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 the body, and uses yogic postures, or yoga asanas, to enable the system to sustain higher dimensions of energy. By practicing this profound science, one can change and enhance the way they think, feel, and experience life.
4) Vinyasa: The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “arranging something in a special way,” like yoga poses for example. In vinyasa yoga classes, students coordinate movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Get your flow on in this dynamic practice that links movement and breath together in a dance-like way.
5) Power Yoga: is a general term used to describe a vigorous, fitness-based approach to yoga. The term became common during the mid-1990s when two American yoga teachers who had studied with Ashtanga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois began to make what they had learned more accessible to western students. They also wanted to move away from the rigid Ashtanga sequence.
6) Sivananda yoga: is a form of hatha founded by Swami Sivananda. A class typically begins with Savasana (relaxation pose), kapalbhati and anulom vilom, followed by a few rounds of surya namaskara. The class then moves through Sivananda’s twelve asanas, which together are designed to increase strength and flexibility of the spine. Chanting and meditation was introduced in this style.
7) Kundalini yoga: incorporates repeated movements or exercises, dynamic breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and mantras. Each specific kundalini exercise, referred to as a kriya, is a movement that is often repeated and is synchronized with the breath. The practice is designed to awaken the energy at the base of the spine in order to draw it upward through each of the seven chakras.
8)Bikram yoga: consists of a specific series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. All Bikram studios practice the same 90-minute sequence so you’ll know exactly what to do once you unroll your mat.
9) Artistic Yoga: was developed in the year 1999 by Bharat Thakur. It is to meet the present day’s fitness requirements. It gives equal importance to all five aspects of fitness: Strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, agility and co-coordinative ability.
10) Restorative yoga: A restorative yoga sequence typically involves only five or six poses, supported by props that allow you to completely relax and rest. Held for 5 minutes or more, restorative poses include light twists, seated forward folds, and gentle backbends. Besides, most restorative practices are based on the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar.
11) Yin yoga: is a slow-paced style in which poses are held for five minutes or longer. Even though it is passive, yin yoga can be quite challenging due to the long holds, particularly if your body is not used to it. The purpose is to apply moderate stress to the connective tissue – the tendons, fascia and ligaments – thereby increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility.
12) Total yoga: focuses on wellness inside-out. This style has been created to meet the fitness needs of the 21st century. The style consists of practicing hatha yoga for strength, Vinyasa for flexibility and Power yoga for toning up, building stamina and endurance. Besides, every class focuses on mindfulness and pranayam.
What style suits you?
To each his own, besides one man’s food is another man’s poison. Depending on your fitness goals or requirement, you can choose any. Finally, keep trying until you find your bliss.