Types of Yoga
Often practiced for an hour at a time, Laughter Yoga combines yogic breathing with physical laughter. Laughter yoga helps relieve stress.
Yoga practices can be adapted for those who have physical limitations (i.e. those in a wheelchair).
The most popular yoga practiced in the West, Hatha yoga uses specific poses and breathing techniques to balance the mind and body. The different Hatha practices help build strength and endurance, reduce stress and anxiety and massage and regulate your inner organs (i.e. your digestive system).
- Bikram: Bikram Chouhury created Bikram yoga in the 1970s. Made up of 26 poses always practiced in the same order, Bikram is great for beginners. The heat of the room might deter a new student to yoga, but once one adjusts to the heat, the practice is easy to follow because of the repeated poses class to class
- Vinyasa: Vinyasa is often fast-paced and includes a variation of poses. Unlike Bikram with the same poses in each class, the sequence during the Vinyasa class is determined by the instructor and can change day-to-day.
- Power Yoga: Power Yoga is a vigorous and fast-paced yoga practice. Often held in a heated room for up to 90 minutes, Power Yoga increases strength and endurance. This class is recommended to those who have practiced yoga before.
- Iyengar: Poses are held for longer periods of time during Iyengar and the emphasis is on the correct alignment of the body during each posture.
- Jivamukti: A strenuous practice, Jivamukti uses ancient yogic texts and the chanting of Sanskrit mantras to release the mind and body while physically strengthening one's body.
Bhakti is the Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) term for total love of God. Bhakti yoga is often associated with Hinduism. The practice focuses on acts of worship and devotion, with the end goal to center one's mind and heart on his or her faith.
Also known as the Yoga of Action, Karma Yoga focuses on actions and how consequences of past actions form the present and future. Karma yoga emphasizes selfless action and service.
Jnana yoga is the yoga of knowledge and, in eastern religions, is one of the three paths toward enlightenment (the reaching of complete clarity and peace of mind.) Those who practice Jnana yoga look inwards to become more aware of themselves internally.
Also known as Ashtanga yoga, Raja yoga uses meditation to focus and still the mind. Because of the connection between mind and body, Hatha yoga is employed to control the body in order to reach complete self-awareness.
Mantra yoga focuses on the chanting of mantras to relax and concentrate the mind. The sound vibrations of the chanting relax the nervous system, calming the body and reducing stress. Among eastern religions, Mantra yoga is used to reach inner awareness.