There are SO MANY different yoga styles today! But what style or combination of styles is best for YOU? Since I am mostly an “at-home-practicer” I usually mix it up. I feel that no ONE yoga type is better than the others. While I try to live a lifestyle of the eight “Ashtanga” limbs, I like to make up my own routines from a variety of asanas, breathing exercises and meditative practices.
Here are just a few ‘types’ that I try to incorporate into my home practice…
Ashtanga Yoga – Eight limbed yoga
1. Yama – social discipline
2. Niyama – individual discipline
3. Asanas – body position
4. Pranayama – breathing
5. Pratyahara – self awareness
6. Dharana – concentration
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – enlightenment
Click on this link to visit Yoga Journal for the article Spotlight on Ashtanga Yoga
Developed by Bikram Choudhury, this style of 26 postures and two breathing exercises is done in a heated studio, precisely 105 Degrees.
While this is not included in my home practice (as I would have to be crazy to heat my house to such an extreme temperate), I enjoy attending a Bikram studio every once in a while. The heat loosens the muscles and tendons, allowing for some wonderfully deep stretching!
Hatha Yoga – “sun/moon” or “violent/force”
More popularly known today, the word Hatha is broken into two smaller words, “Ha” (sun) and “Tha” (moon), which emulates the male and female side of a person. The postures that form Hatha Yoga balance the male and female sides.
If you read up on the history of yoga, Hatha translates to violence or force. Hatha dates back as a branch of Tantra (a more sexually explored path).
Regardless of its history, Hatha Yoga is only asanas that are held for multiple focused breaths.
Click on this link to visit About.com to learn more on today’s Hatha Yoga classes.
Named for yoga master, B K S Iyengar, this form of yoga follows the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. However, this practice promotes a more gentle asana sequence using props such as belts, blocks and ropes.
When I first began yoga, I never practiced without my belt and block. It was a great way to learn the poses without going too deep or causing injury because I did not have the proper strength to hold the poses.
To learn more about B K S Iyengar and his yoga style visit his website, www.bksiyengar.com.
Kundalini is the untapped energy that sits at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the body awakening each of the seven chakras (About.com).
This form of yoga is very spiritual. It was brought to the west by Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960’s. This form of yoga is a combination of physically demanding postures, breathing exercises, meditation and chanting.
Check out the 3HO website created by Yogi Bhajan, http://www.3ho.org/.
Known as a yoga ballet, Vinyasa Yoga is a continuous moving asana sequence that flows with the breath. Each pose links the body and breath (The Science of Yoga, The Risks and the Rewards, W. Broad).
Many days I warm up with Sun Salutations, which are considered a vinyasa sequence. Vinyasa is very popular in studios, as it is known to be a great work out.
Visit About.com to learn more!
What is your favorite yoga style? Share your comments below!