What is the best type of yoga?

While I meant the title of this post to be a bit provocative and controversial, I actually have a real question. I certainly understand that such a question is silly to even ask, as it is highly subjective. However can you recommend specific types of yoga to train specific attributes you are looking for? For instance, if you wanted to improve flexibility, body strength, balance, or general weight loss as a specific goal, which Yoga would be better to start practicing to hone a specific attribute. Obviously yoga would be beneficial for all these categories, but each type of yoga must ‘specialize’ in something, right?

For myself, I’m more of a rock climber, but our gym also offers yoga classes. So for me, body strength / core would be important for me. I’m also a newbie at Yoga, so jumping into the whole ‘power’ yoga thing might be a bit intimidating since I dont’ know very many poses. I’m a relatively ‘good’ climber (v7-v8 boulderer if that means anything to people here), so am fairly ‘fit’ to begin with.

Thanks for any suggestions or info.

Yoga is that which brings one in contact with their spirit. Ergo whichever one does that for YOU, that is the appropriate Yoga. If the question is about appropriate [I]exercise[/I] that should be answered by a personal trainer.

The physical practice of postures is merely a conduit. Just as a wire is not an electrical circuit, postures are not Yoga. Put another way, asana is to yoga as a stone in your shoe is to a mountain. Which pebbles would you walk on to help you with Kilimanjaro?

The best type of yoga, in my opinion, is the one that you enjoy. You’re obviously looking for something more physical, and any of the physical yoga types will give you strength, flexibility, balance, etc. It’s just a matter of how the poses are presented, whether they flow, hold poses, repeat the same sequence or not, etc., and how you enjoy doing it. But yes, I agree with you to start with a beginner level class.

P.S. Pilates is [I]very[/I] good for the core too.

I always loved sivananda yoga, its a gentler slower moving yoga (build major strength though) and poses are held for a few seconds, minute, opposed to the vinyassa flow which is more of a steady flow. iyengar is based more on alignment and I believe the poses are held longer and other forms I am not too familiar with. yin or restorative , probably hatha flow would probably put you to sleep.

sivananda would give you a very good base and understanding of the poses.

I like the authentic types of yoga much moreso than the americanized versions. hot yoga and whatever other newbies there are just don’t “feel” right to me, but that’s me.

I can understand what you seek, you like the physical. if you are already fit you may/may not need the beginners but probably not a bad place to start. sivananda is authentic, and would be a good one. I progressed from that and now do more power yoga, and flow types as they provide a more energetic workout for me, but sivananda will build great strength as well. its a very good “base” yoga without the americanized newfangled types. astanga is where I am headed next cause I am feel to do the very challenging.

check out the teacher, most if trained in countries like india or elsewhere often have studied mixes of different types. sometimes they incorporate this into their more personalized teachings. some though teach a specific authentic type. any other questions just ask, seems not many people on this forum actually answer them, smile…


Thanks everyone for the responses. I guess the best thing to do is to just jump in a do it! I can then try to correct from there.

“power yoga” is the most misguided term for Yoga aspirants because making yoga customize for gym like activity is not actually yoga. It sounds like if I say “Gymnast yoga” for people looking only flexibility or “Karate yoga” if you are seeking quickness.
To answer your question in short, if you want to make changes only on physical level (annamaya kosha) then go for any activity that gives you result you are looking for (strength in this case) or go for authentic way of doing Yoga where in you actually transform. Genuine Yoga Teaching has potential to tap your all koshas (Annamay, Pranmay, Manomay, Vigyanmay and Anandmaya).

Yoga needs to be understood beyond brochures, so-called styles or ‘feel good’ branding. One should be intrigued by the fact that the heritage of yoga dates back thousands of years and knows no borders of religion, language, people, color or time. Could such a discipline be designed merely for physical well-being? Could it be understood through casual conversations and glossy gimmicks? If all that one wants are health benefits and yoga deliver them; it doesn’t mean yoga is just all that. Theoretically, one can cross the whole Broadway in a Boeing 747 aircraft; but that doesn’t mean the aircraft is just good for that.

If one has time and inclination, there are enough good books to tell what yoga really is. Once it is known it would be difficult to get carried away by types or styles.

I’m a hatha person. lol…

It suits me, it gives a good workout, and that’s all I want out of yoga.

IMO, a “best” yoga style is kind of like “best” way to cook an egg.

That’s what yoga was missing, a sense of humor. People take life too seriously as if it is real.

Determining the "best" type of yoga is subjective and depends on individual preferences, goals, and physical abilities. Each style of yoga offers unique benefits, and what works best for one person may not necessarily be ideal for another. However, I can outline some popular types of yoga, along with their characteristics and potential benefits, to help you find the one that resonates most with you:

  1. Hatha Yoga: Hatha yoga is a gentle, slow-paced practice that focuses on basic postures and breathing exercises. It's great for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed approach to yoga. Hatha yoga is often used as a foundation for other yoga styles.

  2. Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa yoga, also known as flow yoga, involves linking breath with movement in a continuous sequence of poses. It's dynamic and fluid, offering a more vigorous workout while promoting flexibility, strength, and mindfulness.

  3. Iyengar Yoga: Iyengar yoga emphasizes precise alignment and the use of props such as blocks, straps, and bolsters to support the body in each pose. It's excellent for improving posture, flexibility, and body awareness, and it's often recommended for those recovering from injuries.

  4. Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga yoga is a challenging and structured style characterized by a set sequence of poses performed in a specific order. It focuses on breath control, strength, and stamina, making it ideal for those seeking a physically demanding practice.

  5. Bikram Yoga: Bikram yoga consists of a series of 26 poses practiced in a heated room, typically set to a temperature of 95-105°F (35-40°C). The heat is believed to enhance flexibility, detoxification, and calorie burning. However, some people may find the extreme heat uncomfortable or risky, especially those with certain medical conditions.

  6. Kundalini Yoga: Kundalini yoga combines postures, breathwork, chanting, and meditation to awaken spiritual energy and promote self-awareness. It's known for its emphasis on the subtle energy centers in the body (chakras) and can be both physically and mentally transformative.

  7. Yin Yoga: Yin yoga involves holding passive poses for an extended period, typically 3-5 minutes or longer, to target the connective tissues and promote deep relaxation and flexibility. It's a gentle practice suitable for all levels and can be particularly beneficial for releasing tension and improving joint mobility.

  8. Restorative Yoga: Restorative yoga focuses on relaxation and stress relief through supported poses held for extended periods, often with the assistance of props. It's excellent for reducing anxiety, promoting deep rest, and rejuvenating the body and mind.

Ultimately, the "best" type of yoga is one that aligns with your goals, preferences, and physical condition. Experimenting with different styles and teachers can help you find the practice that resonates most with you and supports your overall well-being. Remember that yoga is a journey of self-discovery, and it's essential to listen to your body and honor its needs as you explore different practices.