The second year of International Day of Yoga has just passed by on 21st June. With every passing year, more people are getting drawn towards practise of yoga, and this is not without a reason. Although, this ancient health system is being practised for several years now, it is with the introduction of the ‘International Day of Yoga’, that yoga gained global prominence, and just as the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi said, this unique occasion has brought people closer to one another.
There has been huge enthusiasm for yoga from all parts of the world, as people realized that yoga unveils a new dimension of the self, while providing a holistic approach to preventive healthcare. But, with the range of options out there, beginners are confused about what type of yoga to choose for their practice. Yoga may not necessarily be a ‘one-size-fits-all’, as different types of yoga works for different people and for different ages. For instance, what works for a 20 year old, may not necessarily work for a 70 year old.
Different yoga types are listed out here so that you can identify the style you may like best or seem to work for you.
Hatha yoga is a gentler form of yoga. In Sanskrit, term “hatha” refers to yoga practice involving physical postures. The basics here may require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. Hatha yoga is considered a gentler form of yoga, and hence is ideal for beginners who are just starting their yoga practice.
Yogacharya BKS Iyengar is the founder of this yoga, which involves the concept of integrating one’s body and mind. This yoga makes use of props (designed by Iyengar) like wooden gadgets, ropes etc., which helps one aid perfection in any asana. Iyengar yoga is therapeutic in nature and is used to treat illnesses and other stress-related ailments. On the whole, it improves physical, mental and emotional well-being. This yoga cures several common ailments including irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual problems, mental fatigue, migraine, obesity and many other ailments.
Started by Baba Ramdev, Patanjali yoga is the most popular form of yoga practice. This yoga type helps in building your core, with asanas and breathing exercises. This is the best form of yoga to kick-start the day, as it helps keep you fresh and remain rejuvenated the whole day.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
This form of yoga has been conceived and developed by K Pattabhi Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, and involves performing a series of asanas in sequence, bearing in mind that your breath needs to be synchronised. This yoga is particularly helpful in improving your core strength and stamina apart from making you feel light and flexible.
This is a continuation of Vinyasa practise, and is an offshoot of Ashtanga yoga. It helps improve body strength, increases stamina and flexibility and reduces stress. Once you learn to manage your breathing patterns with the asanas, you can reap quicker benefits. Power yoga basically helps in increasing internal heat, which in-turn cleanses the body.
Sri Bikram Choudhury is the Founder of Bikram yoga, which perfectly co-ordinates the therapeutic value of Hatha Yoga through a sequence of 26 postures. These are designed such that they work systematically in every part of the body, for best health and functioning. Regular practice of Bikram yoga harmonizes nervous and endocrine system, and balances your emotional well-being.
Hot / Aerial / Tantric Yoga
It is one of the quickest ways to burn calories, as it involves practice of yoga in a heated room and that is what hot yoga is all about. It operates on the same concept as that of Bikram Yoga, but, is performed in a heated room. Due to increased perspiration, it helps in quicker weight loss. Tantric yoga helps in improving awareness of all states of consciousness and helps identify issues influencing thoughts and emotions.
The teachings in Sivananda Yoga are based on five core principles – breathing, exercise, relaxation, diet, thinking and meditation. Some of the asanas practised in this form of yoga are Sirshasana, Sarvangasana, halasana, matsyasana, bhujangasana, shalabhasana, and dhanurasana. These yoga postures are all good in combating obesity, making the body feel lighter and flexible.
Kundalini Yoga is a physically and mentally challenging practice which looks very different from a typical yoga class. You can perform kriyas, repetitive physical exercises, coupled with intense breath work, while also chanting, singing and meditating. It helps breath through your internal barriers, and releases the untapped energy residing within you, and brings you to a higher level of self-awareness. It is best for people seeking something more than just a workout, like spiritual energy or meditation.
This is the opposite of a faster moving practice like Ashtanga yoga. In Yin Yoga, the poses are held for several minutes at a time, and this meditative practice is so
designed, that it targets your deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring elasticity. Props are used in this form of yoga, and this is best suited for people who like to stretch and unwind.