Kung Stina

Reach Your Potential.

Your Guide to Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Bikram Yoga Styles

Have you ever gone on a yoga studio’s website, taken a look at the class schedule, and thought I have no idea what any of these words mean? Navigating to the class that’s right for you can be a tough job if you don’t know the difference between Bikram and Hatha. Heaven forbid you accidentally end up in a series 4 Ashtanga class as a beginner! With the number of different yoga styles out there, it’s easy to be confused. But with a little guidance, you’ll be able to make an informed decision in no time!

Here are the 4 most common and popular styles, plus a peek at what you can expect in class: 


This style is centuries old. The first known textual reference that used the words “Hatha yoga” date back to 1100 AD. In Sanskrit, Hatha means “forceful.”

Hatha is the perfect style for beginners because it teaches all of the foundational techniques and poses that will serve as the basis of your yoga practice. It is often described as classical yoga. While Hatha can be used as a broad term encompassing most yoga styles, in studios it is its own separate category. 

The classes will usually focus on stretching, breathing exercises, and guided meditation. It’s not necessarily “easy” yoga, but it is a much slower paced and gentler class than the other styles listed. 


Ashtanga has a fascinating history that relied on the passing down of ancient knowledge from teacher to teacher in order to survive and evolve into a popular and dynamic style. It gained real traction in the West during the 20th century, and it remains one of the main styles offered by studios today. 

Ashtanga is a flowing style that combines breath with movement and is known as the modern-day form of classical yoga. There are 6 series to Ashtanga, each with its own set repetition of asanas. These series are The Primary series, The Intermediate series, and the four Advanced series. This is a much more challenging style of yoga, so be prepared to tap into your mental resolve, even in the Primary series. 


Get ready to step up the pace in this class! Vinyasa is a fast flowing style that focuses on synchronizing breath with movement, much like Ashtanga. Each pose flows into the next creating an almost dance-like routine that will challenge your balance, strength, and flexibility. It can best be described as freestyle Ashtanga, which is the style it was born from. 

Most Vinyasa classes start with Sun Salutations, and after that, it depends on your teacher. Every pose is held for 5 breaths with one breath in between poses during your transition. These classes are great for teaching you how to stay focused on the present because the demanding nature of the style will require 100% of your attention.


This style of yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, and it began to gain popularity in the 1970s. Hundreds of Bikram studios exist in the world today.
Every Bikram yoga class will be the same, no matter where you go. There are 26 poses, all done in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. Be prepared to sweat! 

As you develop your yoga practice, give each of these styles a try. They all have something different to offer and will challenge you in a variety of ways. Of course, many more styles exist outside of these four. Why not make it your goal to take a shot at them all? The dress requirement does not vary by style so slide into your yoga leggings and enjoy what each style has to offer.