In today’s world, everyone is aware of the term Yoga. To many people, it is similar to the exercise which provides flexibility and increases our endurance. It is not only limited to the physical involvement of our body. Instead, it is a blend of physical and mental activity to achieve overall well-being.
Yoga involves various postures, body movements, breathing patterns and relaxation techniques. Several types of yoga exist, but you should be aware of the yoga that suits you the best. This is because although all postures seem to be the same, they trigger different parts of the body. So, take a look at the various forms of yoga, their characteristics, and their health benefits.
1. Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga allows you reshape, re-create and re-engineer the whole body. Hatha yoga activates 2 main dimensions within our body, i.e., the sun and the moon. Hath Yoga aligns your entire body, relaxes your mind and prepares your inner soul for meditation. For a beginner, it is a slow process. Try to hold on a pose for a longer duration. Hatha Yoga balances your body, improves flexibility, relieves stress, strengthens muscles, increases blood flow and makes you happier.
2. Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa is a fantastic form of yoga as it synchronizes your breath with the different postures and the transitions that follow during the complete course. No two poses are alike in any way. This yoga form helps you to stay focused, it pushes your physical strengths to perform better. It is good for your heart, increases flexibility, detoxifies your body, infuses proper breathing, relieves stress and more importantly, it’s fun to practice it.
3. Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga literal meaning is “eight-limbed yoga.” It is a form of vinyasa which involves synchronizing breath with the different series of postures. In this whole process, a lot of energy in the form of internal heat is produced; thus, this yoga helps in purifying your body by the amount of sweat it releases. It tones up your body muscles, provides emotional and intellectual benefits and boosts concentration.
4. Power Yoga
Power Yoga is a branch of ashtanga yoga and provides the same benefits as well. But, what makes it different from Ashtanga Yoga is that it is performed at quite a faster pace and in continuation. It is best for those people who have a shortage of time due to work. When practiced in addition to cardiac exercises, it results in weight loss as well. It burns calories, builds strength and stamina, improves blood circulation, reduces stress, detoxifies your body and leaves you refreshed and alive.
5. Bikram Yoga
Bikram Yoga is yet another form of yoga which comprises of 26 postures exercises. What makes it unique is that you practice this yoga in a heated room to allow your muscles to stretch to its maximum. You have to follow the instructions of the instructor as the instructor doesn’t demonstrate their moves. It provides maximum stretch to the ligaments and tendons, increases oxygen supply, relieves stress, tones your muscles, reduces back pain and rejuvenates your body.
6. Jivamukti Yoga
Jivamukti Yoga creates a foundation for a healthier and happier life. The meaning of Jivamukti means “liberation” while you are alive. It comprises of 5 essential elements: Meditation, Music, Non-violence, Devotion, and Scripture. It involves high-intensity yoga moves, and that increases blood circulation to every nerve ending in your body. It releases out stress hormones and uplifts your mood, improves flexibility and purifies your mental state.
7. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is a form of yoga in which one focusses on maintaining poses for a longer duration. Precision can be achieved by practising it whole-heartedly. This type of yoga makes use of props which allows you to achieve perfection. Iyengar Yoga emphasizes alignment, accuracy, and timings. It increases the overall flexibility of the body, provides incredibly toned muscles, improves breathing, inculcates strength and awareness, protects you from diseases and improves posture.
8. Anusara Yoga
Anusara Yoga means “going with the flow.” It is a type of yoga which gives importance to the principle of universal alignment. Anusara Yoga comprises about 250 asanas, though they all cannot be practised daily. Anusara Yoga is a complete blend of breathing, postures, and wisdom. After you perform this yoga, you will feel energized and more relaxed. It is great for your lungs, increases flexibility, improves physical strength and mental stability.
9. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda Yoga is an amalgamation of 5 yogic principles: proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise and positive thinking. It comprises of 12 basic postures and with Sun Salutation and Savasana. It is great for joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It enhances flexibility and blood circulation.
10. Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini Yoga is a yoga form which not only strengthens muscles and maintains physique but also acts as a third eye opener to re-engineer one’s inner self. During awakening of kundalini, various signs such as tingling, tremors, shaking, uncontrolled jerks, buzzing sensation, etc. may take place. The kundalini yoga helps you to heal from any chronic disease and helps you to experience ultimate bliss, feeling of immense love.
11. Yin Yoga
Yin Yoga is a yoga form which digs deeply into the connective tissues thus increasing flexibility and rejuvenates energy centres, i.e., chakras by releasing an increased flow of energy throughout the body. Here, you are required to hold postures for a longer duration. It improves joint mobility, reduces stress and anxiety, boosts energy level and relaxes our mind.
12. Jnana Yoga
Jnana Yoga means wisdom, knowledge, and intellect. It helps you to acknowledge the questions like “who am I,” “what am I doing” and “why am I doing.” It requires excellent intellect to know the true meaning of life. It helps you to calm your brain, relaxes your mind, improves memory retention power, increases concentration, beneficial to cure sleep disorder and revitalizes your body.
13. Mantra Yoga
Mantra Meditation is one of the powerful tool used to meditate. The most common mantra is the “Om” as it is believed that the vibration produced by Om can spread positive energy. One of the primary goals of chanting mantras is to feel their vibrations and unite with the vibrations of your body. Chanting mantras has the potential to redirect thoughts, mood, emotions, and conscience.
14. Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti, as the name suggests, is related to the devotion of the devotee. Bhakti yoga is something personal because it is between the person and the God. It keeps you away from the negative energies like anger, ego and arrogance and swaps these energies with the positive ones like love, joy, wisdom and complete bliss. It helps to let go of the unnecessary desires which we humans seek. It teaches to surrender one’s self entirely to the Almighty.
15. Karma Yoga
Karma implies “action”. And to recognize your work as the work of God is taught in this form of yoga. It is a human tendency to get rewarded for the work but to do selfless work is what makes it worth it. You feel immense pleasure, joy, and satisfaction while doing work altruistically. One can surely follow the path of karma yoga and seek moksha.
16. Kriya Yoga
Kriya Yoga is the highest form of yoga that helps you to connect to the Almighty by bringing your mind and soul to a calmer state. It helps you in self-realization. It heals your mind and body by focussing mainly on the spiritual aspect. Kriya Yoga helps you to effectuate physical well being, provides emotional and mental benefits, spiritual satisfaction and helps to unblock positive energies within one’s self.
17. Swara Yoga
Swara is a word derived from Sanskrit whose literal meaning is sound. It is the continuous flow of air through one of the nostrils so basically it is the sound of the air. It is a beautiful mechanism of controlling breath through the planetary motion of the sun, moon and many other astronomical bodies. It makes your breathing smooth thus increasing mental alertness and keeps you active throughout the day.
18. Raja Yoga
Raja Yoga is a form of yoga which deals with mental awareness and self-control. It encompasses self-control, discipline, physical exercises, breathing exercises, withdrawal of senses from the materialistic world, concentration, meditation, and complete realization. Regular practising this yoga helps you to achieve clarity, inner peace, self-realization and satisfaction in one’s self.
19. Restorative Yoga
Restorative Yoga is a yoga form which makes use of props to achieve physical, mental and emotional well being. The use of props stabilizes you while you are performing these yoga forms. Restorative Yoga helps you to restore well being by eliminating stress, restlessness, and depression. It also helps you to recover from injury, pain, trauma, and anxiety.