What is yoga?
Yoga is a spiritual discipline that focuses on a union between the mind and the body. The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ that means to unite or evoke. Yoga dates back to the pre-Vedic times to around 3000 BCE and finds a mention in the Upanishads and Rigveda. This ancient art of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that invoke all of our five senses got the world’s attention a few decades ago and yoga types are practiced the world over at yoga centers and through self-practice.
Different yoga types have a common underlying belief that our life forces in the body through a series of chakras. Yoga helps in invigorating and revitalising these chakras through the physical movements of different types of yoga asanas.
In the exercise form, yoga consists of different types of asanas that are sequenced and connected in progressions. These different types of asanas are sometimes done along with breathing exercises and meditation. The ultimate aims of different types of yoga techniques are liberation and attainment of salvation and inner peace.
Who should do yoga?
Yoga is a very gentle practice that can and should be done by anyone who wants to stay healthy. Yoga types can be customized for:
- Seniors above 60 years.
- Children as young as 5 years can practice different yoga types.
- People who have undergone major surgeries and are recuperating can do different yoga types to heal better.
- Those who have suffered injuries and want to heal faster.
- Pregnant women can practice different yoga asanas to ease their pregnancy and have a comfortable delivery.
- People who are unable to manage stress and anxiety.
- Those who suffer from issues of the lungs, liver, kidney, etc.
Who should avoid yoga?
There are certain conditions and categories of people who should not practice yoga like:
- Those who are under extreme stress should avoid yoga as it may lead to overheating of the body.
- People who are suffering from fever, cold, or flu.
- Those who have suffered from a recent injury that’s yet to heal.
- People who have undergone surgery and are yet to recuperate.
- Menstruating women.
- Those who have recently suffered an asthma attack.
What are the different types of yoga and the benefits of each type?
Across different yoga types, while there were only around 84 asanas initially i.e. before the 1900s, there are almost 1830 of them now.
We are sharing the different yoga types and the advantages that each offers for you to discover which method works the best with your mindset and objectives. It is strongly advised to get trained by an experienced trainer by learning the types of yoga asanas with pictures for a better understanding:
Hatha yoga is a comprehensive term that includes all the other different types of yoga. This yoga type delves on awakening the chakras and life energies and focuses on improving and promoting spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. Some of the asanas in Hatha yoga include Surya Namaskar steps, Tadasana, Uttanasana, Setu Bandhasana, etc. This yoga type is extremely beneficial for:
- Those who want to learn breathing techniques and meditation.
- Those who want to improve their posture.
This yoga type, created by the yoga guru BKS Iyengar, focuses on improving the alignment of the body. Each type of asana is quite intense that requires you to hold them and control your breathwork as you do so. Some yoga asanas under this type include Tadasana Samasthiti, Dandasana, Virasana, etc. This yoga type is beneficial for:
- Those who have suffered injuries or have chronic pains.
- Since it requires holding the poses it is a great weight loss yoga type.
- Since the different types of yoga asanas are focused on holding and strengthening each body part, they help in resolving joint problems.
Developed by the yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, this yoga is usually practiced in a space that’s heated to a temperature of 40-degrees and around 40 per cent humidity. This yoga type is a set 90-minute sequence of 26 yoga asanas that are done two times. These yoga asanas are accompanied by two breathing exercises. This yoga type makes you sweat excessively and helps in releasing toxins from your body and making systematic changes in your muscles. Some types of Asanas of Bikram yoga include Ardh Chandrasana, Utkatasana, Garudasana, etc. and is ideal for:
- Those who want to strengthen their muscles and improve their flexibility.
- People who want to lose weight.
- People who want to reduce stress and improve their memory and concentration.
This yoga type was created by K Pattabhi Jois and concentrates on ‘eight limbs’ or practices that it everyone should master. It has very defined movements that are synchronised with breathwork. These asanas produce intense heat and induce sweating that helps in detoxifying the body. Its asanas include Pada Hastasana, Samasthiti, Parivritta Trikonasana, etc. These are ideal for:
- Those who want to improve their flexibility and strength.
- Since breathwork is a critical component of this yoga type, it is effective for people who want to improve their blood circulation and immunity.
This yoga type focuses more on spirituality and meditative practices. It doesn’t involve straining physical poses but is more focused on seeking peace and calming the mind. It involves techniques like chanting, mudras, breathwork, etc. The types of yoga asanas in this include Breath of Fire, Spinal flexes, Archer Pose, etc. aimed at strengthening the nervous system. Kundalini Yoga is ideal for:
- People who want to improve their brainpower, memory, and concentration.
- People who want to boost their creativity.
This is the yoga type that involves asanas and meditation that involve breathwork and establishing a mind and body connection. It includes poses like ankle-to-knee pose, Seated side bend, Standing forward bend, etc. This is very beneficial for:
- Pregnant women who suffer want to calm their minds.
- Women who are expecting and suffer from hypertension, obesity, etc.
This is a gentle slow-paced yoga type that requires you to hold each pose for at least 5 minutes and is focused on improving life energy and building strength. This is important for people who:
- Want to challenge themselves.
- Want to improve their brainpower and reduce stress.
This is a celebratory yoga type that focuses on upliftment and flowing with grace. This is more a Tantric yoga type and includes asanas that focus on alignment, awareness, and flow of energy. It includes poses like Half moon pose, Twist pose, Eagle pose, etc. and is ideal for:
- People who want to inculcate mental wellness and regulate their emotions.
- Those who want to increase their brainpower.
This involves more spirituality and meditation and includes gentle asanas, setting intentions, relaxing and meditation techniques, etc. through poses like Monkey Pose, Dancing Shiva Pose, Peacock Pose, etc. It is ideal for:
- Those who want to improve their immunity.
- People who want to build strength.
- People who want to cure their liver and kidney issues.
This is that yoga type that involves synchronised poses that flow seamlessly and are connected through breathwork. It includes several types of pranayama and benefits people who:
- Want to prevent cardiovascular problems.
- Those who want to build strength and flexibility.
- People who want to improve their cognitive functioning.