Maybe you have tried yoga at a local studio or gym and thought that was the only style of yoga that exists. The fact is, there are many types of yoga out there, and choosing the right one for you can be a daunting task. To make it easier for you, we will discuss 8 different types of yoga.
Different Types of Yoga
1. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa yoga is one of the most popular types of yoga and is taught in many studios and gyms. “Vinyasa” means linking breath with movement. The postures are typically done in a flowing sequence, or “vinyasa flow.” The movements are almost like a dance and are done as a moving meditation.
The popularity of Vinyasa yoga can be attributed to the sensual movements and pleasant music. Often, it is practiced in a dark room, or sometimes with candlelight with the eyes closed.
2. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga means “eight limbs”. Most people consider Ashtanga as traditional Indian yoga. Like Vinyasa yoga, the asanas (postures) in Ashtanga yoga synchronize breath with movement as one moves through a series of postures.
In the early 20th century, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois brought Ashtanga yoga to the United States. The series of postures are done in the same way every time and consist of Sun Salutation A, followed by Sun Salutation B, then a standing sequence, and a closing sequence. It’s usually performed without music, and sometimes in silence (without verbal instruction).
3. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga was named after B.K.S. Iyengar, a famous yogi (practitioner of yoga) from India. It is also based on the Eight Limbs of Yoga and was popularized in the West at approximately the same time as Ashtanga yoga.
The emphasis of Iyengar yoga is alignment in postures using breath control through pranayama, as well as the use of props (bolsters, blocks, blankets, and straps). This style of yoga is usually done without music and with a slower pace to help students get deeper into the postures.
4. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. He brought this style of yoga from India to California. Class consists of 26 yoga postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is 90 minutes long and is done in a room with a temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of 40%. The room is bright and the students are asked to face the mirrors to check if they have the proper posture and alignment. There’s no music during class.
5. Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti was created by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984 in New York City. Jivamukti translates to “liberated being.” Class incorporates Sanskrit chanting, Pranayama, and Asanas, with a theme/lesson for each class. This is a good combination of spiritual and physical exercise.
6. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga was brought by Swami Vishnudevananda to the US in 1957. This style of yoga is based on the five yogic principals: proper breathing, positive thinking, relaxation, diet, and exercise. Altogether, these make a healthy yogic lifestyle.
The practice usually involves 12 basic postures of the Asanas, plus Sun Salutations and Savasana. There’s no music.
7. Yin Yoga
Yin yoga is a meditative practice which allows the body to be comfortable in a pose without doing much work (not requiring strength). Also called Taoist yoga, it focuses on lengthening the connective tissues of the body. It aims to compliment Yang yoga (muscle-forming yoga practices).
If Yang is active, Yin is passive, which means the muscles are allowed to relax by means of gravity and rest. This yoga style is usually done with the assistance of props. There’s little or no music in class.
8. Power Yoga
The FITin56 program makes use of Power yoga. This type of yoga is a more active approach to traditional Hatha yoga poses. The Ashtanga poses are done more quickly with core exercises and upper bodywork added to them. The sequences are varied and there is often music. Vinyasa yoga can also be considered as Power yoga, depending on the studio or gym that is hosting the class.
These 8 different types of yoga are the most popular right now. There are other types and styles of yoga practices. Each one has its own unique characteristics. Making yoga a part of your life will enable you to enjoy all the health benefits of yoga. Whatever yoga practice you choose, embrace it with love and grace.
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