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What Are The Different Styles Of Yoga

You Say Ashtanga I Say Kundalini What’s The Difference Use This Guide To Find The Right Yoga For You

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As studies continue to reveal yogas many health benefits, this centuries-old Eastern philosophy is fast becoming the new soul mate for workout enthusiasts. Contemporary devotees trying out different types of yoga range from high-powered execs trying to keep hearts beating on a healthy note to image-conscious Hollywood stars striving for sleek physiques. Even prominent athletes are adding yoga to their training regime to develop balanced, injury-free muscles and spines.

To applaud yoga for its physical benefits alone would only diminish what this entire system has to offer as a whole. By practicing yoga on a regular basis, you may be surprised to find that youre building much more than a strong, flexible body.

Americans are usually drawn to yoga as a way to keep fit at first, but the idea behind the physical practice of yoga is to encourage a deeper mind-body awareness, explains New York yoga teacher and author Beryl Bender Birch. Healing and balancing the physical body helps bring clarity and focus to the mind as well.

Initially, the sole purpose of practicing yoga was to experience spiritual enlightenment. In Sanskrit , yoga translates as yoke or union, describing the integration of mind and body to create a greater connection with ones own pure, essential nature.

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Types Of Yoga: Hatha Yoga

Its important to begin here because Hatha yoga is, strictly speaking, an umbrella term that means discipline of force. In other words, any type of yoga that teaches physical postures is technically Hatha. However, in reality, when you see a class advertised as Hatha, itll likely be a gentle, slower style using basic poses that are suitable for beginners.

When and where Hatha yoga first appeared are debated, but it aimed to use mastery of the body to help you reach spiritual perfection. Its still often defined as including poses or postures , breathwork , and meditation in various combinations, and, as with many commercial yoga classes, youre likely to have more of a physical workout than a spiritual experience in class.

Yoga in general is thought to help improve flexibility, range of motion and strength, as well as helping reduce stress. Indeed, in a meta-analysis of studies published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine in 2017, results showed that Hatha yoga is a promising method for treating anxiety. In short, its a great choice for those who are new to yoga.

Increases Our Capacity To Deal With Discomfort

In Yin Yoga, most postures are held steadily for around five minutes. What initially feels easy, becomes much more difficult after one or two minutes of hold.

When practicing Yin Yoga, we follow two important principles:

  • Do not hold the pose at more than 80% of your capacity. So enter the pose to the fullest and then back out at least 20% and support your body with a block, bolster, or cushion in order to stay in a Yin zone
  • Do experience discomfort, but no red pain. Yin Yoga is not lazy or restorative, even though it is very slow and uses a lot of support. The idea is to place stress on our tissues in order to stimulate and rebalance them. Therefore, during a Yin Yoga class you will be confronted with discomfort and you will learn to endure it, using your breath and mental focus
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    A Simple Guide To 14 Styles Of Yoga

    Know your Hatha from your Vinyasa.

    Have you ever been completely baffled by a yoga class schedule? With so many different styles of yoga, it can be a daunting task to choose the one thats right for you. Some are vigorous while others are more passive. Some focus on flexibility while others focus on strength. Oh, lets not forget the ones you cant even pronounce!Whether youre a beginner looking to try yoga for the first time or just looking to try a different style than your usual, weve taken a look at the various styles of yoga. In this quick guide, we explain what each style involves to make it easier for you to know where to begin.

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    What Are The Different Styles Of Yoga

    At its most basic, yoga is a set of spiritual practices originating in ancient India. While most people in the Western world think of it as a form of physical exercise, it actually encompasses much more. Even only considering the physical side, however, there are many different styles, from traditional to Bikram.

    The Bhagavad Gita, a text dating from the first few centuries BCE that’s considered the definitive source of Hindu philosophy, mentions four branches of yoga: karma, jnana, raja, and bhakti. Karma refers to one’s action in the world, jnana is the development of knowledge and the mind, bhakti is the worship of a deity, and raja is meditation. The style most familiar to those in the Western world, consisting of the practice of asanas or poses in order to reach a meditative state, is a medieval development of the Raja practice known as Hatha yoga.

    The most common styles of this practice are:

    In addition to her role as a editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interestingand unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored inLinguistics and Anthropology.

    In addition to her role as a editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interestingand unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored inLinguistics and Anthropology.

    General Cautions For Bikram Yoga:

    Take care to drink lots of water before and after practice. You also need electrolytes to help prevent heat exhaustion. If you experience dizziness, nausea of hallucinations, then step out of the class and stop for the day. These symptoms of hyperthermia could signal that this style of yoga is not for you. Furthermore, do not practice Bikram Yoga if you’ve had your lymph nodes surgically removed. The increased flow of lymph fluid in class could make your limbs swell up.

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    Improves Alignment And Postural Issues

    Adela Serrano, Iyengar Yoga

    Iyengar yoga was founded by BKS Iyengar and has a strong focus on detail, precision and alignment in the yoga postures. The use of props such as straps, blocks, blankets and chairs is a major part of Iyengar Yoga. These props support the body in different postures so that you can work on a posture in a safe and effective way and adapt them to your body. In Iyengar classes poses are held for longer periods than in many other styles which improves focus and concentration.

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    The Styles Of Yoga Explained

    Kristin McGee is a certified personal trainer and currently teaches yoga and meditation for Peloton. She is also certified in Pilates and by the National Association of Sports Medicine.

    One of the biggest hurdles to starting yoga is figuring out what style of yoga you want to try. It’s often confusing for beginners because the class names and options are so broad. While almost all styles use the same physical postures, each has a particular emphasis. This cheat sheet highlights the differences so you can determine which type is most appealing to you.

    Of course, the best way to start doing yoga is to take a class for beginners. If your local studio doesn’t indicate which classes are geared toward newbies, ask in advance which class is going to offer basic instruction appropriate for someone new. If you’re seeking out online videos, search specifically for beginner-level classesalmost all online yoga video platforms let you search by ability-level.

    Just keep in mind, if you don’t like your first yoga class, that doesn’t mean that you and yoga aren’t meant to be. Because there are so many different styles of yoga and so many different instructors with their own approaches to teaching, it may take a few attempts before you find the right fit.

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    The Many Different Brands Of Yoga

    There are many different styles/brands of yoga, but their are only four main types.


    What youre used to seeing at your yoga studio or online are likely different styles of yoga that spawned out of personal brands or movements of the modern day. Its best not to confuse the two, though, as most of the styles of yoga will fall under one of the four types listed above.

    Not to say that these styles arent real yoga. Theyre just not the types of yoga.

    If youre thinking about attending a yoga teacher training program, then its best to first understand the different types of yoga . Then, you can better understand the different styles or brands and which might be best for you.

    During a yoga teacher training, you will learn all about yogic philosophy and the different techniques for moving through the asanas. Of course, exactly what you study depends on which type of yoga you are studying and which style of yoga asanas you are practicing.

    You will also learn the various yoga postures, human anatomy, pranayama breathing exercises, meditation, and more.

    And you will study the Yoga Sutras, which is basically the bible of ancient yoga.

    Many yoga schools will also include the Hatha Yoga Pradipika in their curriculum, which is the oldest text on hatha yoga. Since hatha yoga is one of the four primary types of yoga, this text could be used in quite a few trainings, even if the brand of yoga is not necessarily hatha.

    Types Of Yoga: Kundalini Yoga

    Thought to date back to around 1000 BC, Kundalini yoga was first brought to the US by Yogi Bhajan in the 1970s, though its exact origins are unknown. It combines movement, breath and sound in the form of chanting or song.

    Kundalini is designed to activate your spiritual energy known as shakti, located at the base of the spine. A typical class begins with an opening chant followed by a series of postures with breathing techniques before closing with meditation or song.

    The idea is that through the practice of Kundalini yoga we can send energy upwards from the base of our spine and out the top of our head, stimulating our chakras on the way to provide a number of health benefits such as improved mood, greater focus, lower blood pressure, balanced metabolism, and improved strength. Do you struggle to sleep well? In a study cited by Harvard Medical School, participants were sleeping an average of 36 minutes longer per night after eight weeks of practicing Kundalini yoga.

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    Increases Flexibility By Releasing Fascia

    Deep fascia consists of dense fibrous connective tissue. It surrounds all components of the body: muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. There is also fascia that suspends the organs within their cavities and wraps them in layers of connective tissue, which is called visceral fascia.

    Yin Yoga stimulates and releases these fasciae and we benefit from a therapeutic effect called myofascial release. Long-stored tensions are released, scar tissue is broken down and released, and muscles learn to relax into their natural state again.

    This leads to improved posture, reductions of chronically recurring injuries, and improved joint mobility.

    Laya Yoga And Kundalini Yoga

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    Laya and Kundalini yoga are closely associated with Hatha yoga but are often presented as being independent approaches.

    According to Georg Feuerstein, Laya yoga “makes meditative absorption its focus. The laya-yogin seeks to transcend all memory traces and sensory experiences by dissolving the microcosm, the mind, in the transcendental Self-Consciousness.” There are various forms and techniques of Laya yoga, including listening to the “inner sound” , practicing various mudras like Khechari mudra and Shambhavi mudra as well as techniques meant to awaken a spiritual energy in the body .

    The practice of awakening the coiled energy in the body is sometimes specifically called Kundalini yoga. It is based on Indian theories of the subtle body and uses various pranayamas and mudras to awaken the energy known as kundalini or shakti. In various Shaiva and Shakta traditions of yoga and tantra, yogic techniques or yuktis are used to unite kundalini-shakti, the divine conscious force or energy, with Shiva, universal consciousness. A common way of teaching this method is to awaken the kundalini residing at the lowest chakra and to guide it through the central channel to unite with the absolute consciousness at the highest chakra .

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    Styles Of Yoga Class Guide

    There are many styles of yoga classes available for students of all abilities and experience. Whether you want a slow relaxing practice or an energetic vigorous workout or yoga with a greater emphasis on the spiritual side.

    Note: Not all forms of yoga are suitable for beginners. The more energetic forms of yoga will require you to have a basic knowledge of yoga and have a good level of fitness.

    If you are pregnant, have an injury, a specific medical or rehabilitation issue, suffer back ache or require more personalised care, use the main search to find Yoga classes such as antenatal and postnatal yoga, over 50s yoga, over 60s yoga, women only yoga, men only yoga, remedial yoga, sports-specific yoga, sports injury yoga and one to one tuition.

    The Eight Limbs Of The Royal Path

    Think of the eight limbs of yoga as parts of the great tree of yoga. Each limb connects to the trunk, and yoga is grounded and nurtured by its deep, ancient roots. Each limb has leaves that express the life of the limb these leaves are the techniques of the yogic limbs. The eight limbs, or stages, of yoga are outlined in the text of the Yoga Sutras, which was compiled and writtenaround 300 to 200 BCE by the sage Patanjali .

    Limb 1

    Yamas – guidelines for ethical standards and moral conduct

    • Ahimsa – nonviolence

    Niyamas – observances and disciplines

    • Saucha – cleanliness
    • Tapas – austerities
    • Svadhyaya – study of spiritual scriptures
    • Ishvara pranidhana – practice of awareness and surrender to the presence and divine will of God

    Limb 3

    Asana – practice of physical postures

    Pranayama – special breathing techniques used to control the life force, or energy, in the body

    Limb 5

    Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses as part of the transcendence of constant nervous stimuli practice of sensory detachment through deep relaxation techniques

    Limb 6

    Dharana – concentration and focus

    Limb 7

    Dhyana – meditation

    Limb 8

    Samadhi – state of ecstasy, bliss, and enlightenment that transcends the Self and merges with the Divine

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    Your Ultimate Guide To Different Yoga Types

    Yoga is a system that optimizes the mind, body, and soul through movement, meditation, and breathwork.

    The word itself means to yoke or union, which reveals the core purpose of yoga practice, which is to unite your mind with the energy that connects all things. In that journey, your health improves by training the mind and body.

    Yoga was developed thousands of years ago in India and was passed from teacher to student until it began to spread around the world as yoga masters brought their teachings to other places. Yoga was taught at the legendary Woodstock festival, and The Beatles were some of the first celebrities to popularize it.

    Because yoga has been around for so long, there are many techniques within the practice. You can look at it as a tree with many branches.

    Yoga teachers such as Paramahansa Yogananda, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S Iyengar, Yogi Bhajan, and a small group of others are considered the fathers of yoga in the West. Each of them founded a type of yoga that was steeped in the lineage they were experts in while also gearing it to the culture and needs of the people in some circumstances.

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    Rebalances Our Autonomic Nervous System

    Our nervous system needs both states of activation, the fight-or-flight as well as the rest-and-regenerate .

    An out-of-balance nervous system is very common in our modern society. Some of us spend most of the time in the excited SNS state, while others are trapped in the listless, depressed PNS state.

    An out-of-balance nervous system is very common in our modern society.

    During a Hatha Yoga practice, we go through a cycle of exercises and postures that accelerate the nervous system and then brake the nervous system again, giving it a thorough workout.

    Through alternating challenging asanas with relaxation postures such as Savasana , we teach our bodies to easily shift from one state of the nervous system to the other. This results in more inner balance and harmony and improved overall health.


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