Yoga styles have evolved to be more specific over the decades, making it difficult for newcomers to identify which suits them.
Traditional yoga styles like Ashtanga, Lyengar and Shivananda are already known to regular practitioners. However, the newer styles like TriYoga or Viniyoga would still confuse many people as to which would serve fitness or spirituality needs. Knowing the various styles and their focus on physical challenge or relaxation would prove helpful.
Hatha Yoga is the basic style from which current styles evolved. At the same time, Hatha yoga covers the practice of asanas integrated with breathing techniques and purification methods called pranayama and shatkriyas, together with meditation and deep relaxation. Customarily, the postures are kept for long times and in a meditative atmosphere.
Anusara Yoga highlights an attitude that upholds life and in adjustment to the heart. This style is based on the principle of proper alignment and that a joyful and receptive performance enhance the positive outcomes of the asanas.
Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga is a vibrant and strong style with a focus on breathing, that works with six specific sequences of poses and some elements of movement to connect the poses, thereby making a transition between the static traditional positions.
Bikram Yoga is made of a series of 24 positions and two pranayamas or breathing techniques intended to improve strength, balance and flexibility. A particularity of this style is its locale of a heated room up to 40 degrees Celsius to generate additional sweating to detoxify the body. Thus, the term 'Hot Yoga' became the common identification for this style.
Integral Yoga is a mixture of asanas, breathing techniques, deep relaxation and meditation as a comprehensive practice with a spiritual orientation.
Iyengar Yoga is popular for its extensive utilization of props, among these are chairs, blocks, belts, with a lot of attention on details and centering on proper alignment. Newcomers are instructed in detail and also provided with basic information as to its health benefits.
Jivamukti Yoga comes from the Sanskrit definition of jivamukti, “liberation of the soul.” A spiritually-oriented and more traditional style, jivamukti is done with particular series of asanas that are maintained for a long time, connected to each other in a vibrant and smooth way. Vegetarianism and awareness of the environment are promoted attitudes.
Kripalu Yoga, or its alternative term, Amrit Yoga is a mutually healing and mystical style. With the objective of bringing the mind to serene stillness and a non-critical perspective of self and self-practice, this style is placid and temperate in relation to others.
Kundalini Yoga is a very active and intense style which goal is to rouse the power of the serpent Kundalini which is located at the base of the spinal column. Asanas are maintained for long periods and accentuating breathing.
Power Yoga is a easy, dynamic and precise offshoot of Ashtanga style. The aim of this style is to increase staying power, energy and good health. It is described as 'about feeling good, not just looking good.’
Sivananda Yoga brings together the principles of exercise (asana), breathing (pranayama), relaxation (savasana), vegetarian lifestyle and meditation.
TriYoga combines asanas, pranayama and mudras (the sacred hand gestures) and smooth progressions of asanas.
Viniyoga is a therapeutic style with primary concentration on breathing and movement synchronization. Asanas are held for long periods too, but these are adapted to the practitioner's age and health condition.
Vinyasa Flow is done with short-term asanas that are connected in a particular smooth movement that is combined with breathing. The aim of this style is improved energy and agility, stilling the mind, healing and developing spiritual consciousness. This style is an adaptation from the traditional Ashtanga-Vinyasa yoga styles.
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Linda Adams enjoys all things health and fitness related.
Written by : Linda Adams
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