Yoga is one of the most popular fitness activities today. For some people, they prefer to look at the practice from a simple physical point of view. However, any yoga enthusiast will tell you that yoga goes beyond the body. Indeed, the premise of yoga is going beyond the physical aspect – it merges the body, the mind, and the soul.
If you’ve tried to look up yoga before, you’ll realize that there are many different kinds of yoga. The basic idea remains the same; poses are involved. Each kind of yoga has a particular focus, however, and this is what this article is going to help you with.
Ashtanga yoga is also known as “fast paced yoga” as it is exactly that – fast paced. It is the Sanskrit term for “eight limbs.” This kind of yoga involves a series of poses, or asanas, which are performed quickly one after another. They are also done synchronized to your breaths. Ashtanga is very good for building up stamina, strength, and flexibility.
Power Yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga Yoga – the Western version, if you will. The difference lies in the fact that the poses may be done following a different sequence. (As opposed to Ashtanga, wherein the sequence is always the same.)
Hatha Yoga is the opposite of Ashtanga and Power Yoga in that it follows a slow and relaxed pace. In Sanskrit, Ha means sun while Tha means moon. Since it is slow and gentle, this kind of yoga is usually recommended for beginners. Many find it a better way to unite mind, body, and spirit. You also ought to know that Hatha Yoga is being used to described a lot of yoga variations following the same relaxed pace.
Vinyasa yoga is more similar to Ashtanga due to the fast nature of the execution of poses. The particular characteristic of this kind of yoga is the focus on breathing techniques. More so, with each pose, the practitioner is also expected to do a counter pose to balance things out.
Kundalini actually refers to untapped energy that is located at the base of the spine. This energy is called “prana.” One’s prana can be envisioned as a snake which is coiled at the base of the spine. The idea behind this kind of yoga is that an individual can tap into his prana by unblocking or awakening each of his seven chakras. When all chakras are awakened, one experiences full enlightenment.
The distinguishing characteristic of Bikram Yoga is the fact that the poses are done in a heated room, hence the name “hot yoga.” While room temperatures may vary depending on where you take a Bikram Yoga class, the average temperature should be from 90 to 100 degrees.
What is the reasoning behind the high temperatures involved? As you can imagine, executing the poses in a hot room will cause your muscles to warm up easily and cause you to sweat a lot. This results in more flexibility.
With the high temperatures involved, practicing Bikram Yoga requires more precautions. Pregnant women are not advised to try Bikram Yoga. You also need to drink lots of water before and after the class to avoid dehydration. Eating two hours before the class is also not advised.
As opposed to other kinds of “flow” yoga, wherein poses are done one after the other, Iyengar Yoga focuses on holding a pose. This kind of yoga is based on B.K.S Iyengar’s teachings. It places prime importance on the alignment of the body while doing the poses. The aim is to be as precise as possible in order to avoid injury and attain the highest benefits. More so, this kind of yoga also focuses on yoga equipment such as yoga blankets, blocks, and straps.
Forrest Yoga is perhaps the “most western” type in this list. It was developed by Anna Forrest, who is based in Santa Monica, California. This kind of yoga also requires the execution of one pose after the other. The poses are quite vigorous, with particular focus on the abdomen. The idea behind Forrest Yoga is for practitioners to release pent up emotions and pain, with the ultimate goal healing.
Kripalu Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga, which was developed by Amrit Desai. This renowned guru brought Kripalu Yoga to the United States way back in the 1960s. The premise underlying this kind of yoga is to achieve physical and spiritual healing, as well as transformation. Meditation plays a large role in Kripalu Yoga.
This is by no means a complete list of the kinds of yoga that you can find today. However, if you are new to the concept, you will find that this list is a good place to start. Once you’ve picked out several that you think will work for you, do more research on the yoga schools and classes being offered in your area.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.