Do You Have a Hatha Heart or a Bikram Body?

Does your heart heal through Hatha? Does your body breathe for Bikram? Are you a Vinyasa veteran or Ashtanga angel? If you are confused by the different types of yoga and their benefits, then read on…

Yoga is an ancient and wide-ranging science, which helps in curing almost every ailment that exists. It also has multiple benefits, and no matter how many divisions it may have, each one is strong enough to instill discipline and improve your physical and mental condition. Though gentle, this form of exercise can bring you tremendous benefits.

Here are some of the types of yoga that you can choose from:

Ananda Yoga

yoga_three_panelThis type of yoga uses gentle postures to shift the energy centre to the brain and get the body ready for meditation. It also helps in aligning the body and controlling breathing. It helps control energy, focuses on gaining internal knowledge, and also stimulates your body to release energy all over your body to your different chakras.

Hatha Yoga

This is the mother of all yoga disciplines. Its broad canvas includes Asanas or postures, Pranayama or controlled breathing, Dharana or meditation and Dhyana and Kundalini or Laya Yoga, which collectively help one achieve a state of self-realisation. This form of yoga is used to reduce stress, improve breathing and for general exercise.

Ashtanga Yoga

This yoga style synchronises breathing with Asanas, which leads to great internal warmth, perspiration and detoxification of the organs and muscles. This leads to better blood circulation, a calm mind, flexibility and stamina. It helps with better co-ordination, eases stress, and leads to weight management.

Bikram Yoga

Done in a hot room, Bikram consists of a set of 26 poses and two breathing exercises. Bikram yoga postures are usually that same routine each class. The postures provide the benefits of increased muscle strength and endurance, weight loss, and heart health. The 40˚ temperature provides enhanced flexibility and detoxification and also prevents injuries. Bikram expedites recovery from an injury, flushes the toxins out the body, and improves the flexibility of muscles.

Vinyasa

This form of yoga is derived from Hatha Yoga and is often called flow yoga because there is a smooth flow from one posture to the next. It is fast-paced and helps create a synergy of breath and exercise. By swiftly moving from one posture to another, this is a good cardiovascular exercise. This exercise increases muscle strength, flexibility and endurance, while also easing stress.

Iyengar Yoga

This form of yoga is good for enhancing endurance, strength, flexibility and balance using coordinated breathing and matching postures that help with body alignment. You are asked to hold each pose for just a little longer than other forms of yoga. You can also use props like blankets, blocks, straps and cushions for difficult exercises. Being a slow-paced form of exercise and the fact that it uses props, Iyengar yoga is good for anyone recovering from an injury. It also helps build body strength and improves balance.

Power Yoga

Power yoga exercises are similar to calisthenics, with handstands, side bends and toe-touches. However, it is distinctive from other yoga styles by intense perspiration and the great muscle build-up. It is a continuous and intense workout. It enhances strength, stamina and flexibility, reduces injury risk, eliminates body toxins through perspiration, improves immune system and reduces back pain.

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