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Types of Yoga

Most people think that they need to be flexible or be able to twist like a pretzel to practice yoga. To practice yoga, you don’t need to be flexible. Contrary to the belief, yoga helps to improve flexibility. Practicing yoga regularly helps to tone muscles, improve metabolism and stamina. Yoga is a great way to achieve flexibility, balance, and lose weight. There are different types of yoga to choose from to see which one is right for you. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa means “to place in a special” aka flow yoga. It is called flow yoga because of the smooth transition of one pose into the other. It focuses on connecting breath and movement. Each pose is synchronized with breath. In Vinyasa Yoga poses do not follow the same sequence as in Ashtanga yoga. Some teachers include warming session, while others launch into the poses. Vinyasa yoga is great for those looking for more stretching, release tight muscle, and cardio-based yoga. Whether you want to try something new, or have a specific need or concern, Vinyasa yoga is a great way to start yoga or incorporate yoga into your life.

Hatha Yoga

“Ha” means “Sun”, “ta” means “moon.” Hatha yoga means to bring the balance between the Sun and Moon within you. Hatha yoga includes asanas and pranayama (breathing exercises). Hatha yoga is gentle, slow and is great for beginners.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga was brought to the modern world by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga yoga follows the same series of postures and movements in the same sequence. Every pose is synchronized with breath. There are six series increasing in difficulty. Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga are physically challenging. But Vinyasa yoga does not follow a strict sequence and includes more poses.

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga follows calm slow-paced movements that is held for a longer time for up-to 3-5 min. Yin yoga helps to stretch deep connective tissues between the muscles, ligaments, joints and fascia. Slight discomfort is expected in yin yoga. This is great for those looking for slow-paced yoga that gentle on the joints. The poses are practiced sitting down or laying on the mat. Yin yoga is a great way to improve flexibility, as it focuses on to strength the joints.

Bikram Yoga

Founded by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is known as “hot yoga”. This type of yoga consists of twenty-six poses and two breathing exercises practiced in the same order. Each class is for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 F and 40 % humidity.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is great for all mommy-to-be, who are looking for a gentle exercise while dealing with pregnancy related back pain and hip pain. You can start prenatal yoga as early in your pregnancy as you like. If you are having morning sickness, it is recommended to wait a little till it passes, generally around second trimester. Prenatal yoga focuses on a multi-faceted approach. It encourages stretching, soothing back and hip pain, focused breathing, creating positive feeling and mental clarity.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is another form of slow-paced yoga that allows your body to relax and open through passive stretching. This is great for those trying to release muscle tension. Restorative yoga is passive, soft and there may be minimal discomfort. In Restorative yoga poses are held from 5-20 minutes. The body is supported with props to elicit very little sensation or discomfort. This encourages the parasympathetic system to “turn on” leading to relaxation and stress relief.

Kundalini yoga

Compared to other forms of yoga, Kundalini yoga is more of a spiritual form of practice. The term Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word “Kundal” which means circular. Kundalini is like a coiled snake sitting at the base of the spine, sleeping and unaroused. With regular practice Kundalini yoga helps to release the Kundalini energy, which contributes to the spiritual wellness. Kundalini yoga combines chanting, singing, movements and breathing in a specific pattern.