How Many Types of Yoga are There

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The practice of Yoga has been in use for thousands of years. It became popularized in the west more than 2,000 years ago when Patanjali released “Yoga Sutras”. Throughout the decades, variations have been born from the basic idea and practices of Yoga. There are countless styles and hybrid styles in used all around the globe. Here are some of the most popular styles of yoga used today.

1. Hatha

Hatha Yoga a slow and gentle style of yoga that integrates ancient and traditional postures, sequences, and techniques. Hatha Yoga is also a bit of an umbrella term because it includes other styles of yoga. These styles include;

• Ashtanga
• Vinsaya
• Iyengar
• Power Yoga
• Kripalu

2. Anusara

Anusara yoga was created in 1997 by John Friend. It is a modernized system derived from Hatha Yoga. The philosophy of Anusara is the gift of lift. This style tries to incorporate the celebration and remembrance that life is a gift. The word Anusara loosely translates to “flowing with grace” or “going with the flow”. The vibe of this style is uplifting and upbeat. Its benefits include a better sense of awareness, better flexibility, and an overall happier mood and attitude.

3. Ashtanga

Ashtanga is sometimes referred to as Power Yoga because it is physically demanding. Ashtanga puts an emphasis on movement as well as breath. The point of being so demanding is so that you get hot and sweat. You are supposed to work up enough body heat to purify your body by sweating. Benefits of this style are the increase in strength and the toning. The term Ashtanga means eight limbed yoga, which means that it follows the 8 spiritual practices introduced in “Yoga Sutras.”

• Yama
• Niyama
• Asana
• Pranayama
• Pratyyahara
• Dharana
• Dhyana
• Samadhi

4. Bikram

Popularized in the 1970’s by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is done in a sauna-like room for a 90-minute class. The room is heated to between 95 and 105 degree Fahrenheit and set to a humidity of 40%. Bikram yoga consists of 26 tradition Hatha Yoga poses and 2 breathing exercises. The idea is that the Hatha poses and the heated, high humidity environment will help circulate fresh, oxygenated blood throughout the entire body. The poses in this sequence have to be done in order, for the full benefit of the session.

5. Iyengar

Developed by B. K. S. Iyengar, Iyengar is a form of Hatha Yoga that is unique due to it use of props. Props are used in this type of yoga in order to make sure that all of the asanas, or postures, are done properly. Doing the poses properly is the best way to minimize strain and injury. The use of props is also a good way to make the poses accessible for everyone. The props make it easy to modify poses so that young and old people can benefit from the sequence. Iyengar Yoga uses more than 200 different poses and 14 types of Pranayama, or breathing exercises. Some of the props used in this type includes blocks, straps, harnesses, and much more.

6. Jivamukti

Jivamukti is the most spiritual type of the bunch. It uses meditation, physical healing, and traditional spiritual elements. Founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1984, Jivamukti focuses on five central tenets.

• Shastra = scripture – The understanding and the study of the 4 texts of yoga
• Bhakti = devotion – Devotion to God. But God in this instance will vary between beliefs of the individual. This tenet refers to devotion to your own God and/or Goddesses.
• Ahimsa = non-violent – increasing your level or compassion and humility
• Nada = music – dealing with deep listening of your inner self and chanting.
• Dhyana = meditation – just being still and using metacognition. Or in other words, thinking about your thoughts.

7. Kundalini

This style focuses on core strength.

8. Vinyasa

The key word with this type of yoga is flow. Vinyasa yoga is all about the movements and flow off your body from one pose to the next.

9. Prenatal Yoga

This class is almost self-explanatory. Yoga sequences used in this type of yoga are going to put an emphasis on breathing and relation for the moms-to-be.

10. Restorative yoga

Restorative yoga is meant to relax and calm the mind and body.

11. Sivananda

Sivananda yoga focuses on a five-point philosophy and uses 12 basic asanas

12. Viniyoga

Viniyoga is an individual based type of yoga. Its sequences are based off the ability and needs of the individual. There is no specific sequence that everyone follows in this style.

13. Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga has a focus on the balance of the mind and the body.

14. Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is much like Bikram yoga because it is done in a room that has been heated to very hot temperatures.

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