different types of yoga and their benefits

Different Types of Yoga and their Benefits

– Increased Strength and Mental Health

The benefits of yoga do not stop there. Read on to learn something of the history and how this wonderful activity can help you, whether you’re a quarterback, ballerina, pregnant, not pregnant or recovering from chronic pain. Do not make the common mistake of thinking yoga is just a lot of bending, stretching and breathing in a peculiar way. It can be this but there are many different types of yoga and some styles can be unbelievably demanding – read about Hot Yoga below (under the Bikram heading) and you’ll see what I mean.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a top athlete or someone that struggles to haul yourself off the couch, there is a yoga style that will knock you out of your comfort zone while bringing you to mindful tranquility.  

We’ll cover the types and styles you can study in a minute or two, but first let’s gain an insight into the history and origins.  

Like many of the martial arts, Yoga’s origins are steeped in mystery. Traditions were passed down from teacher to student by word of mouth with the inevitable loss of detail that happens when humans tell stories. Some say the traditions stretch back as much as 10,000 years with most agreeing that it is ‘at least 5,000 years old.’ Once you’re counting in millennia suffice to say you’re dealing with the wisdom of the ancients.  

According to what we know from writings that contain references, such as the Rig Veda, Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, Northern India is where it all originated. Practiced and refined by the priests and mystics of the Indus-Saraswati civilisation. These scriptures say the idea of human sacrifice was replaced with the symbolic sacrifice of the ego through knowing yourself, doing good actions and gaining wisdom. In other words, through Yoga.  

Deep right? I bet reading that made you take a long cleansing breath didn’t it? Well if deep spirituality and mindfulness is your thing then there are styles of yoga for you. Read more below.  

If that all body and soul stuff sounds a bit too sedentary for you then read up on Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga. Some details are coming up. Bear in mind when it comes to yoga it is not one or 

the other, you can and perhaps should do both the physically demanding classes and the classes that promote well being and spiritual calm. Let me explain why:  

Athletes train hard and put their bodies through significant stress, they also understand it is not always about how much effort you put out during a session, you have to be smart about how you train. Burn out and injury are real career threats and mental fatigue is included in this too. 

Yoga, just as a mechanical process, is one of the best ways to look after your muscles, tendons and connective tissue. It keeps them supple, strong and responsive. Combine this with mental relaxation and you can look forward to improved sleep, less anxiety and a more alert presence of mind. 

If you have any medical problems, so long as your doctor clears it, you can still do yoga and benefit from it. Being positive in your attitude helps with any treatment. The fact that it promotes a good night of sleep is reason enough for anyone to do yoga but with all the other health benefits included, it is an easy decision to make.  


different types of yoga and their benefits

Different Types of Yoga

Take a look at this list and consider what type of class best suits you and your needs

Hatha Yoga: Hatha isn’t one particular style. Originally this referred to all yoga postures. In western use of the word it is a collective term for those styles that focus on physical activity. It is mostly used today to describe beginner classes that seek to improve flexibility and knowledge.    Bikram Yoga ‘Hot Yoga’ is far and away the most searched yoga-related term on Google for the USA. Its popularity is repeated all over the world and hot yoga classes are being offered in more locations than ever before. Bikram is the most popular form of hot yoga. The room is set to sauna-like temperatures and 26 postures are reached in sequence twice through. A great class for weight loss.   Restorative Yoga Focuses on the mind and relaxing the body, this is a gentle and slow style designed to promote recovery and spiritual cleansing. Relax, relax, rela…zzzzzzzz.    Iyengar Yoga This style focuses on precision in movement and posture. Stances are held for prolonged periods of time which is much harder than it sounds. Perfecting form is the focus and a disciplined mind is essential. This class should be suitable to do with an injury as movement is slow and steady but check in with the yoga teacher first so they cut you some slack if your form is slightly off.    Kundalini Yoga This one is for the person moving from spiritual to physical or vice versa. Kundalini covers both sides with fast-moving exercises. Breath control is an advantage in this style of Yoga. Mind and body experience invigorating intensity that can involve chanting and mantra.    Yin Yoga A seated variation suitable for beginners or those with limited mobility. Yin is relaxed and often used for meditation rather than physical exertion.    Ashtanga Yoga Part of the Hatha family. However Ashtanga is no beginner’s class. It is very demanding moving through sequences of postures. It requires strength, discipline and presence of mind.    Vinyasa Yoga Adapted from Ashtanga, Vinyasa is considered the most athletic of all the styles. Breath control links to movement resulting in vinyasa flow. Moving from posture to posture is fluid, controlled and beautiful. Vinyasa classes are not confined to Ashtanga,  Power Yoga has had the Vinyasa treatment as have many others. A lot of what you get from your yoga school depends on who your teachers are and what experience they have.    Prenatal Yoga As the name suggests this is designed for expectant mothers. The pelvic floor receives a lot of attention and the breathing exercises are good practice for labour. Many women say they have a feeling of bonding with the baby growing within. Throw in the social aspect of being around like-minded people in a similar situation and the benefits of yoga for pregnant women become obvious.    Anusara Yoga Read the Vinyasa section above but think about a focus on the connection between body-mind-heart. These classes are known for frequent demonstrations breaking up the lesson so one for the learner and improver but not recommended for someone just wanting to get into their flow.   There are many more styles to the ones listed here.  Get This Extraordinary Yoga E-Book for FREE and Start Feeling Great Today Just Join our Newsletter!

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