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What Style of Yoga is Most Common?

Hands on black yoga mat

It is believed that there are over 10 major different types of yoga that are practiced today with dozens of smaller offshoots and variations from each of those styles, but you might be wondering out of all these options, which one is the most common?

The Most Common Yoga Styles

Although it is hard to pinpoint which style is the most common and it can vary based on where you are it is believed that vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga and power yoga are three of the most common types of classes practiced and taught today. 

When you look at these three different types of yoga, it is clear that each one hits a different part of the intensity spectrum and fulfills a unique aspect of the practice when it comes to yoga classes. Vinyasa is the backbone of all flow classes that you see practiced today and is easily the most practiced generalized forms of yoga. Then when you look at the two ends of the intensity spectrum you have restorative yoga and power yoga. Restorative yoga is a deeply restful style of yoga that helps with recovery, and power yoga is on the other end of the spectrum with being quite well, powerful and vinyasa tends to fall in the middle. 

Let's look at each one individually, and explore why it has become so popular, as well as how they work well together to create a well rounded yoga schedule. 

Vinyasa Yoga

What is Vinyasa Yoga?

Vinyasa is a relatively modern style of yoga that is derived from Hatha Yoga in which you use pranayama, mindfulness exercises and asanas in your practice. In Vinyasa physical postures (asanas) are put together in a “flow” where you move with fluidity from more posture to another and will include all major categories of yoga poses that are designed to move the body in all directions. Although vinyasa yoga can vary in intensity based on the instructor, it is usually at least a moderate level of intensity. 

Why is it so common? 

Vinyasa is a very versatile style of yoga that can vary from teacher to teacher and can be influenced by other styles of yoga or have many different variations on the practice. With the backbone of vinyasa classes being sun salutation and it’s variations and warrior sequences it makes this style of yoga easily recognized, and also adaptable to most students. For many students, vinyasa yoga helps with the mind/body connection and can be a form of mindful movement that moves the body in all directions and includes flows, static holds, deep stretches and savasana. Vinyasa also weaves breath, mindfulness and movement together in a simple and approachable way. 

Vinyasa yoga teacher trainings are some of the most popular trainings, meaning there are more and more teachers offering flow classes than before, make it the most popular and familiar style of yoga for new and seasoned yogis alike. 

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Power Yoga

What is Power Yoga? 

Power yoga, or sometimes called yoga sculpt, is an intense form of yoga that fuses traditional yoga flows with fitness elements like hand weights, squats, push-ups and anything else that you can imagine. These classes are typically a hybrid of vinyasa flow and strength training to create a high powered class and can vary greatly depending on the instructor, but commonly are built on the vinyasa foundation and then fuse extra strength elements in with it. Think of power yoga, as a vinyasa class but with some extra, well power! 

Why is it so common? 

A vinyasa power yoga class is shown with a student twisting into a yoga pose.

With more and more gyms and studios wanting to offer a well rounded group of classes, having a power class on the schedule allows students to get their yoga practice in but also add some extra strength and power into the flow style class they are most likely already familiar with. It is also a great starting point for fitness enthusiasts who want to incorporate yoga into their routine, but may not be willing to take a full yoga class. Power yoga can feel approachable to many who are used to working out in a gym setting, or think yoga is just “stretching.” 

Restorative Yoga

What is Restorative Yoga? 

Taking a 180 from power yoga, restorative yoga is a deeply restful and relaxing practice that honors our need for rest and relaxation. Restorative yoga is a type of yoga that typically  uses  a lot of props that helps someone get into a relaxing pose without discomfort that is then held for 5-2 minutes. This is a deep, relaxing and opening practice designed to help the body heal during times of distress and utilizes props and passive stretching to gently open the body and quiet the mind. A class is typically made up of 4-8 poses and they are held for around 5-10 minutes each, and helps to promote relaxation and recovery of the body and mind. This is a slow, intentional practices designed to help you rejuvenate and take tension off of your body. 

Why is it so common? 

As a whole, we are so deeply deprived of rest and relaxation that we often find ourselves leaning on practices like restorative yoga to help us unwind at the end of the day. Restorative yoga can help you recover from more intense movement days, after illness or injury, or can be a way to soothe your nervous system if you find you are constantly working on overdrive. Many studios are incorporating slower, restorative classes that help students unwind and relax to compliment the higher intensity classes and the fast pace of life that we are living in. 

Why These Different Forms of Yoga Work So Well Together 

When you look at these three different types of yoga as the most common, it make sense that they are popular yoga styles with students and teachers alike.

Power yoga, vinyasa, and restorative yoga all serve a unique purpose and can complement each other well to create a well rounded yoga schedule that has a little bit of everything and can serve many different kinds of students and their particular requests.

Throughout our day, week or even years we will want practices that help us strengthen, unwind, and just connect our bodies and minds which is that makes these three practices so complementary to one another and popular around the world. 

Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith
Kelly is the founder of Yoga For You, and the host of the Mindful in Minutes podcast. She is an E-RYT 500, YACEP, and a location independent yoga and meditation teacher. She spends her days traveling globally offering trainings in restorative yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, writing blogs for beYogi, and recording meditations from her closet.