LEARN ABOUT ALL DIFFERENT TYPES OF YOGA. HATHA YOGA, TANTRIC YOGA, RAJA YOGA, KARMA YOGA AND MORE!
WHICH TYPES OF YOGA ARE BEST FOR ME?
Yoga is an ancient practice. Dating back as far back as 3000 BC with the discovery of the Indus Valley Seals, yoga is one of the oldest known systems of self development.
Understanding all the different types of yoga and knowing which style works best for you can be confusing, but we’ve got your back. In this article we’ll cover ALL THE MAJOR TYPES OF YOGA and match them to your UNIQUE PERSONALITY! Let’s get started!
Bottom Line: If you are an adrenaline junkie, if you like pushing your body to the extreme, if your weekends consist entirely of crazy improptu adventures, then Bikram Yoga is for you. Bikram Yoga puts just enough strain on your body and mind to push you to your limits and beyond.
Bikram Yoga, also known as “Hot yoga” or “Fire yoga” is a method of yoga developed by Bikram Choudhury. His style of yoga is composed of 26 yoga poses and two breathing exercises, practiced in a room temperature set to 105F with a humidity of 40%. Practitioners complete these sequences twice in a single 90 min class. Naturally, holding classes at this temperature induces sweating, which in turn causes the release of toxins. The high temperatures also heat the joints, tendons, and ligaments thereby affording the body the flexibility it would have otherwise lacked to perform the asanas.
The purpose of Bikram Yoga is to rejuvenate, restore, and promote well-being of the body. This specific yoga, if practiced for a long period of time, facilitates the prevention of injury, relieves stress and tension, and detoxifies the body.
There are two descriptions of the 26 exercises and they are asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises). During pranayama sessions, the body’s natural ability to perform oxygen conversion and absorption increases, along with one’s basal blood circulation levels. Bikram Yoga relies on two processes: Extension and Compression: which help deliver fresh oxygen from head to toe. While performing any given asana, compression temporarily cuts off the blood supply to a certain body part. By restricting circulation, the heart pumps more blood in the reaction of the shortage. This pumping of fresh blood is called extension. After the asana is complete and the individual comes out of the posture, the newly oxygenated blood is able to pump back to the arteries that were being compressed. According to Choudhury, this change of volume and influx of fresh blood can purge infection, bacteria or toxins from the body.
Since practicing Bikram Yoga is likely to induce more sweating than other types of yoga, participants are strongly encouraged to bring slip-resistant yoga mats and light clothing.
The subject of Bikram Yoga is vast and deep. If you’re still hungry for more information on Bikram Yoga,
Bottom Line: If you’re constantly on the prowl for a good time, don’t take yourself too seriously, and are looking for a light, easy to do workout you’re going to want to look into Laughter Yoga! Laughter Yoga will help you blow off steam after a hard day’s work and set your inner child free!
Laughter Yoga is one of the latest types of yoga, as evidenced by recent features on the Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN. But although it originated in India and definitely includes laughing, don’t expect much yoga if you attend a Laughter Yoga class.
According to the Laughter Yoga International website, the method originated in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria. Having written on the health benefits of laughter, Dr. Kataria convened a group of students in a Mumbai, India park to test whether incorporating regular laughter into people’s lives would improve their well-being. Though at first he relied on telling jokes to get the laughter started, he soon discovered that simulating laughter (chanting HO HO HO and HA HA HA) offered the same benefits as (and often led to) the real thing. A student of yoga, Kataria also incorporated deep breathing and simple stretches into his sessions.
Medical research has suggested that laughing is a good way to reduce stress and stimulate the release of the body’s feel-good hormones (endorphins), and Kataria’s Laughter Clubs, as well as other forms of laughter therapy, are popping up all over. Kataria even offers laughter conference calls for those who don’t have a local Laughter Club.
HATHA YOGA, OR YOGA OF VITALITY
Bottom Line: If you tend to choose one service over another because they’re better established than their competition, tend to be rock solid and dependable, and are described by your friends as calm and collected–you’ve met your match in Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga will teach you to not only expand but fortify your inner sense of tranquility until it reaches unbreakable levels.
Hatha Yoga is the foundation of all types of yoga. Hatha Yoga serves as preparation for higher Yogas. Ideally, one should practice Hatha Yoga poses (asanas) while in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, then begin the series. This should be done slowly, with control and grace, all while being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses.
BHAKTI YOGA OR YOGA OF LOVE
Bottom Line: If you find yourself drawn to the supernatural, if you’ve been tirelessly seeking for a spiritual awakening, if you find yourself in awe of creation–time and time again: its time to get acquainted with Bhakti Yoga.
Bhakti Yoga is the system in which love and devotion is emphasized. Love of God and one’s complete surrender to God’s will is stressed in the Bhakti Yoga approach. Devotion should be balanced by reason; love should be balanced by understanding. For those who find it difficult to concentrate during meditation, and for whom the approach of calm discernment is too subtle, prayers and chanting can be of value.
KARMA YOGA, OR YOGA OF SELFLESS ACTION
Bottom Line: You like to go with the flow. The thought of highly planned, rigidly structured anything brings chills to your spine. You live in the present and go with your gut–always trying to bring more life and joy to anything you’re a part of. Karma Yoga is your thing.
The message of Karma Yoga is to work in harmony with the power that runs the universe, not being egotistically motivated, and having no compulsive desires relative to the future. With the eradication of the compulsive desire, one is able to live in the present, while planning for the future, without being bound to it. Every reasonable desire carries within itself the motivating force for its fulfillment with Karma Yoga. The Yogic philosophy does not ask one to give up intelligent planning. It only aims at the renunciation of egotistic desire.
Bottom Line: You’re a natural born dancer. You like to be in constant motion, expressing your very being through your movements. You enjoy the challenge of learning and love the feeling of knowing you can whip out a hard earned progression gracefully and flawlessly after a little practice. You and Ashtanga were made for each other.
This focuses on the flow of postures in order to improve strength, stamina and flexibility of the body. During an Asthanga Yoga class, the participants jump from one posture to another. Therefore, these types of yoga are not ideal for beginners. People who are not well fit may find it too difficult and demanding. However, if you are interested in improving your strength, flexibility and stamina and you are fit enough to deal with an hour of jumping from one posture to another, Ashtanga Yoga may be for you.
Bottom Line: You’re a practical, no nonsense type of person. You want results and are willing to go to any lengths to attain the ends you desire. You mean business and anything that gets in the way of having the cut, toned body you’ve always wanted is something you can do without. You’re always looking to hone in on the athelete within. Power Yoga is the tool you’ve been waiting for.
This is an American development of Asthanga Yoga that also adopted several elements from other types of yoga styles. You can find Power Yoga classes mainly in fitness and health clubs. Power Yoga focuses on strengthening the body by performing Hatha Yoga postures for a longer time to improve both physical flexibility and mental focus. Power Yoga can be a good exercise for athletes, people who practice types of fitness activities and people who want to tone their body.
Bottom Line: It’s been a little while since you’ve dusted off the ol’ gym bag and now you’re ready to sieze the moment. You’ve mellowed out a little since your crazy days in college, but you’ve still got the same fire and drive for self improvement. You don’t want anything to do with Bikram Yoga. That’s a little much. Who would subject themselves to that? Iyengar Yoga please.
This focuses on the physical alignment of the body and the accurate performance of each posture. Some of the Iyengar Yoga postures are practiced with the assistance of props such as blocks and belts that are designed to help the participants achieve the most accurate posture and to protect their bodies from injuries. Since the flows between postures are not practiced, Iyengar Yoga classes are less intense and therefore more suitable for people who are looking to train up to an Ashtanga or Bikram class. Iyengar Yoga improves body strength and flexibility and can fit into the lifestyles for people of any age and every physical condition.
RAJA YOGA, OR “THE HIGHEST FORM OF YOGA”
Bottom Line: Mind over matter. You are a master of mental discipline in-training and nothing sets your mind at ease like a bright, quiet room, some incense, and the sound of gently rolling waves in the background. You love to set your mind free and drift, without obligations and worry, through your own thoughts and daydreams–all the while unlocking the inner workings of the universe. Embrace Raja Yoga.
Raja yoga is the royal path to self-realization by way of meditation. Its goal is complete stilling of the mind, so that the light of the indwelling spirit may shine out. Raja Yoga meditation is the process whereby the practitioner concentrates upon one point in order to integrate discontinuous, diffused attention, thus holding his attention steady. All distractions are thus effectively closed out, and meditation proceeds.
TANTRIC YOGA, OR KUNDALINI YOGA
Bottom Line: You’re a wild card with a free spirit and a lust for life. You’re always open to try something new and you let your passion and sensuality shine through everything you do. You seek the spiritual, but you don’t like the stuffy conventionality of Western religions. You NEED to try Tantric Yoga.
Tantric yoga suggests that sexuality can be a very powerful force which can be harnessed for increased self-awareness. Tantrics maintain that there is an enormous energy locked into sexuality, which, if released from the lower end of the spine, can flow up the spinal column to bring divine illumination to the brain. Once the yogi has achieved mastery of self, he is ready to join with a partner whose energies and spirit complement his own in such a way that together they form a “whole”. They maintain the spiritual link or bond throughout the lovemaking process. In tantric yoga, the lovers do not try to achieve orgasm. In fact, they work hard not to have one. The emphasis is not on the sexual release as an end in itself, but rather on sex as a channel through which the evolution of self may proceed.
Bottom Line: You’re an auditory learner and LOVE the way you can ride the emotional highs and lows of a good song. You know the innate overmastering power contained in a single well placed word. You’re also very fond of chanting things. Slogans, song lyrics, whatever. Chanting is its own reward. Sign yourself up for Mantra Yoga.
Mantra yoga means “union by voice or sound”. This form includes the rhythmic repetitions of specific sounds, or mantras. The practitioner repeats the syllable, word or phrase continually; sometimes for weeks, months or years on end. Certain syllables are believed to posses healing potential for specific purposes.
Bottom Line: You are pregnant. You like yoga. If only there were some way of combining the two…hmm.
Exercise during pregnancy offers many benefits, especially when you prepare for labor. Although there are plenty of prenatal yoga classes near your local studio, it can be easily practiced at home with simple yoga poses with a yoga mat and comfortable clothes.
Dos and Dont’s of Prenatal Yoga Exercises
- Do: Check with your physicians before beginning any prenatal exercise program
- Do: Listen to your body. If any yoga pose makes you uncomfortable, stop the movement or modify it.
- Do: Perform the pose at a slower pace.
- Do: Learn to breathe deeply and relax.
- Don’t do back bends
- Don’t lie on your stomach.
- Don’t do inverted yoga positions
- Don’t do abdominal twisting exercises
- Don’t do jumping or leaping movements
Below you’ll find a gallery of pre-natal asanas so you can check your form! Click and drag to navigate!
That about wraps it up for us. Thanks for reading about the different types of yoga!