Yoga isn’t just as simple as yoga, yoga is practise through many religions and throughout the world as a practise to encourage physical, mental and spiritual health. Due to this it comes in many shapes and forms. It may be confusing when you hear about Bikram or Ashtanga yoga, so here you’ll find a brief description of the different types yoga classes practise.
Ashtanga or Astanga: Not for beginners, this style of yoga is designed as an athletic yoga practise. This style of yoga focuses on syncing the breathing with the body in a continuous and progressive series of positions. This generates intense heat from within and causes the body to perspire a lot, the sweat will help to detoxify the body and improving the condition of muscles and organs. Benefits include, improved flexibility, stamina, circulation, calm mind and a light strong body.
Bikram: Founded by an Olympic weight lifting champion in 1963 Bikram yoga covers all aspects of fitness such as strength, endurance, flexibility and fat loss. Typically Bikram yoga takes place in a heated room, around about 95-105 degrees farenheight or 40 degrees celcius. As you can imagine, the body sweats profusely cleansing itself of toxins. At this temperature flexibility is increased and chances of injury are greatly reduced. This is the only type of yoga that is practised at high temperatures.
Hatha: Hatha yoga is one of the most practised forms of yoga today, many Americans practise hatha yoga. It’s also the foundation of all yoga styles. The key part of Hatha yoga is that it’s geared around enjoying it for yourself and not competing with others. The start of the class involves sitting quietly for a few minutes then starting the asanas (positions) with control and grace. It’s supposed to be enjoyed and taken easily.
Iyengar: Working on strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and co-ordinated breathing, Iyengar yoga holds positions for up to a minute then allows a few breathes rest period before moving on to the next asana. A lot of the poses require precise body alignment and will aid in developing a great posture. Equipment such as cushions, blankets, straps and blocks are used in order to accommodate for a diverse range of people. Even the elderly, sick and disabled can practise Iyengar yoga, it’s also very beneficial if you’re recovering from an injury. Iyengar is definitely the most practised form of yoga today.
Kripalu: The yoga of consciousness, the idea is to focus introspectively and not to worry about what is occurring with the other individuals in the class. Poses are held to explore and relieve spiritual and emotional blockages. Precise alignment is not as important as in other practises. Kripalu yoga is split into 3 different phases, phase 1 learn the poses, phase 2 holding the poses for an extended amount of time. Phase 3 is very meditative, focusing on meditating whilst moving, transition from one pose to another occurs unconsciously and spontaneously.
Power yoga: Yoga with muscles, it’s an American interpretation of Ashtanga yoga, lots of the poses look like callisthenics such as hand stands and side bends, the key focus of power yoga is the pace at which it is performed. Instead of resting between each position, it’s vital that the yogi flows immediately into the next position. In turn this makes power yoga an intense aerobic exercise.
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