The Many Faces of Yoga
Article by Andy Bowen
Yoga is a scientific system of physical and mental practices that originated in India more than three thousand years ago. It is much more than sitting in a lotus position and chanting in unison, rather, Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy that enhances personal growth and well being. There are many different styles of Yoga, and whilst it is fun and challenging it is worth considering which Yoga is right for you.
Bhakti YogaThis is the path of pure spiritual devotion, love and surrender to God.
Hatha yogaIntroduced by Yogi Swatmarama in the 15th century, Hatha Yoga is considered a preparatory stage towards Raja Yoga. Hatha yoga concentrates on physical purification to ensure that the body is fit enough to practise “Higher Meditation”. Hatha is what most Westerners would associate with Yoga.
Chair YogaChair Yoga, not surprisingly, is a gentle form of Yoga practised whilst sitting in a chair (or standing using a chair for support). Chair Yoga is most commonly practised by people who are unable to perform other types of yoga for health or fitness reasons.
Sahaja YogaA unique method of meditation based on an experience called Self Realization (Kundalini awakening) that can occur within each human being. Created by Nirmala Srivastava, or “Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi” or “Mother” as she is also known by followers Sahaja Yoga also refers to the Sahaja Yoga International Organization which she founded in 1970 in Nargol, India.
Anusara YogaAnusara Yoga is a style of Hatha Yoga, developed by John Friend in 1997 with a Tantric Philosophy.
Iyengar YogaCreated by B.K.S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga uses props, such as belts and blocks, as aids in performing its postures. It is another form of Hatha Yoga and is considered a powerful tool to relieve the stresses of modern-day life.
Karma YogaOne of the four pillars of yoga Karma Yoga focuses on the adherence to duty while remaining detached from the reward. In other words, one can attain Moksha (salvation) or love of God (bhakti) by performing duties in an unselfish manner for the pleasure of the Supreme.
Kundalini YogaA physical and meditative discipline, comprising a set of simple techniques that uses the mind, senses and body to create a communication between “mind” and “body”.
Bikram YogaBikram yoga is done in a room heated to 105