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    Different types of Yoga

    There are a variety of different types of yoga, and new categories which are added practically daily.  Sure, you can add your own twist to yoga, such as yoga on a Stand-Up Paddle Board, or yoga in the dark and why not?  We like to take things that we know are real and reliable, and then add a uniqueness towards them to make it fit our lifestyle and needs.  Here are some of the main yoga styles that we see and hear about in our world today.


    1. Anusara

    Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, anusara yoga is a relative  newcomer to the yoga world. Based on the belief that we are all filled  with an intrinsic goodness, anusara seeks to use the physical practice  of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let  their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically  sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend's Universal  Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind.

    2. Ashtanga

    Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and  brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced "pah-tah-bee joyce")  in the 1970s. It's a rigorous style of yoga that follows a  specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each  style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that ashtanga  always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a  hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.

    3. Bikram

    Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of  yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram  class, you will sweat like you've never sweated before as you work your  way through a series of 26 poses (like ashtanga, a Bikram class always  follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from  an ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury  has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call  themselves Bikram but don't teach the poses exactly the way he says  they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest  types of classes to find.

    4. Hatha

    Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that  teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in  the West is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally  means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga  postures. You probably won't work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but  you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more  relaxed.

    5. Hot Yoga

    Basically the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference  between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from  Bikram's sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves  by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.

    6. Iyengar

    Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar  (pronounced "eye-yen-gar"). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga,  with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose.  In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar  studio will stock a wide array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps,  chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There isn't a lot of  jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won't get your heart rate up,  but you'll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally  challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a  comprehensive training – if you have an injury or chronic condition,  Iyengar is probably your best choice to insure you get the  knowledgeable instruction you need.

    7. Restorative

    Restorative yoga is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed  nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop  students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits  of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class  is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on  Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound  rest.

    8. Vinyasa

    Vinyasa (pronounced "vin-yah-sah") is the Sanskrit word for "flow",  and vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive  practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly  transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things  lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no  two vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test  your physical limits, vinyasa may be just your ticket. 


    A lot of times people will ask what type of yoga you practice.  Perhaps it's more than one.  Or, as mentioned before-maybe you have put a twist on your yoga practice, making it unique to you.  Share your story with the people that ask.  They are probably very interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas about yoga.  Namaste.


    Types of Yoga found from Gaiam Life, by Kate Hanley, March, 2014 .  Thank you Kate for your insight and wisdom.