- What is Yoga
- Yoga Exercises & Poses
- Yoga Clothes
- Yoga Accessories
Types of Yoga
Yoga has been in practice for over a thousand years, and it has evolved into different styles — some of which are offshoots and derivatives of the core or traditional styles of yogic practice. The evolution of yoga plays a big role in maintaining its popularity because yoga was no longer just an ancient Indian practice, nor it is an either-or system between being meditative and physical. It became an accessible and easily adaptable practice that offers holistic benefits to those who practice it.
Ashtanga is one of the more fast-paced styles of yoga developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, who began learning yoga exercises in 1927. 21 years later, he established a school to teach a specific style of y0gic practice known as Ashtanga, which translates to “eight-limbed.” The most popular yoga style derived from Ashtanga is Power Yoga, which was developed to make yogic practice more adaptable to Western audience by emphasizing a fitness-based approach.
Though maintaining correct body alignment is essential in doing and holding yoga poses, Vinyasa or Flow yoga is more concerned with synchronizing movement with breath. In other words, it is the transition between poses during inhale and exhale that Vinyasa or Flow yoga is focused on. Vinyasa and its offshoots (like Kundalini and Anusara) is popular among those who want more variety in their workouts and don’t want to be limited to sequences of yoga exercises that must be followed in a specific order.
The Sun Salutations, which involves doing specific yoga poses in a specific order, is typically taught in Vinyasa or Flow yoga classes, but it is usually used as part of the warm up phase. If you want to do yoga only for the stretching exercises, Vinyasa may not be the style for you. This is because Vinyasa is about breath and movement, and its aim is to teach students to harmonize the two.
“Hatha” is a generic term which can be used to describe any physical style of yogic practice. Sound confusing? See yoga has 8 limbs, one of which is the asanas (or poses). Any style that involves physical yoga exercises can be classified under Hatha — so technically, the word “yoga” as we understand it now, can actually be interchanged with “hatha.” However, the Hatha yoga classes being advertised and taught in modern day mostly focus on yoga exercises for breathing and doing slow-paced stretching poses.
You will need a durable and comfortable yoga mat if you plan on doing Hatha yoga because it involves seated meditation as well. Signing up for Hatha yoga classes is a good way to start your journey into the world of yoga because here you’ll learn the basic poses, techniques for stress management and relaxation, and basically just letting your body slowly adapt to the physical and mental demands of yogic practice.
Bikram or Hot Yoga
Bikram or Hot Yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, and involves doing a series of 26 yoga poses and 2 breathing yoga exercises in a specific sequences and specific conditions, including the temperature in the heated room. This style is now more commonly referred to as Hot Yoga because Bikram Choudhury discouraged using the name “Bikram Yoga” for classes that do not follow his exact prescribed method.
Aside from the room temperature, Choudhury would only allow using the name Bikram Yoga if the class or instructor also followed the other elements in his method, like the order in which the yoga poses are done, the text used for learning yoga philosophies and traditions, and even the layout of the mirrors and carpet in the heated room. So if you simply want to do yoga in a heated room for purposes of detoxification and/or weight loss, you should look for Hot Yoga classes. But if you don’t want to be limited to specific yoga exercises and sequences of doing them, then Bikram yoga may not be the style for you.
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