There are many different types of yoga and as such its practice is flexible carrying well across cultural, country, and religious boundaries.
This diversity has allowed yoga to spread very swiftly through the western world over the last more than 100 years. It is now spreading faster than ever before, so far in fact that many companies now pay for yoga classes as part of an enhanced health benefits program.
Yet, this diversity can sometimes lead to confusion for newcomers or encourage people who have been exposed to one kind of yoga to think that they have seen it all.
No matter if you have experienced yoga, seen it on television, read about it in a magazine, or overheard a friend or colleague talk about it, it is likely that you have not been exposed to all the variety yoga has to offer.
Keep reading for a description of some of the most popular types of yoga today.
Styled from an ancient religious practice in India, Ashtanga Yoga was popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois, who was a former student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
Although taken from classical Indian yoga, modern Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a hot and energetic style that synchronizes breath with movements. The individual poses (asanas) are linked by flowing movements (vinyasas).
Ashtanga is very popular in the United States and in the 1990s led to the rise of several spinoff styles generally described as Power Yoga.
CorePower Yoga is an energetic, vinyasa style yoga practice that challenges the practitioner by focusing on core strength, balance and flow.
Developed by founder Trevor Tice in 2002, CorePower has grown into the largest privately held chain of yoga studios in the United States.
CorePower Yoga combines Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram Yoga. The practice is continuous and can be conducted in both heated and non-heated studios.
Core power yoga practice requires the execution of yoga poses. Poses are done at a fast pace and their practice can increase physical endurance and one’s ability to focus on any task for a long time without breaking concentration.
Power yoga has created a dynamic, challenging program that combines strength, sweat and spirituality.
It recognizes power in different levels; first is the physical power which develops the body’s strength and improves health; second is the mental power or the will to concentrate on the practice; and last the spiritual power which is the power behind the physical and mental power.
It is composed of different cardiovascular exercises intended to develop strength and flexibility, increase stamina, improve the ability to focus, release tensions and remove toxins through sweating.
It heals, detoxifies and stimulates the body and mind through balance and intention.
CorePower also offers great health benefits by lengthening and stretching the muscles while at the same time building stamina, strength and lean muscle mass.
The focus of core power yoga is on the coordination of the breath movement, connecting the body, mind and spirit to the warmest level.
CorePower yoga offers diverse classes like Hot Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, CorePower 1, CoreCardio Circuit, and Bootcamps.
Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury and became popular in the early 1970s.
It is a hot vinyasa system based on traditional hatha yoga techniques. Classes are conducted in a room that is 95-108 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bikram Yoga classes consist of 26 postures performed in an exact sequence as devised by Bikram Choudhury, including two breathing exercises.
The classes run for approximately 90 minutes with each breath exercise being performed twice within the 90 minutes.
The word Kundalini is a familiar one to all students of Yoga, as it is well known as the power, in the form of a coiled serpent, residing in the Muladhara Chakra, the first of the seven Chakras.
The other six being Svadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahata, Visuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara, in order.
Kundalini Yoga is often described as a blend of Bhakti Yoga (practice of devotion and chanting), Raja Yoga (practice of mediation/mental and physical control), and Shakti Yoga (the expression of power and energy).
Kundalini Yoga was popularized in the United States by Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, also known as Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini Yogis are often recognized by the all-white attire and white turbans that are worn to classes.
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan combines yogic postures and techniques, mantras and meditation and has attracted many celebrity practitioners including comedian and actor Russell Brand.
One of the oldest practices, Hatha yoga has been found in ancient texts dating back to the 11th century.
Historically, Hatha yoga has been practiced broadly across India no matter sex, caste, class, or creed. The popularity increases experienced by Hatha during the 20th century can be attributed to this open access and to a disconnect from religious aspects or spiritual paths of other styles.
Hatha combines individual poses (asanas) with gymnastic exercises to create a flowing, physical yoga. Techniques from Hatha yoga can be found in a vast number of other styles including, but not limited to Anusara Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga.
Hatha yoga in the United States is primarily known for its individual poses, while in Eastern traditions Hatha practice extends beyond the physical to include ethics, diet, breathing exercises, meditation, cleansing, and spiritual development.