Read these 25 Types of Yoga Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Yoga tips and hundreds of other topics.
Many mistake the practice of Kundalini for some sort of sexual practice. This may be because of the energy that is generated from the groin area upwards. Also, the male (Shiva) energy and female (Shakti) energy are meant to form a union. This is often misinterpreted as sexual union. However, the true nature of Kundalini is to open energy channels and reconnect with universal energy, not to swell on one aspect of union.
Pranayamas, or breathing exercises, are extremely important to practicing Hatha yoga properly. Once the breath is controlled, the mind is controlled, according to the yogis. Our energy (Prana) is altered though the exercises, which often involve deep inhalations (usually through the nose), exhalations (through the mouth), and even holding the breath for a few counts. These practices prepare the way for Samadhi (enlightenment). Pranayama practice is also a vital part of Kundalini yoga.
Why is it so hot in a Bikram yoga studio? The heat actually works to loosen your muscles. This in turn allows you to move more fluidly into a deeper yoga pose. Also, the heat challenges you to move past your comfort level into a focused mental state. Finally, the heat also helps you sweat, which facilitates the removal of toxins in your body.
When people think of yoga, they often are thinking of Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the most popular form of yoga in the United States. Many other styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga yoga and Bikram yoga developed from Hatha yoga. This style celebrates balance; the word "Hatha" comes from "ha," meaning "sun," and "tha," meaning "moon."
Kriya yoga was first made popular in the West by Paramahansa Yoganda. In this practice, a number of yoga techniques are employed, specifically pranayama exercises. Using the power of the breath, practitioners develop their individual spiritualities. This in turn brings about a deep state of tranquility and communion with god in oneself.
It was Sage Patanjali who wrote the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This treatise covered the study of 196 yoga sutras, or aphorisms. In order to make these sutras accessible to all, B.K.S. Iyengar has revisited them. His interpretations remain faithful to the original concepts, while bringing them to a level all can understand and practice.
In 1969, Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini to the west from India. Kundalini yoga is considered to be the most powerful form of yoga. Based on awakening energy through our chakras (energy points along the center of our bodies), Kundalini uses the image of a serpent coiled three and a half times. These coils of energy begin at the base of our spine, lying dormant, but move upwards as the practice continues.
Ashtanga Yoga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois. This style embodies Pattanjali's view that purification of the soul and body can be achieved through eight spiritual practices. The lyama, niyama, asana, and pranayama limbs of yoga are external, cleansing and strengthening practices. Meanwhile, the pratyahara, dharana, dhyana limbs are internal. These can be developed through proper Ashtanga practice.
There is a specific breathing technique used in Ashtanga yoga called Ujjayi. Ujjayi breathing means "victorious breath." The process is a simple one, but it takes time to master. An even inhalation and exhalation (puraka and rechaka) is made. Each intake and release of breath should last the same amount of time, so that the movement of air is fluid.
Asanas, or yoga poses, are developed specifically to open the channels of energy within the body. Some of the movements stretch and elongate the body. Others keep limbs close to the body, and are "smaller" movements. Each pose is a meditation. Practicing Asanas can help develop other important aspects of yoga including Prathyahara (withdrawal of the senses) and Dharana (concentration).
Created by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses performed in a room heated to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Each pose is usually performed twice and held for a certain period of time. Each of the practice sessions includes standing postures, back and forward , and twists. Kapalabhati Breath or what is called the "breath of fire" is performed with each of the asanas.
A few words form Kriya yogis help articulate the crux of the practice: "Humanity is one's only religion, Breath one's only prayer, and Consciousness one's only God." "The Breath of God is our Breath of Life." "By loving your breath, you love the living God within you and attain the truth."
Practitioners of Kundalini yoga have varying stages of awakening the energy within themselves. Like many spiritual practices, much depends on how open one is in the first place. That said, awakening the Kundalini does not take much effort, but guiding that energy through the chakras up to the top-most level, the Sahasrara Chakra, requires devoted and continuing practice.
Kriya yoga is a unique form of yoga. This style focuses on self-control and self-realization through meditation. An ancient technique of deep meditation, it was reintroduced in 1861 by Babaji Maharaj through his householder disciple Lahiri Mahasaya. The purpose of this style of yoga is to develop spiritual evolution.
There are many medical benefits to Bikram yoga. Even the founder, Bikram Choudhury, had suffered a knee injury that left him so damaged his doctors said he would not walk again. He returned to his yoga guru and continued to work on poses that would be gentle enough that anyone could do them. In fact, people with arthritis, diabetes and thyroid disorders can benefit from this style of yoga.
Ashtanga Yoga is different from other styles of yoga, in that it incorporates something called the Vinyasa, which means breathing and movement. It is employed for internal cleansing. Each movement receives one breath. Also, sweating is very important in the Vinyasa. While executing the asanas, heat is created. This helps the blood carry toxins, which are removed through sweat.
The poses in Ashtanga yoga are sectioned into three levels. Each level increases in difficulty. The primary series, Yoga Chikitsa, detoxifies and aligns the body. The second series, and more intermediate, is Nadi Shodhana, which opens the energy channel and prepares the nervous system. Sthira Bhaga, the advanced series, combines the entire practice, spiritually and physically.
B. K. S. Iyengar developed a method of practicing yoga that involves what he called "research based experience" and "experience based research." In this way, he evolved his technique which is now known as "Iyengar Yoga". At the core of this style of yoga is the believe and message that any ordinary human being can practice yoga. By using certain aids or props, anyone, at any physical level of development can practice Iyengar yoga.
Of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Hatha yoga is focused on the third and fourth limbs. These are Asana (Postures) and Pranayama (Breathing). In practicing these limbs, it is said that the body is then prepared by clearing the channels of energy (Nadis). Any blockage is removed, and the remaining Limbs -- Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi -- are better able to function.
Guru Iyengar's teachings were first published in 1966 in a book called Light on Yoga, which was subsequently translated into eighteen languages. He has authored fourteen more books. He was also the first yoga instructor to teach large groups at once. Even leading large classes of students, he is still able to stress precision and alignment in practice. This is the key to Iyengar yoga.
Because Bikram yoga involves the repetition of the same poses in the same order every class, some people fear they will get bored over time. However, boredom can be avoided by going deeper into your practice, mentally. The same way we learn a language by memorization of grammar rules, once we learn that language we can say whatever we want with it. In practice, your body and mind are unique. Investigate them!
Hatha Yoga is the most familiar type, particularly in the United States. It is basically physical yoga. But don't be confused by different names. There are several different styles of Hatha Yoga. Each style has characteristics that reflect a particular teacher or organization's approach to asanas. Some that you may have heard of are: Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Kripalu Yoga and Sivananda Yoga. Remember that, though they have different names, they are still Hatha Yoga. It's just what they emphasize (breath, philosophy, sequence of movements, speed at which postures are performed, or a combination of factors) that distinguishes them.
The practice of Kundalini yoga includes an incorporation of classic asanas, mantra chanting, pranayama practice, and meditation. The chanting and breathing is most important, however. Kundalini is a very intense practice, as it involved shifting energy through the chakras. Many consider Kundalini to be a dangerous practice because of the power it generates through the body. That is why it is imperative to have a knowledgeable guru.
Iyengar yoga can be practiced by all. By using specially designed yoga props such as wooden gadgets, belts and ropes, any practitioner of this yoga style can achieve proper alignment. Part of what an Iyengar yoga practitioner learns is the importance of performing each group of asanas in a specific sequence. This increases the efficacy of the practice.