Which is which? Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga, Bikram Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga?
1. Ashtanga Yoga
I find Ashtanga Yoga classes really physically challenging, with way far more difficult poses compared to Hatha and Vinyasa. It prety much follows a structure that you just repeat again and again and if you're attending "Mysore" classes, you do these "asana" series (there's 5 that you need to master), you do them on your own even when there are other students in class, just that you do it at your own pace with the teacher helping you do them correctly. You don't have "yoga props" to help you out over here, and usually there's no music played, just you and your breathe (and for sound, if any, of your sweat drops :P). No I don't teach this and won't pretend to be an expert either ! I actually die each time I attend these classes.
2. Hatha Yoga
My personal favorite ! It's combination of pranayama ("breathing") and asanas ("poses"). So you get into the poses and breath a couple of times put it simply. There are easy poses, there intermediate ones, and ofcourse advanced once. It's relatively moderate-paced compared to Vinyasa. That's the glaring difference really, same poses with a difference pace. And that pace allows you to perfect the pose / your alignment. This is what I specialize on. Perhaps later on, I'll venture into others.
3. Bikram / Hot Yoga
From the word itself, it means you're doing yoga in a hot place and same goes for Bikram Yoga. I did a lot of Bikram and Hot Yoga to help me continuously move even when I was injured. The heat helps you relax more so you end up pushing yourself to do more, bend more, stretch more, hold the poses more. You need to say hydrated before, during and after the class. And with the slightest movement, you will definitely be sweating. Imagine yoga in a steam room (the steam being everyone's sweat). Well like a sauna or steam room, you get the detoxifying benefits as well aside from the yoga benefits.
Now what's their difference? Hot Yoga pretty much is Vinyasa Yoga in a hot room. Bikram has a 26-pose structured flow that doesn't change...at all.
4. Restorative Yoga
Restorative yoga is one of the slowest and quite similar to Yin. I think we talked abou this in the previous article (my teaching certification called it Gravity Yoga). So the classes are designed to help injured students and also to allow you to super chill and release stress.
5. Vinyasa Yoga
It's Hatha Yoga but faster. So when you're doing this type of yoga, there's a "flow" to it and the focus of it is more on smooth transitioning between poses and when you are moving from one pose from another, your breath matches every move.
It's Ashtanga but more flexible with the sequence of the poses.
6. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga like Restorative Yoga is super slow-paced. It targets mobility and flexibility. So if you are a consistent Yin practitioner, eventually in time you gain that desired mobility because you consistently hold the poses for minimum 2 minutes til maximum 5 minutes. Imagine what that can do for your body. Pretty much is like Restorative Yoga only that the intention is not to "heal" but to enhance your ability to move flexibly as a result of your practice. But you'll find it quite similar when you attend these classes.