Types of yoga that are practiced today date back as far as 5000 years. Yoga training involves a system that helps the body connect with the mind by focusing the present which is referred to as the “here and now.” Most of us are busy focusing on the future that we fail to enjoy the benefits of focusing on the “now.” The different types of yoga that are practiced by focusing on the present have been development from ancient times. We may not be able to understand the types of yoga and the best ones that will work for us. However, we should try out the different styles and find out which ones suit us best. Here are a few of the popular types of yoga that are commonly practiced.
This is a classic type of yoga where you learn the breathing exercises and the original postures that can be tried out physically. You need to be calm and work out at a relaxed pace while pausing between positions. Westerners’ popularly practice Hatha yoga as they are inspired by the various ‘asanas’. They try out various natural positions and focus on breathing as well as meditations.
You learn to focus on the classical poses correctly by stretching and posing as best as the body is capable. ‘Ha’ refers to the ‘sun’ in Sanskrit while ‘tha’ refers to the ‘moon.’ Hatha basically represents the yin and yang, feminine and masculine and darkness and light which are all the expressions for duality. Classical Hatha Yoga is performed to balance the opposing forces in life.
This type of yoga is popular and practiced by many people in the West. Bikram Choudhury who was born in 1946 founded this type of yoga that is practiced in a room that is heated to 105 degree F. Each session lasts for 90 minutes and 26 poses are performed in a series. These include poses for Standing, Forward bends, Twists, Backbends and a couple of breathing exercises.
Restful poses are used to perform these exercises as they focus on relaxation of the body. You require holding these poses for a long time that requires equipment such as balls, yoga mats, bricks, blocks and straps to help you remain in the poses for a length of time.
People who suffer from various disabilities are able to perform these light exercises. Anyone can practice them regardless of whether they are beginners or in the advanced group. These exercises are referred to as “heart of celebration” as they encourage enthusiasts to perform these light hearted exercises and look on the positive side of things.
These exercises are focused on body alignment. It is necessary to hold the poses for longer durations as compared to other exercises. It is advisable to use equipments such as mats, balls and other items to avoid getting injured when performing these exercises. They are specifically designed to help body alignment.
Various types of movements are used to practice Vinyasa. This is one of the flowing and vigorous types of yoga that is different to other poses and styles. It is based on Sun Salutations where you have to go through various movements while synchronizing the breath and inhaling and exhaling to the movements specified. Focus is on the static poses as well as stretches.
Power or Ashtanga Yoga
A series of poses that are considered fast and intense are used for this type of yoga. It is basically designed for challenging ones mental and physical being.
In Sanskrit, Raja yoga is the literal translation of royal union and is known as the Royal path. Patanjali taught Yoga Sutras and wrote them between the years 100 and 300 A.D and this system has been derived from his teachings. This system is also referred as the Ashtanga Yoga. However there are a few distinction between Ashtanaga Yoga and the Yoga Sutras as taught by Patanjali and many believe that Raja Yoga is the traditional terminology that has to be used for these poses. Raja yoga therefore is of primary importance and practiced in India since the Sutras originated. It takes you along the intuitive path and addresses psychic perceptions. These facilities are essential for spiritual growth. Spiritual masters such as Swami Tureyananda are of the opinion that Raja yoga can be practiced only when one has acquired enough transformation substantially through the initial practices of yoga.
Raja Yoga is defined with different limbs. These are popularly referred as the “8 limbed path” and include:
- Self restrain and a code of conduct known as Yama
- Discipline, religious observance and devotion to practice known as Niyama
- The mind and body forms a stable seat – which is Asana
- The mind and body attains balance and unification when breathing is regulated – referred to as Pranayama
- The perception of the five senses and the sixth sense which is the mind is withdrawn from the external environment during the Pratyahara
- Concentration is referred to as Dharana
- Meditation is known as Dhyana
- A superior conscious state or self realization of the being is known as Samadhi
Raja yoga is the practice of a systematic approach used with these eight limbs. Raja yoga cannot be performed without signification guidance and directions similar to kundalini yoga. If it is not performed well, many problems and failures will result. You need to learn Raja yoga from a guru who is able to achieve a genuine state of self-realization due to perfecting the system.
Asanas are poses that teach you Stretching Exercises.
Pranayama or Breathing Practices are effecting in cleansing the body and calming emotions and the nervous system. Breathing exercises are emphasized on in most yoga schools compulsorily. It is therefore important to be interested in this type of exercise to select the right school for yoga asanas.
To increase the sense of well-being and release all body tensions, you can enroll for Guided Relaxation classes. Before you begin, find out if enough emphasis is place on this in the class.
If you wish to calm your mind and focus with meditations, you should try Chanting and Meditation. Your teacher with help you understand the structure and types of meditation that is being taught in the class. You may notice that all yoga schools do not include the practice of chanting.
To understand the types of yoga and decide on the right one to join, it is necessary to try out a few tester classes of Absolute Yoga or attend workshops where you can talk to the other students who are practicing yoga. Try out Pure Yoga, Yoga Om that is taught at Yoga Retreats. You should be comfortable and trust your instincts and inner wisdom to decide on the style or class of yoga that you should select.