What Are the Most Popular Styles of Yoga?
Article by Adriana N.
Originating in India, the term yoga means “union” in Sanskrit refers to the practice of physical postures and pose. It is described as the union taking place among the mind, body, and spirit. According to a study from Yoga Journal, “almost 16 million people are practicing yoga and interest is rapidly increasing.” Yoga has evolved to consist of a number of different styles, each with its own benefits. Although all of the styles are based on the same poses, each has a specific emphasis.
The following is a list of the most popular styles of Yoga:
HATHA: Hatha is a style of yoga that involves very slow movement. This yoga type is often taken by yoga newcomers. It consists of a number of physical types of yoga.
ASHTANGA: Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. It is a quick-paced and physically challenging style of yoga. A specific order of poses is performed. Partakers in this yoga practice will quickly jump from one posture to another. One will improve stamina, flexibility, and strength.
VINYASA: In this style of yoga, a more energetic series of poses called Sun Salutations are performed. Movement is matched with breathing. That is, it is breath synchronized movement.
IYENGAR: This style of practice focuses on body alignment. In other words, it is performed in an exact way in which the body is positioned in each pose for the most beneficial exercise outcome. One will hold certain poses for a specified period of time.
KUNDALINI: The focus of this type of yoga is on the breath along with physical movement. The idea is to release energy in the lower part of the body so it can move up through the rest of the body. Kundalini uses quick, repetitive movements instead of poses. There is chanting involved in this yoga style.
BIKRAM/HOT YOGA: This style of yoga is practiced in a 90 to 100 degree room. The purpose is to loosen firm muscles and cause an abundance of perspiration. It is believed it cleanses the body. This style makes use of a series of 26 poses.
ANUSARA: This yoga style emphasizes physical alignment with Tanta philosophy. Tanta is the belief in the inherent goodness of all beings. Poses are taught in a way that mentally and physically opens the heart. Props are often used in this style of yoga.
JIVAMUKTI: This style of yoga emphasizes spiritual teachings, meditation, and chanting. The exercises are physically challenging.
FORREST: This style works to cleanse the body of impurities as well as strengthen the body. As well, it is designed to release pain and contained emotions so that one will begin to heal. This style of yoga is intense and there is a focus on deep breathing and firming abdominal muscles.
SIVANANDA: Sivananda yoga is based on the following five principles: Positive Thinking and Meditation, Proper Exercise, Proper Diet, Proper Breathing, and Proper Relaxation.
KRIPALU: Kripalu is a yoga practice with an empathetic style and focuses on spiritual transformation, meditation, and physical healing. It also focuses on moving at one’s own pace and gazing internally into one’s self.
INTEGRAL: Integral is a yoga style that includes meditation, chanting, breathing exercises, and kriyas. It is a tender Hatha practice.
Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on one’s physical, mental, and spiritual well being. It is an effective method to achieving optimum health.
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