With so many types of yoga to choose from, how can you know that you have found the best way to practice? Choosing a particular type of yoga is easier if you know the main differences between Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Bikram, or Ashanta, to name a few. Knowing the various benefits can help you find the yoga practice that is right for you. Ultimately, taking some classes may be helpful to learn about poses and yoga meditation.
The type of yoga that most Westerners are familiar with is Hatha. Generally, Hatha is more relaxed and more focused on breathing techniques and simple poses (asanas) than other types of yoga. Many time, classes are centered around Hatha techniques, which include meditation and stretching. Hatha yoga has many recognized benefits, including greater relaxation, improved flexibility and strength, and help improve overall health.
Vinyasa, also known as Ashtanga yoga, focuses on more rigorous and dynamic movements and sequences of movements and postures. These sequences are intended to achieve more heat in the body, improve circulation, increase respiratory benefits, increase strength and flexibility, and ultimately improve the connection between mind, spirit, and body. Many of the celebrities that claim to use yoga for exercise, including Madonna, use this type of practice. Six different series of movements are involved, each having their own specific pattern of movements. This type of practice is often referred to as power yoga.
Bikram yoga is also known as “hot yoga,” because it is typically performed in a very warm room (95 to 105 degrees). The heat of the environment helps to warm up muscles, making them better able to stretch and let the energy flow through them properly. In this type of yoga, sweating is considered to be a major part of the body cleansing process. Bikram consists of 26 different series of movements, that are taken from Hatha poses.
While all types of yoga focus on breathing techniques that connect the body and the energy, Kundalini yoga has a more prominent focus on connecting the breathing and physical movement, with the intention of moving energy (also called prana) from the lower body up toward the center so that it may be released. Rapid and repetitive movements help to connect breathing and postures, and chanting is used to help release the energies from the center. Also known as a form of tantric yoga, Kundalini yoga is often associated with more religious practices.
Many Benefits of Yoga
People of all ages and body types can reap the benefits of various types of yoga practice. Whether you choose to learn yoga through a teacher, a video, or classes, the benefits of each type of are many, including physical and mental discipline, better concentration, cleansing of the body’s impurities, increased strength and flexibility, improved health, and relaxation. For thousands of years, yoga has been recognized as a healthy and therapeutic activity for the mind, body and spirit.
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