The Main Types of Yoga and Their Benefits

There are a number of different forms of yoga, some ancient and some modern. Each offers physical benefits, but some have added components as well that might be of interest depending on what changes you wish to make in your life.

Hatha yoga is the oldest of all yogas, stretching back more than 5,000 years. There are many poses to learn, for beginners to advanced levels of students. The easier poses build strength and increase flexibility. They are also low impact and therefore suitable for anyone of any age provided they start slowly and sensibly and don’t try to do too much too soon.

Vinyasa is also known as flow yoga. It takes the poses of Hatha and arranges them in a sequence to burn more calories and keep the workout lively and interesting. The flow will also increase stamina and flexibility, and help burn more calories, making it a good choice for those who wish to lose weight. It will also improve your focus and concentration.

Kundalini was created more than 1200 years ago as a way of harnessing the energy in the body to use it for balance and healing purposes. The word yoga means union, a union of body, mind and spirit. The word Kundalini, (pronounced CUNH-dah LEE-knee), refers to the energy that is believed to be coiled at the base of everyone’s spin and can be used to heal and transform.

Bikram was invented about 40 years ago and is named after its founder. It uses 2 breathing patterns and 26 poses from Hatha yoga, done in the same sequence in every lesson. The other main distinction of this yoga is that it is done in a hot studio with a temperature of 80 to 110 degrees. The theory is this burns more calories, for faster weight loss. It is also a more vigorous workout, with up to 1,300 calories being burned each session. Having said that, hot yoga can cause dehydration and is not recommended for those with a heart condition, or seniors.

Ashtanga is another modern yoga developed around 60 years ago and can be translated as ‘8 limbs’. Limbs such as the legs support a person when they are standing. Eight limbs refers to 8 supports that are the foundations of a good yoga practice, including poses, breathing and meditation. It has several levels, but most are very advanced. If you are very fit and want a good workout, this might be the yoga for you.

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