What Are Some Types Of Yoga?

What are some types of yoga? Yoga started as a religion in India and today includes types such as Bhakti, Karma, Gnana, Raja, Tantra, Iyengar, Bikram, and Hathayoga. I'm going to simplify this. Yoga started...

I'm going to simplify this. Yoga started as a religious tradition in India. For example, Bhakti is a yoga of love and devotion to a god. Now yoga can be practiced by anybody of any religion. Karma yoga is a yoga of action. The belief is that your actions determine whether you be coming back to this life again. It's not just practicing yoga postures. It could be working in a hospital. Yoga is a union and is about deepening your awareness. Gnana yoga is the yoga of wisdom and studies. Raja means "king," so Raja yoga is the yoga of the mind. Tantra Yoga is the yoga of rituals. The type that is most practiced here in the U.S. is Hathayoga meaning sun - moon. It's the yoga of uniting opposing forces and the yoga of determination. Basically what you see here in America are the postures. It's the yoga of reaching the mind and soul through the body. That is what Hathayoga is.


In the U.S., there is yoga in this corner, yoga in that corner, and yoga in the next corner. A friend may say she takes Iyengar, and another friend may say she takes hot yoga. Different teachers have developed their own styles in the realm of Hathayoga. Iyengar is a very balanced form of yoga. You can be doing very slow or still postures or you can be doing very vigorous and intense postures. It's individualized for the student's needs. I may have a student who comes in with a heart condition and another who is pregnant. Now I have to teach three classes in one. That's mostly what you'll find only in a Iyengar school, because that's the way we were trained.




In America you have all different types of yoga. I am not an expert on any of those, but basically you have the Bikram yoga which hot yoga. Some people near a heater gain more flexibility, so the room is heated. There is Shivananda Yoga, which comes out of the tradition of Swami Vishnu Devananda and is one of the older forms of yoga here in America. There is Ashtanga Yoga which has eight limbs of the philosophy of the sage of Patanjali. Power yoga came out of the Pattabhi Jois's Ashtanga yoga for people who wanted to do more of a workout. There are the yamas and niyamas, which are philosophies about how to live in the world, study and devotion to a god, and non-violence. Then you get in to the yoga of posture and breathing like the asana and the pranayama.

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