The beauty of Yoga lies in its variety. Trying out various types of Yoga and gaining insights that each form brings helps us to experience Yoga to its astounding range and versatility.
Different styles of yoga
Before settling down to the kind of Yoga best suited to you, it helps to explore the variations they offer to enrich your yogic journey.
Traditionally rooted Hatha Yoga has taken off into various formats of Vinyasa Flow, Power Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga and yoga nidra. Apart from these new variations such as Hot Yoga, Gentle flow, Aerial Yoga, Acro Yoga and Aqua Yoga have captured attention and popularity world wide. There is Yoga for seniors, Yoga for Children, Yoga for Pregnant Women and Therapeutic Yoga for those suffering from health disorders.
Slow paced and breath-oriented, Hatha Yoga with its traditional grounding is suitable for those embarking on the path to master Yoga. It offers a classic pointer to understanding Yoga postures at every level. For a beginner Hatha Yoga is the ideal style to get started.
This style of Yoga has a pre-arranged sequence that is quite rigorous. Students consistently practice these sequences until they gain mastery and attain sculpted physiques. Synchronized with the Ujjayi breathing in coordination with the asanas , Ashtanga merges the sublime with a physically intense exercise regimen.It becomes more challenging progressively and at the same time brings about an exhilarating lightness to the body and mind.Introduced by Sri Pattabhi Jois whose heritage continues in Mysore, Ashtanga Yoga is extremely popular with those who take up Yoga assiduously and has become quite a rage in western countries.
An offshoot of Iyengar Yoga, Restorative Yoga involves moving into twists, forward and backward bends in a gentle way of Yoga supported by props. A session would have four or five postures held for a period of time to heal and rejuvenate.Addressing physical injuries or mental traumas, Restorative Yoga is suited for those on the lookout for an abhyasa or practice that does not necessitate too much movement and yet reap the benefits Yoga has to offer.
Hatha Yoga postures practiced as a sequence is Vinyasa Flow. Combining different asanas as well as modifications of asanas to bring about a dynamic movement makes Vinyasa Yoga more of a cardio workout when compared to the sedate Hatha. Those in search of a more intense physical exercise can opt for this style of practicing Yoga. Since the combinations can be endless every Vinyasa class will be themed differently. This provides a great platform to challenge oneself constantly. Vinyasa Flow connects breath to movement in a beautifully fluid motion.
A modern day adaptation of traditional Yoga, Power Yoga has emerged as a favored Yoga schedule of those in search of an exercise regimen that comes close to a cardio workout.This form of Yoga breaks down monotony by ushering a new sequence at every session. Combining different asanas to form a thematic flow, Power Yoga creates the perfect format to explore the amazing ways in which Yoga poses engage the body. A typical Power Yoga sequence will incorporate asanas to warm up, sun salutations to build up a cardio segment, forward and backward bends, twists, inversions and balancing postures gradually toning down to seated and supine postures ending with Shavasan or Corpse Pose.
Not everybody who decides to enter into the realm of Yoga manages to bend and twist as demanded by an asana. Iyengar Yoga comes to the aid of those people who lack flexibility due to various health reasons,Created by Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, alignments are perfected over a period of time by stretching into asanas using a number of props. Bricks, bolsters, ropes, chairs and blankets offer support while creating space for getting into a posture.Therapeutic in nature, Iyengar Yoga helps in healing from an injury and in restoring health. Gentle yet intense Yoga with props is an invigorating experience for those is search of remedies for a host of health problems.
Ultimately the practice of Yoga has to lead us inwards. Towards this end Yin Yoga works wonders with its slow paced and meditative holding of postures.While Yoga in its more active forms lends strength and flexibility adding value to our Yang side. Yin Yoga complements it with a calm and sedate approach to stretching out connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments and fascia. While active styles of Yoga adapt a dynamic flow after warming up, helping muscles to be activated, Yin Yoga is done without warming up the muscles thus allowing the connective tissues to make the effort of flexing the body. Incorporating Yin Yoga into our practice balances our energies while bestowing an inner awareness that forms the essence of Yoga.
Yoga is for everyone
Whoever may be looking out to begin a Yoga practice, there are myriad ways in which one can step into this wonderful world of holistic health. Ranging from gentle Yoga forms to suit elders, playful ones to attract kids, vigorously forceful like Acro Yoga and Aerial Yoga to challenge youthful bodies, Aqua Yoga with its therapeutic benefits for those who wish to experience lightness under water, Hot Yoga invigorating muscles in a heated studio, or Prenatal Yoga to help ease the birthing process – Yoga is for everyone irrespective of what expectations each one approaches it with.
Building inner awareness with yoga !
All said and done, we cannot dismiss the enormous asset of Yoga in ensuring our well being – namely the inner awakening it brings around to every practitioner no matter what style of Yoga is taken up.
Pranayama literally means to add dimensions to the Prana or Energy inherent in every one of us. It is Prana that is the indicator of life in a body and how this vital energy moves and synchronises with the Universal Energy is what decides the level of healthy well being.physical and mental. The way to access this vital energy is through our breath and Pranayama helps us channelise it into vitality endowing exercises.Pranayama is an essential part of Yoga practice. It encompasses a set of breath control processes based on three basic principles of Purak or inhaling, Kumbhak or retaining and Rechak or exhaling.Pranayama practices lays the foundation for turning our awareness inwards leading us towards Meditation.
Meditation is the state of mind reached after asana practice and pranayama. Dharana (anchoring the mind) and Dhyana (calming the mind) have been laid down as the final tenets of Ashtanga or eight limbs of Yoga before attaining Samadhi or peaceful detachment. With meditation we attain a stress free mind, calm and serene. Helping us realise our true nature, meditative techniques are part and parcel of a yogic experience.