According to Bharat Bhise, yoga encompasses a combination of stretching, breathing, and meditation techniques to help you center your mind, body, and spirit. Yoga is an ancient eastern practice that has become popular in the west in the past few decades. Nowadays, it has developed so many variations that it can become difficult to choose which type of yoga to practice.
Here are a few of the popular yoga types:
- Kundalini yoga – Kundalini yoga was introduced in the west by the spiritual leader and teacher, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, and the word ‘Kundalini’ translates to ‘life force energy’ or ‘chi’ and ‘prana’ in Sanskrit.
It involves the use of specific breath work and chanting known as kriyas with meditation and singing to challenge both the body and the mind. Kundalini yoga is designed to help you unlock the kundalini energy thought to be tightly coiled at the base of the spine to elevate your consciousness and reduce stress and negative thinking.
- Vinyasa yoga – The word ‘vinyasa’ translates to ‘place in a special way’ and thus, it is also referred to as the ‘flow yoga’. This form of yoga was adapted from the regimented ashtanga yoga in the 1980s but now is one of the most common forms of yoga practiced in the west. In fact, many other types of yoga such as prana, power yoga, and ashtanga yoga can also be considered vinyasa flow.
Vinyasa yoga is considered one of the most athletic yoga styles since it requires you to synchronize the yoga poses with your breath in a continuous rhythmic flow. It induces a calming and meditative state that is suitable for people who want to incorporate more movement and reduce stillness in their yoga routine.
- Ashtanga yoga – Ashtanga yoga which translates to ‘Eight Limb Path’ in Sanskrit is a very physically demanding yoga style and consists of a flow-style routine with six series of specific poses that are taught in order. It is not suitable for beginners since it involves a sequence of postures that are physically challenging to perform.
In fact, only an authorized ashtanga teacher can teach this yoga and each pose and series is taught to the student when they sufficiently master the previous pose.
- Hatha yoga – Hatha yoga is a beginner-friendly yoga style that generally refers to many different styles of yoga such as raja, kriya, ashtanga, karma, and Iyengar. However, the term ‘Hatha’ translates to sun and moon in Sanskrit.
This style of yoga is gentler and incorporates the balance of opposing forces such as physical and mental energy, strength and flexibility, breath and body, and more. It includes a mix of meditations, breathing exercises called pranayama and poses known as asanas.
Bharat Bhise suggests you join a reputed yoga studio and try a few different yoga styles to understand which type of yoga you like the best. Ensure you pay proper attention to the instructions of your teacher and follow the best practices to get the best experience.