Yoga Styles and Types

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There are many ways to create your own space of inner healing. There are several yoga and meditation practices that best suit natural spiritual and physical healing in profound ways. Some of the most popular forms of yoga are improving lives.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a style of yoga originating from India. The concept is a holistic path which include breathing, posture technique, and purification exercises. It is typically a stress-reducing expercise with benefits in flexibility in western culture as well. The core purpose behind this form of yoga is opposing energies, such as male and female or hot and cold. Hatha Yoga’s purpose is to focus on balancing the mind and prepare for meditation. Asanas are known as ‘body positions’ to improve health and remove disease. Regular practice of asanas, or specific body positions can improve mental and physical health. Controlled breathing is derived form this practice. It is also known as Pranayama or “prana” for life force and ayama, which means to control.

Kundalini Yoga

A holistic form of yoga that encompasses a great deal of energy in self awareness and meditation is Kundalini Yoga. The basic premise is an understanding of a source of energy within the body, or coil, that raises the complete body and nervous system to handle a rise of energy and releasing of energy. The major focal points of this form of yoga are:

  • spine
  • naval
  • select pressure points and meridians

Simple breathing techniques are taught to cleanse subtle channels and pathways to raise Kundalini energy up through the spine and outward. Many studies have shown that the physiological benefits are also helpful for asthma, diabetes, pain, and stress-related mental health.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is also known as classical yoga. It is concerned with the mind and cultivation of awareness. The idea is to achieve enlightenment and observation of reality in a much deeper way. A series of steps helps to raise consciousness and awareness.

There are currently eight “limbs” of Ashtanga Yoga:

  • Yama
    This is the foundation of behaviors and norms for a tranquil mind and eliminating fear.
  • Niyama
    Mental exercises are given to train the mind to control emotion.
  • Asana
    A posture, or asana, is held for a period of time to stay relaxed and calm as well as focus on the various planes of the physical body and organs.
  • Pranayama
    Controlled breathing is a goal of this “limb”. The mind and life force are taught to correlate to the breath. Energy channels are opened as well as endurance.
  • Pratyahara
    Awareness is brought deep in one’s self. The senses and external world are drawn inward and communication from the senses to the brain are kept in tune.
  • Dharana
    Concentration with closed eyes or a focus in an object is given for the seat of the mind.
  • Dhyana
    A control of the thoughts and state of mind is kept in control.
  • Smadhi
    This last limb is the attainment of the soul’s enlightenment and understanding to destroy afflictions

 

Iyengar Yoga

This type of yoga focuses on correct alignment of the body. Specific forms are achieved with an emphasis on holding a pose for a much longer time. The use of blocks and straps help maintain these poses when needed. Although this is a form of Hatha Yoga at its roots, it also focuses on the eight limbs of yoga as well. Timing and sequence are key to this practice and follow standard through advanced poses for the practitioner. It is a highly verbal and precise form of movement with healing effects on chronic back pain, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

These forms of Yoga have become both practical and powerful tools in modern physical and spiritual healing. The tools are quite simple: the human body and the mind.

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