Ten Different Types of Yoga Explained

I love running. One of my new year’s resolutions have been to finally run a marathon. I am keeping the training regimen and I am powering through it, but it puts a strain on my body. I started incorporating a little bit of swimming into my training routine as well as getting massages. I even had the idea of taking some yoga classes in order to stretch my muscles.

However I went online and saw how many different types of yoga there are. I was a little bit confused at first. Isn’t yoga supposed to make me feel calmer and lower my anxiety? It is hard to even choose which class to start. I just became more anxious by trying to come up with which type of yoga class to go to.

I wrote a short summary of the different yoga styles out there. These are just short explanations.

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Bikram

I wil start with this because this is the type of yoga I decided to start. There is a nice bikram yoga studio close to where I live, so that was an important factor in my decision. The main feature of buckram is that you do the poses in a hot sauna. You have to deal with over 40 percent humidity in buckram classes. The class consists of 26 different yoga poses, each repeated twice. The poses are performed in an artificially heated room, so you will sweat like never before. Always bring a bottle of water with yourself to balance all the fluids you loose due to sweating. This is one of the most popular types of yoga you will find, however it is a little bit controversial. The founder of bikram sued several studios who don’t follow the sequences of poses as he intended in his original class.

Anusara

A friendly named yogi, called John Friend developed this type of yoga in 1997. His belief was that we are all good and loving beings deep down. This type of yoga is very close to the original way of doing yoga, but with a little bit of a twist. It is meant to train you to be accepting and full of energy, since this type of yoga has a bit of humour added to it. This is done by the instructor encouraging the students to express themselves through the poses. The students are encouraged to put their personality into all the exercises they are doing.

Hatha

This is one of the six original branches of yoga. It is a physical type of yoga. It is rather a group term that can incorporate asthenia, buckram and other types of yoga. It is an umbrella term. However most yoga classes referred to as hatha are a mixture of basic yoga poses and breathing exercises done one after another.

Ashtanga

This is a quick, pacey type of yoga. Six established and strenuous pose sequences are done in sequence. The instructors of these classes flow quickly and seamlessly from one pose to another. You are probably familiar with the term “vinyasa”. It refers to a series of ashtanga poses linked with a breathing exercise. The poses always follow each other in the same order.

Jivamukti

This type of yoga is about pushing your limits. It puts a physical strain on your body while letting your mind relax. The classes often involve chanting ancient Sanskrit scriptures.

Iyengar

This type of yoga incorporates items from the external environment in their poses. It is named after its founder, and it is often referred to as furniture yoga, because it uses straps, boards, harnesses. It might seem easier, but you should not take it lightly.

Kripalu

Is all about getting to know your body, and accepting it as it is. It incorporates starting a pose, holding it for an extended time while meditating. While doing kripalu yoga, you are looking to find flow while doing the poses.

Restorative

With this yoga you minimise the stress on your body, and you are just looking to gain energy. You will spend up to five minutes in one poses, while using air fresheners and pillows to help you sink into a relaxed, meditative state. It feels like a cleansing ritual for your mind. You go into a deep, trance-like state and the biggest challenge is to not fall asleep in your comfortable position.

Sivanda

This type of yoga focuses on the same twelve basic poses, broken apart by sun salutations, breathing and savasanas. The underlying mindset of this type of yoga is that breathing, relaxation,. proper diet, exercising and positive thinking will lead to a healthy, balanced life.

Power

Also referred to as vinyasa yoga. This type of yoga had its heyday in the late eighties, when it found a large following with the aerobic loving westerners. There is no set sequence of styles, like in most other types of yoga. This makes the classes varied based on the teacher. Each class is different. The only similar thing in these classes is their reliance on movement instead of calm and controlled sequence of poses.

Do you want to read more about different yoga styles. Check out this article or this one to know more.

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