Which type of yoga is best for you?

Do you want to get hot and sweaty or relax and sleep? We have the expert advice on which yoga is for you.

To a beginner, yoga can seem a bit of a mystery. There are different types of yoga, all very different to each other. Yet that variety is the beauty of yoga, because with a bit of knowledge you can find a form to suit any age or ability and any mood – whether you fancy an aerobic workout or a de-stress before bed.

We’ve teamed up with Liz Hardie, head of wellness at More Yoga, which has 35 studios across London, to help demystify this ancient form of exercise – and explain what the different forms of yoga are so you can decide which is best for you.

A group of people practising yoga in a parkCredit: Shutterstock /NIKS ADS

Yoga boasts a host of benefits for the body and the mind. It isn’t just a form of exercise, but this ancient practice, originally from India, blends physical, spiritual and mental health. Getting started in yoga is simple: read our beginner’s yoga guide to find out more. It needs very little equipment, just comfortable, stretchy clothing and the best yoga mat for you.

Hardie says: “The great thing about yoga is that because there are so many different styles, regardless of your age, level of fitness and flexibility, you will be able to find one that suits you. There are so many benefits to yoga, from helping to improve strength, flexibility and physical health, whilst also boosting your mood, helping to support your mental health, easing stress and common mental health issues like anxiety, which affect many of us.”


“If you don’t find a style you like first time, then shop around to find a style and teacher that work best for you. Each one has its benefits, and you can mix things up by practising a different type depending upon your mood, energy level or time of day.”

What is the best type of yoga?

The answer to this is there isn’t one; this is the beauty of yoga. There are so many different forms of yoga that you’ll find one that suits you – or maybe even a combination of styles.

Which style of yoga is best for stress and anxiety?

There isn’t one single answer. All yoga includes a focus on your breath, which is likely to have stress-relieving benefits. Restorative or yin yoga are seen as the most relaxing, but a slow or gentle flow can help to repair and restore the whole system and you can use bolsters, props and blankets to get cosy.

Hardie adds: “Yin yoga goes a little deeper, as you hold poses for up to five minutes each to work into the deep connective tissue.”

She also recommends another form: “If you struggle to switch off mentally, a slow vinyasa might be the best place to start to help ease stress and reduce anxiety.”

Or if you find that a more vigorous workout helps you to relieve stress, then ashtanga might be the best choice.

A yoga instructor demonstrating a move to a classCredit: Shutterstock / Hero Images inc

How do I find the best style of yoga for me?

If you aren’t sure, then try a few styles after reading our guide below. There are hundreds of yoga studios across the UK and an endless supply of online yoga workouts to suit every level. Speak to the instructor first if you are going to a class, or to your GP if you have any health or injury concerns.

Which type of yoga is best for beginners?

Hardie says that the hatha and yin forms are great for beginners, as you can take them at your own pace and teachers will often offer different options for different levels of experience. She also suggests a slow vinyasa class if you prefer more movement in your practice.


The styles of yoga

What are the different types of yoga?

We break down the different styles of yoga to get you started on your yoga journey – beginning with the slowest and easiest forms and moving up to the faster and more advanced types.

Hatha yoga

Hatha yoga – a great starter practice

Hatha is one of the most popular forms of yoga and the best class for a beginner.  It’s a great style to learn yoga breathing and the physical postures, as it’s a slower form than many others. During a class you can expect to hold each pose for about five to 10 breaths, which gives you time to adjust and improve as you learn. If you find hatha too slow, then try a flow, vinyasa or power yoga.

Good for

Stretching, mindfulness, preparing for sleep and de-stressing – a good counterpoint to busy lifestyles.

A group of women in a yoga classCredit: Shutterstock / Wavebreakmedia

Yin yoga

Stretch and soothe with yin yoga

Yin is a slow-paced style of yoga that often incorporates meditation. Postures are held for minutes rather than seconds and the moves increase blood flow to the joints and improve flexibility. While other forms focus on your muscles, yin yoga targets your deep connective tissues – like your fascia and ligaments – and your joints. It’s slower and more meditative, giving you space to tune into both your mind and the physical sensations of your body.

You can use props such as bolster cushions or blocks to help you.

Good for

Those interested in meditation. Yin can help improve flexibility and gives the body a deep stretch. It can also help with sleep and de-stressing.

Restorative yoga

Relax and chill with restorative yoga

At the core of restorative yoga is body relaxation and the calming of your mind. Like yin yoga, poses are held for longer and props are often used, such as blankets and bolsters, to help your relaxation. You will carry out just a few postures over the course of an hour’s class and the only real work is paying attention to your breathing and the sensations from your body. Have patience with this form to get used to the stillness and stretch.

Good for

Relaxation, stretching and de-stressing. It can help with sleep and is a great antidote to cardio exercises or a busy life.

Aerial yoga

Take off with aerial yoga

Aerial is a newer form of yoga. Instead of performing poses on a mat, with aerial yoga you use a silk hammock or sling that is suspended from the ceiling. The purpose of the hammock is to provide support through your yoga flow, while also improving flexibility and range of motion. You’ll be able to try poses such as headstands, which you may not be able to do otherwise.

A woman practising aerial yogaCredit: Shutterstock /Ihor Bulyhin

You don’t need to have practised yoga beforehand, but it does help to know the poses.

It’s a fun class that, despite appearances, is great for beginners or anyone wanting to try something a bit different.  Some classes have an acrobatic element, but others are more therapeutic and helpful for people who struggle to get down to the mat or have mobility issues, as the hammock brings the ground up to you. Check with the instructor first to find out whether the class is suitable.

Aerial yoga is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant or for whom hanging upside down is not advised (including some eye conditions, such as cataracts) and people with unregulated blood pressure or heart failure.

Good for

Yogis looking for a fun acrobatic workout or those who struggle with mobility issues.

Vinyasa yoga

Go with the flow with vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa is also known as “flow” and literally means “to place in a special way” when translated from Sanskrit. In vinyasa, breath and movement are synchronised as poses flow from one onto the next. There are also specific forms of vinyasa, such as prana and white lotus.

Hardie says: “Vinyasa can vary in intensity, so check with the instructor when you sign up – but teachers should be able to offer variations to suit all levels.”

The NHS has a beginner’s vinyasa so you can try it for free.

Good for

General toning, alignment and strengthening of the body. It can also help with cardiovascular fitness, as it’s a dynamic style.

Mandala yoga

A circular practice with mandala yoga

Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means “circle” and this form takes you on a 360-degree journey around your yoga mat through a slow form of ashtanga yoga. Devotees describe it as a form of moving meditation.

Although it is slow, expect to be challenged by the dynamic sequence of flowing movements, so it is not recommended for beginners.

Good for

Anyone wanting to shake up their practice on the mat, increase their stamina and also develop mindfulness and meditation.

Kundalini yoga

Embrace spirituality with kundalini yoga

This style is a combination of physical and spiritual and aims to release the “kundalini” energy said to be trapped in the lower spine. It derives from the Sanskrit word kundal, which translates to “coiled energy”. The concept is that we all have energy gathered at the base of our spine and, through the practice of kundalini, we bring that energy up our spine through the seven chakras, and out the top of our head. Practitioners often wear white (to extend spirituality and ward off negativity) but that isn’t compulsory.

hands in the air during a Kundalini yoga sessionCredit: Shutterstock /Boris Radivojkov

This form combines often challenging breathwork, chanting, meditation and fast-moving postures. A class is typically comprised of three parts: an opening chant followed by a brief warm-up for your spine, a kriya (which is a sequence of postures paired with breathing techniques), and a closing meditation or song. It can be an intense class so may not be the best starting practice for beginners.

Good for

Anyone looking for a workout with an added spiritual side.

Rocket yoga

Power up with rocket yoga

This is another modern style and is a modification of ashtanga. Rocket yoga is a dynamic and vigorous form that follows a similar pattern in each class – starting with sun salutations. A key part of this form are the inversions (headstands, handstands and elbow stands) and arm balances. It started in the 1990s and the ‘father’ of the form was a yogi called Larry Schultz, who was the personal yoga trainer for rock band the Grateful Dead.

Good for

Building upper body strength, cardiovascular fitness and overall stamina. Although classes vary in intensity, it isn’t the best form for a total beginner.

Ashtanga yoga

Physical and fast ashtanga yoga

This is a form of yoga that is a physically demanding sequence of postures. Ashtanga is a very dynamic and athletic form of hatha yoga. It is made up of six levels, with a fixed order of postures. It is rooted in vinyasa, with flowing movements between postures and a focus on energy and breath. While it is a very physical practice, it is said to promote mental clarity and inner peace. Again, this isn’t one for a total beginner.

Good for

Those who want a great physical workout and to build strength. It can also help with clear thinking and de-stressing. If you like a structured practice, this is worth trying.

Power yoga

An aerobic practice with power yoga

As the name suggests, this is a fast practice designed to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. Think of this as the aerobics of the yoga world. The poses are challenging and you quickly move from one to the rest. It’s more aerobics than a mindful yoga experience. Power yoga is not a great first choice for beginners – if you don’t know vinyasa moves you’ll struggle to keep up.

Good for

Anyone looking for a yoga workout to improve strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Hot yoga (bikram)

Sweat it out with hot yoga

Hot yoga is a sweaty and intense style of yoga practised in a hot studio heated to around 36°C (96.8°F). Because of this, it’s one that is tricky to practise at home.

A group of people practising hot yogaCredit: Shutterstock /zjuzjaka

Any type of yoga can be practised in a hot environment, but most classes feature vinyasas and postures which focus on correct alignment.

Take a towel to class as you’ll sweat and could slide on the mat. Don’t forget to stay hydrated – drink something before you start, and after the session. If you have any medical conditions, check with your GP or specialist – it is generally not suitable for people with heart conditions or pregnant women. Once again, this isn’t the best form for total beginners.

Good for

Hot yoga is great for sweating out toxins, flexibility and breathwork. Fans say it can help alleviate joint stiffness, release endorphins and help blood circulation.

Phillipa Cherryson

Written by Phillipa Cherryson she/her


Phillipa Cherryson is a senior digital editor for Saga Exceptional. Phillipa has been a journalist for 30 years, writing for local and national newspapers, UK magazines and reporting onscreen for ITV. In her spare time she loves the outdoors and is a trainee mountain leader and Ordnance Survey Champion.

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