Photo: mimagephotography via 123RF

Yoga is an ancient practice that combines focused breathing techniques, physical movement, and meditation or relaxation. While yoga began as a spiritual practice, it’s become commonplace in gyms and dance studios to promote students’ physical and mental wellbeing. 

According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, yoga originated thousands of years ago in India. Since then, it’s evolved in several ways across the globe. Read on to learn more about some of the more modern forms of yoga and their benefits. 

Types of Yoga Classes and Their Benefits 

Hot Yoga 

As the name suggests, hot yoga is a form of yoga performed in a balmy, humid yoga studio. Many yoga classes fall into this category of yoga, including Bikram, Moksha, and Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga. That said, “Bikram yoga” isn’t synonymous with “hot yoga.”

The room temperature in a hot yoga class is up to the instructor (e.g., between 80 and 100°F). However, Bikram yoga requires a room heated to exactly 105°F with 40 percent humidity.

Benefits: 

  • Improves flexibility
  • Builds bone density
  • Reduces stress   

If you have heart or artery issues, diabetes, or a history of fainting, the Mayo Clinic recommends consulting your doctor before booking a session. 

Chair Yoga 

Chair yoga is a much gentler, more accessible form of yoga that you can perform while sitting down. (If hot yoga is too intense for you, chair yoga might be a good alternative!) Chair yoga is ideal for anyone who needs additional support, is managing an injury, or is interested in taking a more therapeutic approach to yoga. 

Chair yoga doesn’t require a special chair — any chair will do as long as its legs sit firmly on the ground. 

Benefits: 

  • Improves flexibility 
  • Promotes strength  
  • Reduces stress 

Photo: standrets via 123RF

Goat Yoga 

Goat yoga became famous in 2016 after Lainey Morse introduced her Oregon-based business, Original Goat Yoga, to the world. A yoga instructor leads the class through yoga poses while baby goats interact with the students during a goat yoga session. 

While goat yoga is arguably the most fun form, there are a few things you should know before attending a class. For starters, if you’re uncomfortable with the thought of goat pellets on your yoga mat, goat yoga isn’t for you. You should also choose a studio that puts the goats’ welfare first. 

Benefits: 

  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Provides comfort 
  • Increases mental stimulation 

Vinyasa Yoga 

Vinyasa yoga, or “flow” yoga, is a style that links movement and breath. Each pose runs together, creating a sequence. During flow yoga (sometimes these classes are referred to as yoga flow), each action you make is in sync with a breath. As you move through the poses, you will either inhale or exhale with each. 

Vinyasa yoga combines relaxation, breathwork, and movement, making for an excellent cardiovascular workout. 

Benefits: 

  • Improves stability and balance 
  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Improves strength and stamina

From vinyasa yoga to the more modern and eccentric goat yoga, there are several different styles of yoga out there. Each has its own benefits, and the method you choose will depend on your goals.