Different Types of Yoga and Which One You Should Choose
Yoga fits into every physical fitness regimen a person seeks. To know which kind of Yoga is best suited to your capability and frame of mind, here’s your one-stop guide to the various types of Yoga:
- Hatha Yoga
The Sanskrit term Hatha can be broken down to two syllables- ‘ha’ representing the sun, in all its glory, and ‘tha’ representing the moon, with all of its allure. Practising hatha yoga aims to combine these opposite forces of nature to achieve equilibrium. Quite literally though, the word hatha refers to a focal point of force.
Newbies are always directed towards Hatha Yoga when they initially move into the world of Yoga. Hatha Yoga is an umbrella term that involves all the physical Yoga postures and a few breathing exercises that initiate minor/major difference in bodily appearance. They are practised slowly with the posture remaining more or less static. This type of Yoga is the most famous kind and practised on a large scale. Yoga classes for beginners use this type as it is slower in pace and easy to follow.
- Iyengar Yoga
“If the foundation is firm, the building can withstand calamities. The practice of Yoga is the foundation, so that the Self is not shaken under any circumstances.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
Founded by B. K. S Iyengar, this form of Yoga focuses on precision and alignment of movements. This form of Yoga is highly powerful and sophisticated in nature. It involves practising several Yoga postures while controlling your breath. Iyengar Yoga becomes easier to perform by the use of several props that make the practice safer and more relaxing. However, this form of Yoga does not make you bite more than you can chew. The principles of Iyengar Yoga teaches the practitioners to perform the exercises within the limits of their bodily boundaries and not exert much. Effective practice of this type of Yoga will help to achieve a perfect balance between your mind, body and soul. It might not be a very great cardiovascular solution but it is great to build stamina and flexibility.
- Kundalini Yoga
If you are looking to achieve a deep sense of spiritual and physical solace, Kundalini Yoga is your answer since it is a blend of three separate sub-types of Yoga namely, Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion), Raja Yoga (Meditation and mental control) and Shakti Yoga (Expression of Power and Energy). This Yoga is known to release the Kundalini energy that is a latent form of feminine energy that is trapped or coiled in the lower section of your spine. Yoga postures that come under this form involve intense, fast-moving exercises and work great on your core as they are invigorating and manage your breath. These exercises are designed to create complete body awareness and helps prepare you to be able to handle the consequent energy that will be released post-exercise. A typical Kundalini Yoga class can be super intense with constant mantra chanting and deep meditation.
- Ashtanga Yoga
The word Ashtanga quite simply means “Eight Limb Path’ and involves a series of physically complex and tough Yoga postures. This type of Yoga, most certainly, cannot be practised by beginners and is commonly performed by expert Yogis.
The basic purpose of Ashtanga Yoga is the purification of the mind and body. Regular practice will help elicit strength, flexibility, manage stress and help obtain inner peace. Considering its intense nature, regular practice will help achieve strength within no time. It involves 10 sun salutations followed by standing and floor postures. It is the opposite of Iyengar Yoga which pushes you only to the extent to which you can be pushed because Ashtanga Yoga emphasizes getting the correct pose no matter what and is thus, not designed for people with weaker joints and stamina. This practice emanates a strong sense of purpose and helps you focus on your emotional and intellectual growth.
- Vinyasa Yoga
The word Vinyasa means ‘to place in a special way’ and Vinyasa Yoga is the most athletic type of Yoga. It is the typical movement between Yoga postures accompanied by regulated breathing. Yoga is interpreted as a guided, physical movement and is all about how mindful you are of the decisions and movements you make. A ‘flowing’ movement is generally involved in Vinyasa Yoga. Here, a movement is paired with your breathing rhythms. For example, a normal Vinyasa practice would involve your instructor directing you to inhale and to simultaneously raise your hands in the air when you do so. This would be followed by exhaling and bringing your hands back to the original position.
- Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga and perspiration go hand-in-hand because this Yoga is generally performed in a very heated room with a temperature as high as 105℉ and humidity of 40%. Around 26 basic postures are performed twice. The purpose of using a heated environment is to boost the body’s metabolism which eventually helps loosen up the knots in the body formed as a result of stress and strain. It also helps relieve the aches and pains randomly existing in different parts of the body. This yoga basically involves deep breathing, poses of balance, hip openers and back benders.
There are many more types of Yoga that you can choose from as per your discretion. It does not necessarily have to be one particular type of Yoga either. Postures and breathing are essential bases and can be amalgamated with any and every type of Yoga.