Yoga is not only a workout routine for the body, but the mind and soul as well. In fact, the ancient Hindu scriptures that mention yoga, call for the connection among different aspects of the human existence. These are the physical body, the heart, the intellect, personality and vitality. Therefore, different types of Yoga were practiced to address different needs. In the modern times, the different types of yoga have been made more palatable for the masses, but they are still distinguishable.
This one is one of the oldest and the most well-known branches of yoga. According to many Hindu texts, Hatha Yoga was propagated by Lord Shiva himself. Asana, pranayama and mudra form the cornerstones of this yoga. It believes that the entire human body is made up of a network of channels, each of which is called ‘nadi’. Keeping the ‘nadis’ as the prime focus, hatha yoga aims at purifying and balancing them. It is all about postures that help in channeling energy to the various parts of the body. Hatha Yoga is a complete body exercise and helps in toning the spine, de-stressing, eliminating toxins, and also helps in correcting malfunctioning glands.
‘Ashta’ means eight and ‘anga’ means limbs. In theory, the yoga of the eight limbs is known as Ashtanga yoga. The basic idea of this yoga is to know the spiritual self by practicing the eight limbs. The practices include posture, breath control, sense control, meditation, concentration, moral codes, self-purification and absorption into the universal. It aids in releasing tension by massaging internal organs. Ashtanga Yoga is also known to promote mental clarity, improving blood circulation and thus, calm the mind.
Kundalini is the name of the primal form of energy that is believed to be present at the base of the spine. This kind of yoga is focused on releasing this energy. It is actually like a power in latent form in the human body. The practitioners of this form of yoga believe that the various asanas, pranayama, and chanting of mantras, can awaken this energy and take the human being to another level of self-awareness. The concept of chakras also comes from the belief in the kundalini energy. By practicing this form of yoga, a person can experience improvement in lung capacity, and stronger nervous system. It is also known to purify the blood, which in turn can eliminate many diseases.
Founded by BKS Iyengar, this can be seen as an offshoot of Hatha Yoga. However, Iyengar Yoga puts a lot of stress on the accuracy with which the asanas are performed. A variety of tools and supporting equipment have been designed by the founder to get the postures right. With the practice of Iyengar Yoga, it is believed that the practitioner puts less strain on the body parts, while achieving the best results. This yoga helps in improving immunity, depression, high blood pressure, pain in the back and neck, builds stamina and concentration, among other things.
This is a derivative of the Ashtanga yoga and has its roots in the West. As the name suggests, this yoga is more of a workout designed to be more aggressive in the asanas that form a part of it. Power Yoga is popular among gym goers and athletes. This yoga focuses on burning calories, improves metabolism and definitely helps in increasing stamina and flexibility.