a class for each.

In Westernized modern yoga, Hatha is an umbrella term used to describe several styles of yoga.

This is because these sub-styles stem from the traditional Hatha yoga lineage. If, at any point, you enroll in an online yoga course and become a yoga teacher, you will likely take a course that teaches from the Hatha lineage, as most do.

However, every yogi should know that these other styles significantly differ from traditional Hatha yoga. They may feature many of the same poses, but the pace, sequencing, and primary focus differ.

Many yoga studios and gyms call their yoga classes Hatha, but in reality, it can be any sub-style. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of confusion because a “Hatha” class you attend at one studio could be totally different from one at another. 

To help you understand the distinctions between the different styles, let's take a brief look at the 5 different types of Hatha yoga and what you can expect at a class.

The five types of Hatha yoga 1. Traditional Hatha yoga 2. Vinyasa yoga 3. Ashtanga yoga 4. Power yoga 5. Iyengar yoga

Hatha refers to a spiritual and physical practice that combines physical postures with breathing techniques.

Hatha yoga classes teach you how to control your life force energy through deep breathing, helping you to unite the body and mind.

You typically hold each posture for at least a few breaths, focusing on controlled movements. Hatha is not a fast-paced style of yoga.

Hatha yoga teachers have complete creative control over how they build their sequences and which poses they incorporate into a class.

Classes can be held in a heated room or not.

Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic yet mindful movement practice where you link each breath to each movement. The asanas are sequenced together with an almost constant and rather fast-paced flow.

Both Hatha and Vinyasa are particularly good for increasing your energy levels, building muscle strength, and improving cardiovascular health.

Vinyasa yoga teachers are known to create ladder flows. Ladder flows build up to a peak pose by adding more poses into a sequence that is repeated as it is added onto until the peak pose is added. The peak pose will be the hardest pose of the class.

Classes can be held in hot rooms or at regular air temperature.

Many yogis believe Ashtanga to be the hardest yoga style, as it is fast-paced and physically demanding.

Ashtanga yoga is a disciplined and physically strenuous style. There are six series, all of which have set yoga poses that must be practiced in a specific order. Mastering just the primary series, or first series, of Ashtanga can take years. You must master all postures in one series before moving on to the next. It also has a self-led style called Mysore.

Ashtanga yoga classes are held in a room heated to 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The same sequence is performed in each class, so the same poses are done in the same order. Ashtanga is similar to Vinyasa in that it's a flow style of yoga.

Power yoga is a physical fitness practice widespread in gyms. It is similar to Vinyasa but is often faster and with additional upper body and core strength training.

It's a vigorous and dynamic flow-style style of yoga that combines the principles of traditional Hatha yoga with the intensity of a high-energy workout.

Characterized by its continuous flow of postures, Power yoga aims to build strength, flexibility, and endurance while providing a robust cardiovascular workout.

Classes are held in heated yoga rooms or at regular air temperature.

Unlike all the other styles, Iyengar yoga has a slower pace than traditional Hatha.

This is because you hold each posture for numerous breaths, taking time to ensure you have the correct alignment. Iyengar yoga also incorporates props into the practice, such as chairs.

Generally speaking, Iyengar classes are not held in heated rooms and include various poses each time.

So now you know the differences and what to expect from Hatha yoga's five most famous styles!

The diverse world of Hatha yoga offers something for everyone, whether you're seeking relaxation, strength, flexibility, or a dynamic workout.

Understanding the unique features of each style can help you choose the type of Hatha yoga that best aligns with your personal goals and preferences, ensuring a fulfilling and enriching yoga journey. Enjoy!

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Heather is a Certified Yoga Teacher the visionary behind The Yogatique, her passion project. She created The Yogatique to help yogis & other growth-oriented individuals discover premium high quality trainings and classes in the yoga & wellness space. Heather is a RYT-200 and a practicing yogi of more than 15 years. She is also a global citizen who has been living abroad for 10 years. Her passions include health & fitness, studying healthspan & longevity, exploring the road less traveled, & SEO. Heather can be reached at heatherj@theyogatique.com, or you can connect with Heather on LinkedIn.


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