There are different types of yoga that have become extremely popular all over the world today, even though yoga has been in practice in the East for centuries.
There are a lot of places offering yoga classes taught by trained and experienced instructors, and there is also a great number of different types of yoga practice available.
If you feel confused about which one to choose when next you look through the different types offered in your health club or gym, here is a summary checklist of some of the popular types of yoga.
These include Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Hot Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and a few others.
Different Types of Yoga Explained Below
1. Ashtanga Yoga
In Sanskrit, ‘ashtanga’ means ‘eight limbs’. This yoga is quite energetic and intense and involves a set of asanas (poses) which is coordinated with the breath. Ashtanga yoga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 1970s.
Ashtanga yoga is similar to vinyasa yoga because each pose links every movement to a breath. It differs where in Ashtanga yoga you always perform the exact same poses in exactly the same order.
Ashtanga yoga can be quite exhausting as it requires you to shift quickly from one asana to the next. You have to be quite flexible to do this type of yoga, and it helps you to increase your body’s flexibility, strength, and stamina a lot since it is so demanding physically.
2. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is practiced in a room that is heated to 105 degrees and has a humidity of 40%. Usually, the Bikram Yoga involves a sequence of 26 different asanas, and the heated atmosphere helps to loosen muscles.
In a Bikram yoga class, you can be sure that you will sweat like never before as you work your way through the series of 26 asanas. The hot room temperature makes people perspire a lot, and this helps to clear toxins out of the body.
This school of yoga, Bikram Yoga was developed about 30 years ago, by Bikram Choudhury where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. This type of yoga is an excellent tool for gradually increasing flexibility because the heat helps tissue to stretch.
It is important to keep in mind that these types of yoga are not suitable for people that have developed cardiovascular diseases, due to the strain placed on the body when you are vigorously exercising in the heat.
3. Hatha Yoga
‘Ha’ means ‘sun’ and ‘tha’ means ‘moon’ in Sanskrit, which is an Indian ancient classical language. Hatha yoga can be described as a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical poses.
In contrast to Ashtanga yoga, the Hatha yoga is slow-paced and mild, and it is most comfortable and suitable for beginners to yoga to start off with this yoga.
Most types of yoga classes taught in the West is Hatha yoga. When a yoga class is described as Hatha, it simply means that you will have a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga poses. You should end up leaving a Hatha yoga class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed because it is most likely you won’t work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class compared to a Bikram class.
Since it does not involve any difficult asanas, a beginner will be comfortable with this type of yoga. Like all other types of yoga, the Hatha yoga aspires to bring together the body, mind, and spirit.
4. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is similar or more or less the same thing as Bikram yoga. The only difference between Bikram and Hot yoga is that in a small way the hot yoga class does not follow Bikram’s sequence, and so as required Hot yoga must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated and you will sweat buckets, so be sure to use mats and accessories which are specifically designed for hot yoga classes.
5. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga is founded on the teaching of B. S. Iyengar and focuses on the proper alignment and form of the body. While Ashtanga yoga involves moving fast from one asana to the next in the sequence, Iyengar yoga concentrates on holding one pose for a long time before moving on to the next. For this type of yoga, you will need blocks and straps to help align the body into various poses.
Iyengar Yoga is solely focused on alignment and precise movements. Yoga props such as blocks and straps are usually used as part of this type of yoga for those beginners who are not as flexible as the experts to compensate for injuries.
These Yoga props help assist all sorts of yoga practitioners from beginner to advanced level to be able to do the poses comfortably.
Because of its attention to details and the flexible modification of poses, these types of yoga is often a good form of exercise for people with back pain or neck pain, as they are likely to benefit from the random alteration to the poses.
Practicing these types of yoga will give you a good knowledge of the classics in yoga poses so that whatever other styles you practice, you will have the basic fundamentals on how to do each position.
In Iyengar yoga, the teacher focuses more on alignment and inner awareness. This awareness starts with the body and expands to other parts of the self as one continues with the regularity of practice.
6. Power Yoga
This type of yoga is based on the Western interpretation of the Ashtanga Yoga. It does not always stick to the correct sequence of asanas as prescribed by the Ashtanga yoga, but it does involve moving through various poses without stopping and starting again.
These types of yoga are commonly called “power yoga” because it is focused on a powerful flowing movement.
Such movements include pushups and lunges, which deals with strength and stamina. These types of yoga are best for people who have successfully overcome back injuries and are looking for more challenging practice.
People who are already athletic such as runners, gymnasts, and cyclists who want to add more balance and concentration to their routines are also utilizing these types of yoga.
These types of yoga links breathe and movement in flowing exercises that are adapted to each individual. These are often a good form of yoga for those with back problems or neck injuries because it can be easily adapted by anyone.
7. Vinyasa Yoga
‘Vinyasa’ means a breath-coordinated movement and this is yet another fasted paced kind of yoga. It begins with salutations to the sun and continues to strong stretching. Each asana is balanced with a counter-asana.
I find vinyasa yoga intense and challenging but when you complete the class you have a sense of achievement. I would not recommend this for beginners to yoga practice due to the pace required from start to finish.
There is no rule about you sticking to one kind of yoga. You can start with an easy one and proceed on to more difficult ones.
There are so many yoga classes and yoga institutions to choose from. It is also a good idea that before going into a yoga class, have a discussion with the teacher first regarding his or her philosophy and beliefs in order to find the most appropriate and personally appealing form of yoga for you.
Feel free to share and comment here. We hope that you find the most suitable yoga class for you and find the path on your yoga journey to be rejuvenating and full of as much zen as you can possibly imagine.
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