With 100 different Yoga Types practised across the world, we are spoilt for choice. So how do I choose which yoga type is right for me?
Today many a hybrid form of an original type is catching the fancy of millions across the globe leading to a new style every day.
Hot yoga, pot yoga, horse yoga, doggie yoga, beer yoga and stripper pole yoga are all jostling for pose space in the yoga studio. In Miami, for instance, a studio is teaching yoga type with weights all in an effort to keep it fresh.
In New York, for instance, Yoga Studio now has multiple classes in different hybrid genres happening on a daily basis.
We have certainly come a long way from thousands of years ago in India where yoga practice was taught one on one from the guru to the student and it took a lifetime to learn.
Today we have ‘fast fooded’ yoga. The question remains, which is the best type of yoga for beginners like me?
I have written a separate article on the benefits of Yoga in detail – Click here for the Details
It is important to do a little bit of self-examination before you join up for your yoga. In order to choose the yoga style right for me, it was important that my yoga style matched my current fitness level as well as my fitness goals.
In order to get the most benefit, you should ask yourself some important questions:
- The first question to ask yourself, what is your reasons for practising yoga?
- Do you pursue Yoga to sweat it out and burn as many calories as possible?
- Did you get attracted to yoga’s more calming aspects?
- Are you searching for a meditative spiritual experience?
- Also, check if you have an injury, a medical condition that you are looking to heal with yoga exercise?
- Consult your doctor to rule out if you have any medical condition, including Asthma, Hypertension or Diabetes before you begin your sessions.
- Moreover, do you want personalized attention with your yoga style or do you think you will fit into the yoga tribe vibe better?
In order to choose right, it is also important to have a bit of a background on the basic yoga types.
All forms of yoga have their origin in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras or threads In a way, you could call it the original yoga type.
Written at least 1,700 years ago Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are written across 4 texts on yoga. It is a collection of 195 aphorisms, outlining the eight limbs of yoga.
This practice originated in India in the 15th century. This type of yoga is slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation.
The Hatha Yoga style is the physical practice of yoga that uses a combination of body postures or asanas, breathing techniques pranayama and meditation also known as dhyana. The three processes are put in practice to rejuvenate and energize both mind and body. Moreover, Hatha Yoga is also the root or basis from where most 21st century styles of yoga are derived.
Who does Hatha yoga: Beginners and people wanting to learn the basics of yoga.
Benefits of Hatha Yoga: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise and improves breathing.
The trademark of Iyengar is the intense focus on the detailed nuances of each posture and their effect on different parts of the body. Iyengar Yoga founded by B.K. S. Iyengar was one of the most influential gurus of our time.
Iyengar yoga includes the extensive use of props, such as benches, belts, bolsters, chairs, and blankets, as supports for areas affected by injury, or structural imbalance. The use of these props also helps in educating the student on the right posture.
During the Iyengar class, poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the correct alignment within each asana.
Who does Iyengar Yoga: Beginners who want to learn the correct alignments in each pose and those with injuries, balance issues, and chronic medical conditions like arthritis.
Benefits of Iyengar yoga: It strengthens and bring the body into alignment Helps improve balance, speeds up recovery from an injury, and builds up body strength
Contemporary yoga guru Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta his main teacher was yoga guru Bishnu Ghosh (1903-1970). He has put together a simple but strenuous regimen for his yoga style. Currently, his yoga studios crisscross the US and Canada.
You do the same series of two breathing exercises and 26 poses in each class. The one-hour classes consist of half of the floor postures and half of the standing poses and. Also known as hot yoga, Bikram yoga is practised in a room where the temperature is set at 95 to 100 degree F. The high heat allows you to dig deep into the stretches, simultaneously building your stamina and flushing toxins from your body through intense perspiration.
Who does Bikram Yoga: Those with a fit body wanting to practice a strenuous yoga that requires full mental concentration that challenges both mind and body.
Benefits of Bikram Yoga: leads to deep stretching of all muscles, enhances flexibility, cleanses and flushes out toxins and Speeds up recovery from an injury if any.
A modern-day form of classical Indian yoga, Ashtanga is based on the eight limbs or branches of yoga exercise Founded by K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India.
- Niyama, the rules of conduct
- Asana or the postures of yoga
- Pranayama restraining of the breath
- Pratyahara or the withdrawal of the senses
- Dharana or fixed concentration
- Dhyana which translates to meditation
- and the ultimate Samadhi or the upliftment of the soul
Ashtanga yoga is a very fast-paced and intense Type of yoga. Ashtanga yoga also uses a special breathing technique that controls the flow of breath through the body while focusing the mind and.
Who does Ashtanga Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga for those looking for an athletic and demanding practice.
Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss besides flowing towards greater spiritual awareness.
Kundalini Yoga the most spiritual form of yoga incorporates exercises, chanting, meditation and mantras.
A 90-minute class typically begins with chanting, moving on to rapid pranayama or breathing exercises, vigorous movement-oriented postures, mini-meditations, and religious mantras. Moreover, the practice is designed to awaken the energy at the base of the spine or root chakra. It is also known to draw it upward through each of the seven chakras.
Who does Kundalini yoga: Those with a deep interest in Indian spiritualism and religion will find this type of yoga best suited to their needs.
Benefits of Kundalini yoga: Its practice will lead to a deep understanding of the internal aspects of yoga and its connections to the body. It creates a heightened spiritual awareness through meditation, breathing exercises and mantra chanting.
I look at the above as the major Yoga Types. However, there are many sub-branches of yoga today and I will briefly touch upon them as well.
Anusara yoga type is often described as Iyengar a purist form of yoga with a sense of humour.
A slow and easy yoga type that typically focuses on 12 basic asanas, bookended by Surya Namaskar or sun salutation.
Created especially for western practitioners of yoga, Jivamukti yoga is an exacting and limit-pushing practice that focuses on yoga’s traditional spiritual elements and physical exercise in the form of yoga poses.
Tantra Yoga is a type of yoga to be practised in pairs. Its design and practice are used to expand the connection and awareness between couples at a physical and mental level.
Kripalu yoga type lays special emphasis on the process of figuring out how your body works using different yoga poses. Since it is a slow system it advocates the holding of postures and meditation as a form of wellness.
It is what it says, yoga postures carefully adapted for expectant mothers. Prenatal Yoga Type is specially formulated for both women in all stages of pregnancy and those getting back in shape post-childbirth.
This type of yoga uses props and aromas. Mainly, it helps you relax while you spend close to half an hour doing just four or five simple yoga poses
Viniyoga is designed around each individual according to one’s specific needs and abilities. It is a highly individualized practice.
Vinyasa Yoga type is anaerobic and vigorous exercise-based. Mainly, adapted from the Ashtanga Yoga system and directed at the aerobic-happy westerner.
Yin Yoga or Taoist Yoga type is a quiet, meditative yoga practice.
I am sure to end of this blog you will agree that you had absolutely no clue that there were so many styles of yoga. And that too is practised around the world today.
We hope this read will make it easier for you! Especially, when you step out to choose Yoga Type for yourself.
Also if you some of you out there practice a different form of yoga or have evolved your own form of yoga practice we would love it if you share with us here.
Another must-read for you: The secret of good yoga practice