Yoga Types And Styles
The origin of Yoga can be reliably traced back approximately 5,000 years ago to around 3,000 B.C. To date, the earliest reference to the practice of Yoga was discovered during an archeological excavation in the Indus valley; the most prominent and influential civilization during the early antique period.
The civilization developed throughout the areas located around the Indus and Sarasvati (no longer exists) rivers in northern India near the border of Pakistan. The original techniques practiced by the Indus were designed to promote spiritual growth. In other words, the yogis promoted a union between the finite Jiva (transitory self) and the infinite Brahman (eternal self).
Over the last 5,000 years Yoga has evolved into several different types and styles, each with their own set of purpose and intention. For this reason, it is important to understand the differences between the various types and styles before you choose a specific discipline to participate in.
For individuals who intend to integrate a type and style of Yoga into their daily live it is important to understand the differences between the varying disciplines and choose the type and style that best meets their personal health, fitness, and mental well-being goals.For example, an individual that is looking to primarily achieve inner peace would choose a different type and style of Yoga than would an individual who is focused solely on improving their level of fitness.
Many individuals simply pursue a trial and error approach to choosing a type and style of Yoga to practice while others join in the first Yoga class that they participate in. However, it is highly recommended that you first educate yourself on the various types and styles of Yoga before you commit to a specific discipline. Not only will this approach save you time and money, but, it will also help to ensure that you practice a style of Yoga that best suits your lifestyle and meets your specific health, fitness, and mental well-being goals as well.
Below is a brief summary of each of the primary types and styles of Yoga. For a more in-depth understanding of the various types and styles of Yoga please review the articles under this section of our website.
Traditional Yoga follows the original intentions and applications of Yoga as closely as possible. While all types of Yoga focus on breathing and body control, traditional Yoga is for individuals that wish to focus on and practice the basic principals of Yoga and employ these techniques in their daily life. While the aerobic benefits associated with practicing traditional Yoga are somewhat limited, students often find that their improvements in flexibility, balance, and mental stability and calmness greatly improve their overall outlook on life.
Individuals that are interested in learning to center, focus, and calm their mind while, at the same time, improving their control over the movements of their body may want to consider participating in a type of Yoga defined as relaxing Yoga. When participating in a relaxing Yoga class, the mind is used to focus on very minute changes in the body through small and controlled movements.
In addition, relaxing Yoga is often thought to be a form of movement that is meditation based. When performed correctly, the mind will be set free to focus on the individual movements, concentrating on the intent of each movement and forming a mind-body connection.
Fast Paced Yoga
For individuals that are looking to achieve a moderate aerobic workout, the fast paced style of Yoga may be your best option. While many of the poses are similar to other styles of Yoga, they are performed in quick succession and with the intent of increasing the heart rate.
By using the body to constantly support weight and perform a variety of movements, a reasonable amount of calories will be burned during the class. Fast paced Yoga can be practiced regularly by individuals who are looking to safely and effectively lose excess body weight.
Just as the name suggests, flexibility Yoga is intended for individuals that wish to participate in a type of Yoga that focuses on improving flexibility and agility. While virtually every type of Yoga, to a varying degree, achieves this goal, flexibility Yoga specifically focuses on improving an individuals flexibility, balance, and agility. Flexibility Yoga is typically performed in conjunction with another form of aerobic or strength training activity.
Improving one's soft tissue and joint flexibility provides several health benefits. For example, increased flexibility improves blood flow throughout the entire body, reduces the probability of injury due to a fall, and allows daily tasks and activities such as sitting, standing, and walking to be performed much more easily for the elderly or injured.
Injury Related Yoga
Injury related Yoga is specifically designed for individuals that are recovering from an injury. As multiple studies have shown that Yoga is a very effective recuperative device, many individuals that have suffered a physical injury incorporate this type of Yoga into their overall recuperation program.
Obviously, the movements performed under this Yoga type are targeted and gentle, making this type of Yoga an excellent choice for senior citizens and individuals who have suffered an injury.
Individuals that appreciate the finer details of each Yoga movement will enjoy the meticulous Yoga type. To a varying degree, all types and styles of Yoga have to be meticulous in their execution as one of the major benefits of Yoga is associated with improved focus and a drive towards perfection. Individuals that practice a meticulous style of Yoga expand upon this concept and take it to a whole new level by ensuring that perfect execution is achieved during each and every pose and movement.
Mental attitude, focus, and values play a large role in determining if the practice of meticulous yoga is right for an individual. Individuals that tend to be a perfectionist often find that meticulous Yoga is ideally suited for there mindset.
Self Motivated Yoga
Of all of the forms of physical activity that exist today, Yoga is an activity that requires a fairly high level of commitment (both physically and mentally). For some individuals, this level of commitment can be difficult. The self motivated type of Yoga is typically practiced alone and focuses on setting personal goals, achieving them, and remaining consistent. For individuals that have a high level of self motivation and do not require, or enjoy, group classes, self motivated Yoga may be ideal. In addition, individuals that have sporadic schedules may find that the self motivated Yoga type better suits their daily lifestyle.
Chanting Yoga is the only type of Yoga that completely emphasizes the spiritual and mind connectivity aspects of the art. By using what followers refer to as "vibrational medicine" participants combine meditation and the repetition of mantras with concentration on sound vibration. The repetition of the mantras is designed to improve concentration, and thus, free the mind.
In addition to abandoning the physical aspect of Yoga, chanting Yoga does not require any special physical attributes or equipment, only a capable voice and the ability to control the mind. More specifically, regularly performing a chanting Yoga routine requires that the individual have an open mind and is dedicated to improving and strengthening their control over their mind.
As is evident, there are several types and styles of Yoga to consider before beginning a Yoga routine. In general, all types and styles of Yoga are physically and mentally beneficial. However, it is best to take the time to evaluate the differences between the various types and determine which approach will best meet your personal health, fitness, and mental well-being goals.
In addition, individuals will want to consider whether they will be performing some other form of physical activity in conjunction with their Yoga class. In other words, if a Yoga class will be the only form of physical activity that the individual is going to regularly perform they may want to consider participating in a Yoga type that exercises the body a little more aggressively. Likewise, any physical limitations or injuries need to be taken into account prior to choosing a Yoga type to perform.
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise and focuses on both the body and mind. This being said, virtually everyone can improve their physical and mental state by performing a Yoga routine with regularity. For additional information on the various types and styles of Yoga that are available please review the articles listed under this section of our website.