While many people are familiar with the term “yoga,” few realize that there are many different styles of yoga available for practice. You can try different ones to spice up your routine, or you can check your intension and decide which style best fits your overall goal.
This is the style of yoga that most Westerners are familiar with. The focus with Hatha yoga is on a comfortable flow from one pose to another.
Kundalini yoga combines the postures with chanting, visualization, meditation, and guided relaxation to help heal the body as well as the mind. The focus is on the poses, breathing, and use of mantras, which are single word chants done repeatedly throughout the practice.
This style of yoga has gained in popularity over the last few years as a way to get the benefits of yoga combined with a high intensity level. A series of 26 postures are done in a heated room.
This is a flowing style of yoga with a focus on meditation that is performed in stages. In the first stage, the student performs a series of poses that are held for a short time to align the breath and movement. Once warmed up, the student then moves on to the second stage, holding the poses for a longer period. Eventually they work up to the point where they are flowing through the postures and meditating simultaneously.
Viniyoga is slower than other styles, and the focus here is on increasing strength and balance for healing. For those with chronic health problems or other physical limitations, this is a good place to start with yoga.
Ashtanga yoga is known more popularly as power yoga, and the focus here is almost completely on building strength and endurance. Not for beginners, Ahstanga yoga is good for athletes and those looking to take their physical training to the next level.
When practicing Iyengar yoga, the student concentrates on detail within the poses and the use of props for those that need assistance in order to perform the poses comfortably. This is another style that is good for yoga beginners or people who haven’t exercised in a while.
These are just a few of the paths in existence. It might be helpful to find a certified yoga instructor in your area to talk about the different paths and which one is right for you.