In today’s modern society, there are over 100 types of Yoga.
However, there are 8 specific types that are popular amongst yogis all around the world. It doesn’t mean that the first yoga studio or class you attend, might be right for you.
Take some time to investigate the different options, or even explore the possibility of combining a few different types, and switch up your experience.
With so many celebrities such as Sting and the Material Girl, Madonna swearing by it, and the 2015 hit song by Janelle Monáe – Yoga, that celebrates the result of regular yoga practice, we can’t help but be curious about Yoga.
There are numerous different practices of yoga. Each unique in their style and directed toward a specific purpose, yielding a directed outcome naturally. All the yoga styles are interlinked in some way, and it’s for that reason that a blend of a few different styles, might be the better option for you.
Not only will it combat the mundane and boredom normally associated with exercises of the repetitive kind, but it will also open up your entire being to accept and benefit from the full range of yoga styles this exercise has to offer, to those who are willing to invest, both time and energy into the practice thereof.
The article will unpack what are the 8 types of yoga, happy reading!
This yoga style is the work of founding father, the controversial yogi teacher, and dedicated scholar, K. Pattabhi Jois. He invented this type of yoga, circa the 20th century. It is believed to be the classical version of what we have come to know as modern yoga today.
He was also one of the key persons responsible for establishing the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in India, in 1948.
The yoga style starts off with sun salutations (Surya Namaskara) A and B being practiced in repetitions of 5 each. Ashtanga yoga also consists of a series of 6 levels, ranging in difficulty and complexity.
Ashtanga yoga focuses on 3 main elements, namely breathing (pranayama), looking place (drishti), and pose/posture (asana). Together, these three components will help to improve the relationship between the mind, body, and nervous system.
This purpose of this specific practice of yoga is to improve strength and stability in the body and is a very energized form of yoga. The dishti comprises 9 different points of focus, whilst practicing the asanas.
It has it’s very own special mantra, with which the practice is started off with, whilst doing the sun salutations, in Sanskrit the yogis say:
“ vande gurunam caranaravinde samdarsita svatma sukhavabodhe nihsreyase jangalikayamane samsara halahala mohasantyai abahu purusakaram sankhacakrasi dharinam sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim”
Meaning in English: “I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus. The awakening happiness of one’s own self is revealed. Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician. Pacifying delusion, the poison of Samsara. Taking the form of a man to the shoulders, holding a conch, a discus, and a sword. One thousand heads white, to Patanjali, I salute”
Some famous Hollywood A-list celebrities such as Madonna and Robert Downey Jr. are avid practitioners of Ashtanga yoga in particular. Only 30 minutes a day can sprout about the same results for you.
The next yoga style to unpack in the article that consists of the 8 most popular types of yoga is a form of hot yoga known as Bikram yoga.
It was masterminded by Bikram Choudhury, and brought to the United States of America in the 1970s, where it quickly gained huge popularity amongst the Americans.
Bikram yoga has a set sequence of 26 asanas and is practiced in a room that is heated to 105℉ and with an added humidity factor of 40%. This is to simulate the conditions and environment of India, its birthplace.
Actor George Clooney practices 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga as often as possible, and Lady Gaga has credited this style of yoga as a catalyst in her road to stardom.
This type of yoga promotes slow, warm, and relaxing asanas. Some of the associated benefits of Bikram Yoga are:
- Increased flexibility, more so than the other 7 styles of yoga listed in this article
- It flushes and detoxifies the system
- Your skin will show a renewed glowy exterior with regular practice of this style
- Bikram yoga has been associated with rapid weight loss
- Hot yoga is a champion of a healthy, disease-free heart, even though scientists are still unsure what the link is between the two components
- It promotes mindfulness of self
- This style of yoga is known as a mood booster
B.K.S Iyengar, born in India in 1918 is the inventor of Iyengar yoga. His form of Hatha yoga, called The Iyengar method, places the primary focus on how the poses are executed. It has its name in history as one of the top 8 types of most popular yoga in the world.
The emphasis is greatly placed on the proper and correct way of executing each asana or pose. He is also the person to give thanks to for all the other additional props that are used in the practice of yoga today, such as yoga blankets, yoga bolsters and yoga blocks to name but a few.
The main purpose of Iyengar Yoga is to increase overall health for the avid yogi that prefers to focus on the technical alignment and taking their yoga practice to the next level. It tones muscle, is great as a natural form of pain relief, and improves body posture.
One of the most devoted and well-known celebrities that harnesses the power that this style of yoga has to offer is retired international cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar.
Jivamukthi yoga is the proverbial love-child of Sharon Garron, and David Life, and was established in 1984. The name Jivamukti means jivanmuktih (living soul), and mukti (cycle of death and reincarnation), subsequently meaning “liberation whilst living”.
Jivamukti yoga comprises of 5 main elements, namely:
Shastra. This bears reference to the scripture known as Sanskrit
Bhakti. Meaning “devotion to God”
Ahimsa. Having compassion, and being non-violent
Nada. Focusses on a deeper sense of listening
Dhyana. This means to be still and focus on oneself.
Several main centers have opened their doors over the years and boast with residence in countries such as Germany, Spain, Australia, and Norway.
Power yoga brings about a range of benefits attached to the regular practice thereof, including a decrease in high cholesterol levels, and assists in improved cardiovascular circulation.
It was invented in the 1990s, in the United States of America by Beryl Bender Birch. It’s a culmination of several different types of yoga, and highly intense, and energized.
Supposedly, it is one of the first forms of yoga, that traveled beyond the realm of the conventional, and more traditional yoga types, much to the dismay of other yogi creators. One even described this as an “ignorant form of bodybuilding”.
It is probably not a good idea for a beginner yogi or yogini to get frightened by joining this type of yoga first. This type in particular is an assault on the body and works the entire body during a session. Some yogis might find this completely overwhelming and too daunting.
This intense form of yoga is practiced by celebrities such as actress and dancer Jenna Dewan.
Benefits that can be experienced with the practice of power yoga can include:
- Increased flexibility
- Improved posture
- Enhanced endurance and stamina
- Rapid weight loss can be experienced, in conjunction with a well-developed eating plan
Sivananda yoga is known to be the form of yoga with the deepest spiritual connotation attached to it, from the 8 popular types of yoga.
Swami Vishnudevananda is the creator of this style, comprising of 12 asanas. He developed the first iteration of this yoga style in 1932 and in 1936, he founded the Divine Life Society. The aim thereof was to share his impactful relationship with yoga to the world.
Some advantages associated with the regular practice of Sivananda yoga include:
- A positive lifestyle change
- Improved concentration
- A more relaxed meditative state
It comprises of the 4 paths of yoga, namely Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, Raja yoga, and Bhakti yoga. Furthermore, the training approach behind Sivananda Yoga comprises of 5 points, namely:
- Proper breathing
- Proper exercise
- Proper relaxation
- Proper diet
- Positive thoughts and effective meditation
The 12 basic asanas relevant here are:
- Sirasana – headstand
- Savarangasana – shoulder stand
- Halasana – plough
- Matsyasana – fish
- Pascimottanasana – sitting forward bend
- Bhujangasana – cobra
- Salabhasana – locust
- Dhanurasana – bow
- Ardha Matsyendrasana – half spinal twist
- Kakasana – crow
- Padahastasana – standing forward bend
- Trikonasana – triangle
This form of yoga is often misperceived as power yoga. But the correct alternative name is flow yoga.
As the name suggests, this type of yoga’s primacy is to focus on a smoother transition between asanas, utilizing the power of proper breathing.
It’s a very versatile form of yoga, as not one class will be the same, therefore it’s a great option for yogis that bore easily from repetitive exercises.
Credit goes to originator Rishi Vamana for developing this type of yoga. It was born from the different tenets of yoga, referred to as mudra, pranayama, asana, meditation, and japa.
It operates on the basis of hatha yoga by using a breath through the nose for each individual pose or asana. It is said that the regular practice of vinyasa yoga will increase mental mindfulness dramatically.
Vinyasa yoga is similar to Hatha yoga, with the exception of the focus and the pace at which the asanas are practiced.
Some of the benefits associated with the frequent practice of vinyasa yoga are:
- Lower stress levels
- Decreased anxiety experienced
- Similar results to that of an individual partaking in a cardio-based workout
- Increased stability
- Improved balance
- Building muscle strength
Yin yoga is highly recommended for the yogini, due to its powers of relaxation specifically. In today’s stressful and unsure times, and the fact that every single person on this planet has been impacted by Covid19 in some way, we all need a form of stress reliever and check-in with ourselves.
This style of yoga is suitable for everyone, but females will be able to associate with the benefits on offer the most. One of the most highly rated benefits is the restorative properties of hormonal imbalance.
It is very slow-paced in nature. You can practice all 16 of the asanas, in a seated motion. The key is to spend as much time as possible and focus on the stillness of each pose, ever seeking a deeper connection with self.
Yin yoga also makes use of the fundamentals of Chinese medicine by adding this to the asanas that need to be performed.
Some of the yoga props that are used in the practice of Yin yoga include cushions, blocks, bolsters, straps, blankets, and sandbags of the traditional kind.
Other yogis and yoginis also enhance this on a deeper level by incorporating props, more esoteric in nature such as their pets, partners, chairs, handbags to name but a few.
Known benefits of regular practice include:
- A sense of calm being instilled
- Increase in blood circulation
- Improved flexibility
- Joint stability improvement in the effective prevention of injuries
With such a fast range of different types of yoga, there has to be a favorite amongst these 8 different forms. Why not try out of a few of these styles, all the celebrities that practice this can’t be wrong.
India is not only known for just their unique and delicious cuisine. The practice of yoga has been around for centuries. We can all do with a little enhancement of the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives. They are all so carefully intertwined. But now You know answer, for Your question what are the 8 types of yoga…
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Quote of the day:
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside”