Yoga. What do you think of when you hear the term? We, for starters, go into our zen zone; a place where there is peace and tranquility. In times that are riddled with stress, anxiety, and numerous other mental health issues, yoga brings peace and calm. It is an ancient way that forces us to look inwards so that we treat whatever is going wrong from the inside out. Yoga often helps us heal our mind, body and soul, and helps us achieve an overall wellness with regular practice. Agreed, meditation is not an easy task, but every good thing needs practice, so does yoga. Yoga too is not just a straight set of rules. There are types of yoga directed towards various needs and concerns, and also the ones that can be practised as a regular mode of exercise. But to do it, you need to know well about it.
Yoga is a philosophy, one to embrace. And to practise it well, you need to know about its various aspects.
In this article, we wish to tell you about some types of yoga and how they can be beneficial for you. It will help you find out which one of the various types of yoga is actually good for you, depending on your health and metabolism.
- 1. Kundalini yoga
- 2. Vinyasa yoga
- 3. Hatha yoga
- 4. Ashtanga yoga
- 5. Yin yoga
- 6. Iyengar yoga
- 7. Bikram yoga
- 8. Power yoga
- 9. Restorative yoga
- 10. Prenatal yoga
- 11. Aerial yoga
1. Kundalini yoga
The word ‘Kundalini’ is a Sanskrit term and roughly translates to life force energy. It is also known as ‘chi’ or ‘prana’ in the yoga community, tightly coiled at the spinal base. This type of yoga is especially good for treating the stress and negativity in life by elevating consciousness. The best way of doing it is by chanting and singing, followed by kriyas and mantras. It also involves warm-ups and breathing exercises and finishes up with relaxing meditation. If you want something which involves physical movement, at the same time treating you spiritually with its aura, Kundalini yoga is the one to go for.
2. Vinyasa yoga
This one is also known as flow yoga and is one of the most common types of yoga and often the one recommended for beginners. The term ‘vinyasa’ roughly translates to a place in a special way, referring to breath and movement and these are the exact two things that this form of yoga addresses. It is a slow and dynamic process. If you have never tried yoga before, this is the one you should start with. Also, if you want movement from your yoga and a tranquil stillness, this is the perfect type to go for.
3. Hatha yoga
This one actually means sun and moon. As the name and its meaning suggests, this yoga type brings opposite forces together. How does it affect your body? By working on its strength, flexibility and physical and emotional energy. As many experts say, hatha yoga is using the body as a way of self-inquiry. This is another form of yoga which is recommended for beginners. Hatha yoga is a mix of six poses, pranayama and meditation. If you want a gentle type of yoga which is more of a balanced practice, this should be your pick.
4. Ashtanga yoga
This yoga involves six asanas, each in a particular order. However, the poses do not occur one after the other in a sequence. Each asana is only allowed when the person has mastered the last one. It is a flow-style yoga and is personal growth, different for each practitioner. One thing to note about Ashtanga yoga is that here, no music is involved. If you want a physical practice which is also spiritual in nature, this should be your pick.
5. Yin yoga
This is a slower form of yoga. The poses or asanas in this one are often held from somewhere between a minute to five minutes. One interesting thing to know about this type of yoga is that it has its roots in martial arts. Pretty cool, right! Yin yoga is extremely effective at improving the body’s flexibility and increasing the circulation in the joints. This particular form of yoga focuses on the lower back, thighs and on the hips by using blankets and bolsters. A major difference between yin yoga and other forms of yoga is that while the former works on connective tissues, the latter is about the major muscle issues. Yin yoga is also a great way to recover from extremely hard workouts.
6. Iyengar yoga
This one is named after its founder, BKS Iyengar. It is an alignment-based yoga practice, wherein many props are used, such as chairs, benches and even walls. This one is best suited for older adults and is quite static in nature. This is also less intense and is the best form of yoga for someone who has limited physical abilities or movements.
7. Bikram yoga
This is hot yoga, literally. The reason for this is that the temperature of the room should be at least 105 degrees with exactly 40% humidity while practising this form of yoga. It involves two breathing exercises and 26 asanas. This yoga requires the practitioners to sweat which gives them additional flexibility to perform the asanas.
8. Power yoga
This one is interpretative yoga and strengthens the muscles, at the same time working on elevating flexibility. This one is a mix of slow flow yoga and power moves which makes it quite an intense affair. Do you know it also involves tribal dancing? There is a lot of core work involved. Basically, power yoga is hardcore and the best for people who want less rigidity and want a good workout.
9. Restorative yoga
Honestly, if you ever happened to see a restorative yoga session going on, you would think that everyone is either passed out or sleeping. Which is what it may look like because everyone is lying down on their respective mats. The aim is to completely relax in each pose or asana, for at least five minutes. It’s quite possible that the practitioners may fall asleep in the duration. That is the reason it is known as ‘yoga nidra.’ This one is called restorative yoga because it helps you destress. This is a type of yoga which boosts brain health and down-regulates the nervous system. This is especially a great choice for those who are struggling with stress.
10. Prenatal yoga
Now this is one type of yoga that everyone is familiar with. As the name suggests, this is a yoga type for mothers-to-be and helps regulate the movements in the hips and the back, where most of the pregnancy related pains occur. This yoga involves breathing exercises that help during the delivery and ease the labour. However, one thing to know about prenatal yoga is that you should always take professional advice about which poses to practice. This one is good for both moms-to-be and also for mothers who have recently given birth and are trying to get back into shape. This yoga works with just the right intensity and gentleness that is required for a maternal body.
11. Aerial yoga
This is a new type of yoga, a trend that is fast catching up on and is becoming a fad. This one involves a prop, and a very beautiful and stylish one. We are talking about strong and silky hammocks that hang from the ceiling. It is a supportive prop which is used in asanas such as the downward dog pose or even the pigeon pose. This is a physically challenging form of aerial yoga and so is not advisable for beginners or anyone who does not have any experience with extensive bodily movements.