Types of Yoga

There are two basic schools of yoga in the West - yoga of action and yoga of patience.  Both schools are great and serve different people. 


The yoga school of action is all about movement and creating internal heat.  Some of the practices (hot and Bikram for example) even heat the room to help yogis to get to this place faster! People with very active minds that find it hard to turn off the world, will likely prefer to start with action yoga.  For these folks a slower more meditative yoga class might drive them bonkers and actually be counter-productive to finding inner awareness and stillness.  A slower yoga class may feel like a waste of time or as though they are not doing anything.  However, these people need a slower class but often times their mind will not allow this.  A practice with physical challenge allows their mind the opportunity to let their body and breath take over.  The yoga of action uses a more physically challenging practice, faster movement, or heat to focus the mind. 


The yoga school of patience is a different kind of practice in that you must sit with your active mind.  The mind, body, spirit connection occurs through deeper inward focus.  This practice is often slower with longer holds.  This allows for a deep physical connection. It can be restorative in nature offering a respite of solitude and inward focus.  


One thing that both schools of yoga have in common is that they connect your breath to your movement. An action yoga class will be mindful and a patience yoga class will have physical challenge.  They are simply two different approaches to the same end goal.


How to pick a class:  (Answer this quick question to decide where to start on your yoga path)


When you hear yoga of action/heat and yoga of patience, does one give you an immediate reaction in your gut? 


The reaction can be positive or negative.  Go with your gut - if you felt irritated or a sense of dis-ease by the idea of patience, you should try an action class.  If the idea of patience gave you a sense of calm, you should try a patience class. 



Names of Action & Patience Classes

When searching for a yoga class, the "types" of yoga to look for include:


Types of action yoga =

  • Power
  • Hot
  • Vinyasa flow
  • Ashtanga
  • Bikrim
  • Level 2-3


Types of patience yoga =

  • Gentle
  • Yin
  • Restorative
  • Slow flow
  • Chair
  • Prenatal
  • Level 1
  • Most Beginner classes unless has a name listed in Action list

Time of Day, Life, or Season & Yoga





Using ancient yogic wisdom, it suggests that there are various "times" in which certain types of yoga should be practiced.  To learn about this in greater detail, I recommend studying the basics of Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga.  










Time of Days:

  • Sunrise - 10:00 AM:  Action yoga such as power or vinyasa flow, building heat for the day
  • 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM:   Patience yoga such as yin yoga, cooling in the mid-day heat
  • 2:00 PM - Sunset:   Patience yoga such as gentle, slowing down for the day
  • Sunset - Sunrise:  Patience yoga such as restorative, preparing for and assisting with sleep




  • Spring:   Action yoga such as power or vinyasa flow to build heat to burn off the winter, energize the body and mind, and uplift the spirit
  • Summer:  Patience yoga such as yin yoga focusing on cooling and refreshing the heat in the body and mind
  • Early Fall: (warm)  Patience yoga such as gentle yoga focusing on cooling, relaxing, and quieting
  • Late Fall: (cool)   Action or patience yoga with a focus on mild warming, grounding, and soothing
  • Winter:  Action or patience yoga with a focus on warming, grounding, and soothing



Time of Life:

  • Pre-puberty:  Yoga that builds strength and encourages playful exploration Should not be an aggressive yoga.  Yoga designed for kids is perfect at this time.
  • Puberty - Menopause/Andropause:  Yoga the encourages physical and mental strength needed to successfully balance the action time of life.  Typically drawn towards Action yoga but great benefits can be found in Patience yoga.
  • Post Menopause/Andropause:  Any yoga with a more meditative, inward focus.  If Action yoga, it should not cause stress or strain on the body or mind.  Focus on the meaningful and mindful qualities.



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