Some Common Types of Yoga

What are some of the common types of yoga?

Yoga is an experiential science and there are number of types or schools of yoga, as there are various yogis who experimented, developed and passed down individual styles, approaches and techniques to their disciples.

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A note about Some Common Types of Yoga

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Briefly, the types of yoga taught all over the world are Raja yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha yoga, Kundalini Yoga, etc.

Raja Yoga - Type of Yoga 1.

Raja yoga is also known as classical yoga. It is one of 6 orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy which were outlined by the sage Patanjali in his yogasutras.

This form of yoga mainly focuses on cultivating one's mind using 'dhyana', or meditation, in order to improve one's acquaintance with reality and, in the process, attain liberation.

Sometimes, Raja yoga is called 'Astanga yoga' - 'astanga' means eight-limbed, which refers to the eight aspects of the path which one must seek, or the eight spiritual practices which Patanjali stated in his yogasultras. Note that this term is different from 'ashtanga'.

Ashtanga Yoga - Types of Yoga 2.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is claimed to have originated from an ancient manuscript called the 'Yoga Korunta', which was compiled by the sage Vamana Rishi. The current form of this yoga is commonly attributed to Sri K Pattabhi Jois.

Ashtanga or power yoga is said to involve moving from one yoga posture to another rapidly and aims at improving strength and flexibility.

Hatha Yoga - Types of Yoga 3.

Hatha yoga was introduced by Yogi Swatmarama, who was a sage in India during the 15th century.

The word 'Hatha' can be broken down into its parts 'Ha' and 'Tha', which mean sun and moon. These refer to Praana and Apaana, as well as to the principal energy channels, or nadis, of the subtle, which must be made fully operational in order to attain 'dhyana' or 'samadhi'. In the Monier Moneir-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary, 'hatha' means 'forceful'.

Swatmarama called Hatha yoga as 'a stairway to the heights of Raja Yoga'. It thus prefers the body, through physical purification, for practicing higher meditation. Hindu Yogis used the asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing) in Raja Yoga to train and prepare their bodies for long periods of meditation.

In Western countries, when people refer to 'yoga', they are mostly referring to 'hatha yoga'. In those countries, Hatha yoga is practiced for physical and mental health.

All in all, Hatha yoga gently takes you into the poses and movements and focuses on integrating breath and movement, and it is said to be excellent for beginners.

Kundalini Yoga - Types of Yoga 4.

Kundalini yoga is both a physical and meditative discipline. It uses techniques which utilize the mind, senses and body to create a mind-body connection. It also focuses on psycho-spiritual growth, and accords special consideration to the spine and endocrine system in the role they have to play in understanding yogic awakening.

'Kundalini' is a form of life force, or prana, which is dormant within the chakras of the body. Its literal meaning in Sanskrit is 'that which is coiled'.

Overall, Kundalini yoga is said to focus on rapid movement through the postures and involves chanting, movement and breath-focus and meditation.

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