At the yoga studio, we receive many inquiries frequently from new yogis, particularly for weight loss. New yogis, here, mean who have very little knowledge (basic) about the tradition of yoga and its practices.
As the yoga teacher, we get the opportunity to converse with many kinds of people, specifically on the phone.  Sometimes we enjoy the conversation; sometimes we don’t know what to say to the person on the other side of the receiver. Asking precise questions is the key to get right information but many new yogis fail to put their curiosity and confusion in defined questions.

To understand their queries, we need to ask back a few questions as the answer to their questions. Some of them get intimidated by our questions. But it is actually required if a new yogi wants to make the informed decision.
Though all information is available at the fingertip, very few take the trouble to go through it before making an inquiry. Without sufficient knowledge (basic), some new yogis expect the answers that they want to hear, not the right information. However, only correct information can actually help you to make the right decision.

Let me share excerpts from a typical telephonic conversation which goes like this:

“Do you teach power yoga or normal yoga?” asks New Yogi. (Here normal yoga means traditional yoga–hatha yoga.)

“We teach hatha yoga.”

“What is that?”

Hatha yoga is a traditional form of yoga, a physiological branch of yoga is called hatha yoga.”

“Can weight loss happen with traditional yoga?”

“Yes, you can lose weight!”

“How many kgs (kilograms) I can lose in a month?”

“I can’t tell you this on phone now as I don’t have any idea what kind of lifestyle you are leading, your health issues if any and most important I haven’t seen you yet. And every one has a unique body and hence there is a variation in the results,” the teacher responds.

Many new yogis don’t find this answer from the yoga studio very encouraging as they just want absolute details of forthcoming results of their practice which they haven’t started yet. So new yogis, you may find such answers not so sweet but the teacher wants to help you to find what is best for you. Before thinking of joining a yoga class for weight loss, many try extreme dieting and few weight loss programs and then they think of switching to yoga.

So we understand you want to enroll in a yoga class out of need, not out of love. But some basic research on different types of yoga on the internet will land you in the yoga studio which is best for you. You will be able to ask exact questions and the high possibility that you will receive accurate answers from the teacher.

Considering your major inquiries and misunderstandings, few basic details of yoga (physical) practice are explained below. First and most important, every type of yoga (physical form) which is practiced on the mat is Hatha Yoga only. Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga (Mysore style), Bikram Yoga and even Power Yoga are all forms of hatha yoga. Lord Shiva is considered as the Adi Yogi—the first yogi. Matsyendrnath is known as the founder of hatha yoga and the author of Hatha-yoga-pradipika, the ultimate guide of hatha yoga.

Let’s understand in brief the difference between various types of hatha yoga.

First and most important, every type of yoga (physical form) which is practiced on the mat is Hatha Yoga only.

What is Power Yoga?

The term power yoga was coined in the 1990s. The American yoga teachers Bryan Kest and Beryl Bender Rich are recognized as the originators of Power Yoga. This type of yoga mostly focuses on ultimate physical fitness and hence typical power yoga sessions will be more asana oriented than inclusive one with various practices like asanas, pranayamas, chanting and relaxation.

Power Yoga has its root in Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga which was developed by K Pattabhi Jois. The founder of Power Yoga took a few lessons from K Pattabhi Jois. You can learn more about the concept of power yoga and its origin here…

The power yoga taught in Indian yoga studios follow different styles. You may find that somewhere it is combined with aerobic exercises while some studios choose to conduct sweaty sessions, dominated by Surya Namaskaras, in the dark room without fans and air conditions. You will find very few studios follow the original style of power Yoga.

Everyone is developing a peculiar style of Power Yoga by combining various physical activities with the yoga practice.

What is Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga?

As mentioned earlier, Ashtanga Yoga (Mysore Style) was developed by K Pattabhi Jois. The earliest references suggest that Ashtanga Yoga is recorded by Sage Vaman Rishi in the text Yoga Korunta and then it was passed on to Guru Ram Mohan Brahmchari, who shared it with his disciple T Krishnamacharya. And K Pattanhi Jois received it from Krisnamacharya. Learn more about its history and lineage at

Now K Pattabhi Jois’s daughter R Sarswati and her son Sharath Jois are taking Ashtanga Yoga tradition forward. You will find very few Ashtanga Yoga (Mysore) teachers in your city and these teachers are listed on their website

You need a lot of diligence to practice Ashtanga Yoga (Mysore Style) as it tests your patience, willpower and body’s limitations.

What is Asthanga Yoga Marg?

The Ashthanga Yoga Marg is a comprehensive concept. It includes eight steps of yoga; Yama (restraints), Niyama (observances), Asana (postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), Pratyahar (control over five senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhayna (meditation) and Samadhi (meeting your consciousness). Asanas are one of the limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. This type of yoga is not limited to the session in the studio but you have to follow it at many levels in your life.

What is traditional yoga?

The traditional yoga is yoga by Patanjali, which is also known as Raj Yoga or classical yoga or Patanjali Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga. But when you actually inquire of traditional yoga at the studio, you are referring to only physical practice. The physical dimension of yoga is known as hatha yoga. And hatha yoga is not only limited to asanas but it also includes kriyas, pranayamas, bandhas and mudras too. The clarity of concepts is very important as we pass the information to someone else and we are passing it wrong. People with wrong information are more dangerous to the tradition of yoga than those who don’t know anything about it.

Can traditional yoga (hatha yoga) help you to lose weight?

Yes, you can lose weight with hatha yoga too. You can sweat while practicing hatha yoga too. Yoga doesn’t work directly on your fat but it works on your inner mechanism. The whole energy changes and you become more vigilant of diet and your whole lifestyle. Even a physical form of yoga can build poise in you and make you a more balanced and focused person. All the postures performed in yoga are with breathing sequence. Surya Namaskars can work as a cardio exercise if done faster. Sun Salutations will strengthen and tone your body if you take time to stop in every posture. Along with weight and inches loss, you may lose your ample amount of stress.

The fact is that you have not piled up extra pounds overnight and not built stress level in a day so you need to give few months to see some profound changes in yourself.

With hatha yoga practice, your stiff shoulders will become active and mobile. The backache will settle down. You will feel more energetic throughout the day. It will increase your quality of body and mind which will result in quality life too. So you will receive much more than you expected. But some patience and faith is required. The fact is that you have not piled up extra pounds overnight and not built stress level in a day so you need to give a few months to see some profound changes in yourself.

You can read more about Hatha Yoga here:

What is Iyengar Yoga?

The Iyengar Yoga, developed by B K S Iyengar, is a very meticulous form of hatha yoga. The late Sri B K S Iyengar put a lot of time and effort into build distinct style of hatha yoga. This form of yoga is favored by intermediate level students. This type of yoga gives a lot of focus on alignment. The props like ropes, belts, blocks and bolsters are used to make all alignments more precise.

What is Hot Yoga/Bikram yoga?

The term Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga are interchangeable. This is a very popular form of hatha yoga in the US, developed by Bikram Choudhary. The sessions are arranged in the pre heated room at 40 degree Celsius. Approximately 26 postures and two breathing exercises are performed in every session which are structured by Bikram Choudhary in his distinct way. The only teachers who learn and complete a nine weeks course with Bikram, are allowed to teach hot yoga.

What is Yoga Therapy?

Yoga therapy is advised for the patients or specifically for individuals suffering from some chronic pain. For example, a person with Thyroid Disorder has to practice asanas and pranayamas that will stimulate his thyroid glands. An individual with high blood pressure or cardiac ailments may need to avoid a few yogic practices completely depending on the seriousness of his condition. Yoga therapy requires much more knowledge and understanding of ailments and yoga. It is always advised to take yoga therapy from a trained certified teacher.

Note: You can practice yoga on the mat without any basic knowledge too, but the adequate information will make you feel more confident of your practice and the whole Yoga Tradition.