I am often asked what is the difference between the various styles of yoga. Now that could take a long time to describe and, indeed, I might not be the most qualified person for the job, as it is a vast subject. Generally speaking any yoga where you practice Asana (poses) and Pranayama (yogic breathing) is Hatha yoga.
This is the most common form of yoga practised in the West and has many forms. Here is a brief outline of some of them:
Ashtanga (vinyasa) yoga:
Ashtanga yoga originated in Mysore and is a dynamic flowing form of yoga. Synchronizing breath and movement. Heating the body from the inside out, purifying the blood and removing toxins
Many poses in the BKS Iyengar system are similar to those of Ashtanga. The focus in this practice is on alignment and poses are sometimes held for long periods of time. The use of props is encouraged in this type of yoga.
Yin yoga focuses on opening the deep connective tissues and joints. It is a slow practice but works really deeply. It is thought that Yin yoga is one of the earliest forms of yoga. Sages would use this form to strengthen the body, so they could sit for long periods in meditation.
Jivamuckti yoga classes offer dynamic yoga, alongside chanting and spiritual readings from the Sutras of Pattanjali and The Upanishads. The founder of this style of yoga are David Life and Sharon Gannon.
Kundalini yoga was brought to the West by Yogi Bhajan in 1969 and is a safe, comprehensive technology that can be practiced by everyone. It combines breathing, movement, stretching and sound (Naad), giving an experience of deep inner calm, self confidence and awareness.
Vinyasa Flow yoga:
A dynamic form of yoga derived from Ashtanga, which synchronizes breathing with an asana (posture) sequence very precisely.
Blankets and bolsters are often used in restorative yoga. Poses are often held for several minutes; allowing the body to release, open and expand. Deeply nourishing and soothing the body and nervous system. Leaving the practitioner refreshed.