Before we explore the different types of yoga out there, I think we need to start at the beginning. What exactly is yoga?
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which includes breathing control, simple meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures; it is widely practiced for health and relaxation. The yoga widely known in the West is based on hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance and meditation, the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine. www.oxforddictionaries.com
Hatha Yoga - has been around since the 15th century in India, and became popular here in the west in the mid 20th century. Hatha is a holistic yoga path, it attempts to balance the mind and body via physical postures (asanas), purification practices, controlled breathing, and calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. It is great for beginners or to wind down in the evening.
Bikram Yoga - More commonly known as Hot Yoga, is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise performed during a 90 minute class. Bikram is practiced in 105 degree heat and 40% humidity to allow loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating (thought to be cleansing). It was founded in 1970’s in LA and the postures are based on the postures or poses in traditional Hatha yoga.
Vinyasa Yoga - Is commonly called Vinyasa flow because you move or flow from one pose to the next. These classes typically start with a sun salutation then move to more postures or poses.
Kundalini Yoga - Kundalini refers to the energy of the root chakra, which surrounds the area around the lower spine. Kundalini yoga uses breath in conjunction with physical movements to free the energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards.
Ashtanga Yoga - Also known as Power Yoga, is a physically demanding practice of yoga that requires constant movement. If you are wanting to sculpt and define your muscles while getting cardio, give Ashtanga Yoga a try.
Lyengar Yoga - Lyengar is a methodical yoga practice using lots of props like blocks, straps and cushions. It focuses on body alignment and can be great for those in need of physical therapy because of this.
Anusara Yoga - Anusara may be the most spiritual type of yoga as it focuses on looking inwards, and seeing the light within yourself and others. Because it is a “celebration of the heart”, the classes have an upbeat, uplifting community type vibe that can be welcoming.
Restorative Yoga - Is focused on relaxing your mind and body. It involves a handful of poses that are help for extended periods of time, poses to open your chest for breath work, and more lying down than is typical yoga practice. Restorative yoga will leave you feeling nourished and well rested.
Jivamukti Yoga - Jivamukti means liberation while living, and is a mix of Vinyasa flow sequencing infused with chanting and a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
Prenatal Yoga - This type of yoga practice is great not only while you are pregnant, but after your baby is born while you recover and regain your body. It helps to keep the core strong, helps with posture, and helps aid with pregnancy aches and pains. Prenatal yoga also focuses on breathing and can help you to develop good breathing habits before going into labour.
Now that you know what type of yoga you want to try, where do you go? You can search through Yoga Finder, where you will be able to see what type of yoga each studio listed offers.
Here are 3 of the many yoga studios available in the Peterborough Area (they all link to websites)...
-Marina MacLean Yoga (this is who I practiced with)
-Humanistic Healing Centre
I hope that this information on the different types of yoga inspires you to give one a try. So grab a mat and allow yourself the time to balance you mind, body and spirit through regular yoga practice . . . you will love it, I am certain!
Definition of Namaste - a respectful greeting or salutation said when giving a namaskar (palms together in front of your chest like in the picture at top of blog). Origin: Hindi from Sanskrit namas ‘bowing’ + te ‘to you’