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Types of yoga

/Types of yoga

The 4 Categories of Meditation

We Humans have explored a wide variety of ideas over Millennia to craft Meditation practices. What's interesting it that right from primitive awareness techniques to highly fine-tuned methodologies, each 'Meditator' has attempted to reach a similar state. A state of Silence, Focus, and profound Clarity and Joy. Isn't that Why we Meditate? So let's explore the broad categories into which we can divide the multitudes of Meditation practices.  Of course there will be many that don't fit into these categories; but even those ones will be close to one of these four. Over the course of our lives we would have experimented with each of these 4 categories. Some of them in the form of Prayer and some as Mind training. Slowly, we come to realise that one of these suits us best, and then we work on it. Once exploration matures, then comes the hard work of daily practice, often over years to keep improving the experience. 1) Awareness of a Body Rhythm/ Function as Meditation Mindfulness practices are all the rage nowadays. And they are some of the world's oldest Meditation techniques. One of the most important techniques here would be 'Watching your Breath'. Every time you tune in to a body rhythm, you become more Meditative, Grounded and very much in the 'here and now'. It's a simple technique that has huge benefits in terms of your Health and Mental well-being. Similarly you could tune in to the rhythm of your heart beat. 2) Chanting certain Words/ Syllables Since our Mind 'thinks' in words, and is always engaged in an inner conversation - using Words as a Meditative practice becomes very effective. Chanting or 'Mantra' repetition is the most common Meditation practice used by all major Religions and Spiritual [...]

Yoga Props: To use or Not to use

Timeline of Yoga props Traditionally, yoga could be done anywhere, anytime without anything. No mats, no yoga props, no music. It comprised of asanas to help people sit in meditative postures for a long time. B.K.S Iyengar added props in yoga, to help people benefit from the asanas. Practitioners across all age groups and different fitness levels were able to get similar benefits with the help of yoga bricks, belts, etc. Overtime, props gained popularity as people with stiff spine could get into Chakrasana, Halasana. Belts helped people stretch their hamstrings or calves better. And a whole range of props were added to yoga. With Vinyasa, Power Yoga becoming the new rage across the globe and fitness studios. Props were sidelined. Today, a lot of people either doubt the use of props or swear by them. Which leaves the nouveau practitioners perplexed. Yoga Props: To Use or Not to use Some yogis feel that using props is forceful and made it seem like the yoga equivalent of cheating in an exam. BUT, to use or not to use props, depends on the goal of your yoga practice.  For therapeutic purposes, props are an absolute blessing. Using a strategically placed prop can open your body, increasing range of motion, flexibility without putting you in a vulnerable position to injuries. Even in Restorative Yoga, the main aim is to relax and rejuvenate. Thus, people set up props and stay in the asana for 10-20 minutes. Therapeutic Yoga (with props) People without injuries, wanting to lose weight or get fitter, may feel that the props are more of a hindrance. In yoga styles such as Vinyasa or Total yoga, there is a flow of movements. But, setting your [...]

What Yoga style is for you?

When I started practicing Yoga, a few people used to ask me, "What yoga style are you practicing?" And, I  was like, "The usual...., where you do Surya Namaskars and fancy postures." It was only later, I realized there were different types/schools of yoga. And today, new yoga forms keep popping up. But, not all are authentic. Besides, a few of them get popular as they meet the contemporary fitness needs of the people. Different types of Yoga styles The most popular and widely practiced yoga styles will be seen. We are not talking about yoga fads or yoga hybrids. The various schools of yoga also reflect the evolution of mankind. Thus, the 12 main styles of yoga are: 1) Iyengar Yoga: This is a purist yoga named after founder B.K.S. Iyengar. Iyengar yoga is all about precise alignment and deliberate sequencing. Props like blocks, straps, harnesses, and incline boards are used to get you more perfectly into positions. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of props, Iyengar yoga can be especially good if you're recovering from an injury. Besides, Iyengar is still one of the most popular types of yoga taught today. 2) Ashtanga yoga: Ashtanga is a system of yoga that was brought to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. If you attend an ashtanga class at a studio you will be led nonstop through one or more of the ashtanga series, while being encouraged to breathe as you move from pose to pose. Each series is a set sequence of asanas, always in the same order. Thus, it is typically fast-paced, vigorous and physically challenging. 3) Hatha Yoga: It stems from a deep understanding of the mechanics of [...]