Vinyasa vs Hatha Yoga (What is the difference?)

Many people ask the difference of Vinyasa vs Hatha Yoga. We always recommend that beginners try out different styles to see how their body properly flows.

Vinyasa vs Hatha Yoga

There are more than 20+ popular yoga styles frequently being taught in yoga studios across the world today. The difference between these two specific yoga styles is quite contrasting:

Vinyasa vs Hatha Yoga Styles
Vinyasa and Hatha share some of the same poses

Hatha yoga is general yoga and better suited towards beginners and intermediate students, while Vinyasa is a style of yoga that’s more active, has some advanced poses and requires more movement on the mat. While they share some of the same poses, hatha is considered to be generalized while Vinyasa has various sub-styles including Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga and Power Yoga.

Generally, beginners will do better with Hatha yoga as it doesn’t place as much demand on the individual to hold poses or transition quickly. Hatha yoga is slower and more gentle on the body, while Vinyasa is designed more like a fitness workout.

Practicing hatha yoga on the beach

With both styles, students still enjoy Savasana at the end and each class may incorporate some of the same poses. These include the downward-facing dog, Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 as well as the Bridge asana.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa is much more flowing. Those who enjoy workouts will enjoy vinyasa and can expect to sweat even on the coldest day. Vinyasa is designed to move heat through the body though some yoga studios offer Slow Vinyasa for those looking for something that more closely resembles Hatha.

The average Vinyasa Yoga class is 60 minutes including 10 minutes of Savasana.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is much more relaxing but does challenge the student into several poses. There is less emphasis on breathing coordination between poses and high strength isn’t necessary. For experienced yogis, hatha yoga is considered to be boring and they opt instead to choose other styles such as Vinyasa Flow, Bikram, Ashtanga or Yin.

The average Hatha Yoga class is 60 minutes including 15 minutes of Savasana or Yoga Nidra.

The best style

There is no ‘best’ style of yoga. This elitist mentality where Hatha is considered to be the poor cousin of vinyasa is perpetuated by Instagram-fame. Yoga is simply yoga in our opinion and all students should be starting initially with Hatha or at the very best, Slow Vinyasa.

We’re a big proponent of finding what feels good for you on the mat. If you feel too challenged then you may be in the wrong class. If you feel you’re not able to grow, then it’s time to find a more advanced class.

Yoga studios, in general, offer more Hatha classes with their weekly schedules than Vinyasa classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can beginners do Vinyasa Yoga?

Yes, beginners can do a vinyasa yoga class however Slow Flow is recommended. This is a more relaxing class as opposed to Vinyasa or Vinyasa Flow which require stamina and agility.

Is Hatha yoga better for beginners?

Compared to Vinyasa, beginners will be better served within a Hatha yoga class at home or within a studio setting. These classes are more relaxing for beginners whether they practice inside yoga studios or home, and ultimately lead to progress without frustration.

Is Vinyasa harder than Hatha?

It’s often harder to conduct some of the Vinyasa poses than compared to Hatha yoga poses. Those who choose Vinyasa do seek the challenges while those in Hatha yoga classes are newer and are building up strength, stamina and flexibility. Essentially, Hatha is easier to begin with where there is less emphasis on breathe control and sequencing.

Is Vinyasa Yoga good for weight loss?

Those who practice Vinyasa Yoga regularly (2 to 3 times per week) are likely to experience some weight loss given the physical nature of constant movement on the mat. Other styles such as Bikram and Vinyasa Flow may lead to better fitness outcomes than Hatha.

Ultimately

We believe that comparing Vinyasa vs Hatha is quite a simple process.

If you’re newer to the yoga studio and have been practising for less than 3 months, we would recommend Hatha initially. This will assist you in getting your body conditioned towards the demands of the yoga sequences.

Be patient and kind to your body and remember that this isn’t a race. There is little value in comparing your yoga journey with the person next to you on their mat.

As time progresses, you will probably find yourself into a Vinyasa class when you’re ready to move through asanas much faster. Between Hatha and Vinyasa yoga lays Ashtanga which is a good transition point though fewer studios offer this class. Ashtanga is mildly heated while Hatha and Vinyasa are not.

As you do, coming back to a Hatha class occasionally still holds a lot of value for the yoga practitioners of the world. Remember that both are ultimately yoga where the body can be opened and the mind can be relaxed.

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