Yoga is a tool to bring us closer to who we really are.
At first, the type of yoga we start with usually depends on our preference for being physically challenged versus a more gentle and relaxing meditative practice. I have found that the more you do yoga, the better understanding you will gain of the type (or types) of yoga that work for you.
There are many different styles and types of yoga taught today and although all of them practice the same asanas (postures), each have its own focus or emphasis.
Here are some of the types of yoga that I think are pretty popular today – perhaps an inspiration for you to keep going or to try something new!
Anusara: Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara yoga focuses on the physical alignment along with the positive philosophy derived from Tantra. These classes are typically focused on opening the heart. There is a lot of Vinyasa flow. These classes can typically be done at different physical levels hence props are sometimes used.
Ashtanga: Popularized by Sri Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga yoga is a strong and dynamic flowing sequence of sun salutations and postures. The Ashtanga method stresses daily practice using uijayi breathing, mula bandha, iddiyana bandha and drishti. There are six series to this practice. The first series focuses on realigning the body, building strength, detoxification, flexibility and stamina. Classes can be led or self-led. Ashtanga is a vigorous and disciplined practice where the student progresses at his or her own pace.
Hatha: Dating back to the 15th century, Hatha yoga is typically slow paced with an emphasis on Pranayama (breath work), deep stretching, relaxation and instruction.
Iyengar: Developed by living yoga master BKS Iyengar, this physical form of yoga focuses on the precise alignment within postures using blocks, belts, chairs and other props to help the practitioner open more into the posture based on their own physical strength and weaknesses.
Kundalini: Kundalini is an ancient form of practice that involves combing strong breathing practices with asana and can range in difficulty. This type of yoga goes beyond the physical practice and emphasizes breathing, meditation and sometimes chanting.
Vinyasa: This type of yoga covers a broad range of yoga asanas. The word ‘Vinyasa’ literally means ‘linking movement with breath’ where each movement is linked to an inhalation or exhalation. Classes typically involve Ashtanga asanas and can range in difficulty and style depending on the teacher.
Always remember to listen to your own inner teacher. No matter what type of yoga you choose, it help you to establish optimal mental and physical health.