Types of Yoga
Hatha, Kundalini, Bikram, and Ashtanga yoga are the four most popular types practiced in fitness centers and local yoga studios throughout the U.S.
The lotus flower symbolizes the union of
the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water.
Hatha yoga is the most widely practiced type in the U.S. and is excellent for beginners. It is a gentle practice where you move slowly and smoothly through dozens of poses (called asanas). The focus is on holding the poses and integrating your breathing into the movement. Hatha is a great way to stretch, work your muscles, get in touch with your body, relax, and decrease stress. Iyengar yoga, a form of Hatha, uses similar poses but focuses more on body alignment and balance, holding poses longer, and using props such as straps, blankets, and blocks. Like Hatha it’s also a good choice for beginners.
Kundalini yoga emphasizes rapid movement through the poses and emphasizes breathing, chanting, and meditation. It has a more spiritual feel than Hatha and focuses on energy balance in your body. Beginners unfamiliar with Hatha poses, chanting, and meditation, might find Kundalini more physically and mentally challenging then they are comfortable with and might want to start with Hatha.
Bikram yoga is practiced in a room (sometimes unventilated) heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is that muscles will loosen and sweating will cleanse the body and remove symptoms of disease and chronic pain. Please note: Because of the risk of dehydration and changes in blood pressure, it is recommended that people with an existing heart problem or high blood pressure should speak with their physician before doing this type of yoga.
Ashtanga, or power yoga, is designed to build strength and endurance. It is an aggressive workout where you move quickly from one pose to another. There is little emphasis on meditation with Ashtanga, and at the end of the session you will feel more like you have completed a traditional weight training or calisthenic workout than you would with any other type of yoga. Ashtanga is for you if you’re looking for a tough, physically challenging workout.medicinenet.com
Want more details? Read Yoga Journal’s Yoga Basics article.
Local Yoga Studios
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