A beautiful path to unity through self-knowledge
Yoga emerged in antiquity more than 2,500 years ago. This is confirmed by the “Vedas”, ancient records of Indian sages. Since then, it has branched out into many streams. The yogis of antiquity, based on their experience, interpreted the teachings in their own way. Each branch has a different approach, but the goal remains the same: to achieve harmony with oneself and with everything around one.
What is yoga?
The word “Yoga” in Sanskrit is translated as “unity”. Although Raja Yoga’s founder, Patanjali, teaches that the main component is action and condition. Performing the prescribed actions leads to certain conditions. When a person takes control of his mind through discipline, he begins to experience the merging of himself with the Higher consciousness, which is transcendental, that is, beyond the limits of the small ego. This is the state of yoga. Such experiences are real enlightenment. In yoga, specific practices are described that help to achieve this state of mind. Along with this, consciousness is developed, because only being “here and now” does what Patanjali says: when thoughts are restricted, consciousness returns to its natural state.
10 Benefits of Yoga
We can give you a thousand and one reasons to make room in your life for this transformative practice. However, we will list them in a few simple points since the magnitude of deepening yogic practice is impossible to summarize in a few lines.
- Flexibility: It makes us flexible on a mental and muscular level. Sustained and committed work helps the body to incorporate new information, relaxing muscles and fascia, developing a capacity for flexibility that will surprise us the deeper we go into the practice. In parallel, our mind will become more serene and plastic to the change.
- Weight: Helps to reduce body weight. The types of dynamic yoga improve the metabolism and accelerate the process of weight loss, and in the elimination of toxins accumulated in our body for years.
- Spine: Improves the health of our spine notably. Practically all yogic disciplines work actively on the spine as it is where the kundalini energy is based. Regular practice contributes to improving the health of our back, reducing pain and discomfort and strengthening the supporting muscles of the back.
- Bone system: By actively working with the balance and displacement of weight in different asanas, it allows the bone structure to be strengthened notably, and in the initial stages stops the development of diseases such as osteoporosis or arthrosis.
- It reduces the risks of developing certain diseases. Some of its effects are that it normalizes blood pressure, notably improves the work of the cardiovascular system, helps with the health of the gastrointestinal tract, is an activator of the lymphatic and immune systems, regulates blood circulation and prevents the development of diabetes mellitus.
- Hormonal: Strengthens the immune system, and helps balance the endocrine system, and controls the production of stress hormones. The hormone cortisol during physical and mental stress is produced by the efforts of the adrenal glands. Yoga exercises help calm the central nervous system while activating the production of hormones that generate physical and emotional well-being such as endorphins or serotonin
- Improves pain: Whether it is chronic pain or occasional pain, the practice of yoga combined with meditation becomes a great painkiller. Learning gives us practical tools to relate to physical pain, and how to approach it from a meditative practice.
- Well-being: The practice contributes positively to your self-image, besides bombarding your body with a super positive hormonal cocktail, helping you feel safer and stronger. It makes it easier to deal with bad habits and modify them for a healthier lifestyle, as well as actively contributing to discovering your true purpose.
- Improves your mood and health: Regular practice makes you more cheerful and energetic. One of the central philosophies of yoga is to help you stay in the present moment, enjoying the perfection of this moment as it is, no matter how adverse the situation looks. Meditation and the sustained practice of detachment, allows you to observe difficult situations from another prism, keeping your center and inner peace unaltered. Ayurveda, which is part of the physical and nutritional aspect of classical yoga, also provides advice on how to maintain a proper nutrition and lifestyle, and to keep your energy levels high without resorting to stimuli – doping (coffee, cigarettes, energy drinks).
- Socializing: Yoga is certainly a great “softener” for the heart. It helps you to be more open and contact with like-minded people. The philosophy centered on service, compassion, and generosity coupled with service, allows you to develop extraordinary qualities that will impact very positively on your relationship with other people, building healthy and true bonds.
How many types of yoga are there?
There are many variants and methods of yoga. However here we will address those most widespread.
Basic classic types.
- Karma yoga
- Bhakti yoga
- Jnana Yoga
- Raja Yoga
- Hatha yoga
- Ashtanga Yoga
What other styles of yoga styles exist?
- Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga
- Sivananda Yoga
- Kriya Yoga
- Yoga Nidra
- Kundalini Yoga
- Tantra Yoga
- Yantra Yoga
- Bikram Yoga
- Power yoga
- Acro yoga
- Solar yoga
- Integral Yoga
- Yin Yoga
- Aero yoga
What are the different types of yoga for?
- Karma yoga: Karma yoga is the exercise of duty to the fullest extent of one’s abilities and skills, i.e. the fulfillment of Dharma and duty to God by practicing akarma (non-attachment) to the results of one’s actions
- Bhakti yoga: is the practice of developing love and devotion to God and the fulfillment of His will.
- Jnana Yoga: is the overcoming of the power of ignorance, the discipline of the mind. It includes various forms of meditation and three criteria of truthfulness for the higher consciousness: Shabda (point of view of an experienced master or guru). Sastra (spiritual literature). and Sadhu (practice).
- Raja Yoga: is based on the Yoga Sutras of the great yogi Patanjali. Raja Yoga is translated as “Yoga of Kings”. It allows you to achieve control over your thoughts, as well as over your animal and divine nature.
- Hatha yoga Hatha yoga is a species whose emphasis is on ethical and moral aspects (Yama and Niyama), asanas, pranayama and Shatkarma cleansing techniques.
- Ashtanga yoga: The name “ashtanga” in Sanskrit means “eight steps”. The “beginning section” is considered the first 4 steps that develop control over your body and feelings, make life more harmonious and contribute to the understanding of everyday events. The initial steps help to improve personal qualities and learn to control your body. Achieving high results at this stage allows a person to reach a higher level of awareness.
- Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: founded by Sri Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga-vinyasa is a variation of Hatha Yoga, it has 7 levels depending on the complexity. Here, the main aspect of the practice is the sequence of performing asanas, that is, the transition from one to another through: Vinyasana (sequence of movements with the breath); Bandhi (energy blocks) and Drishti (focusing on different points of the body). The number of vinyasas varies from five to eight.
- Iyengar Yoga: created by Bellura Krishnamacharya Sundararaja Iyengar. A distinctive feature is the detail in the construction of asanas with additional devices: bricks, belts, kneeling blankets. To avoid injuries, each exercise is performed with a long time interval and without sudden movements.
- Sivananda Yoga: founded by Swami Sivananda, it is considered classic Indian yoga and includes 5 principles: The correct exercises. Technique of work with the breathing ( pranayama ). Technique of relaxation (Shavasana) Nutrition (vegetarianism) The study of spiritual literature and meditation It implies service to the world, asceticism and discipline of the mind.
- Kriya Yoga: in Sanskrit it is translated as “action” or “movement”. It includes some Hatha Yoga exercises, breathing exercises, meditations on light, sound, as well as mudras and bandhas that affect the endocrine glands and hormones. There are no limitations to the practice of Kriya Yoga
- Yoga Nidra translates as “sleep yoga”. It was developed by Swami Satyananda. This is a technique of deep relaxation, an intermediate state between wakefulness and sleep. An unusual meditation is performed with the help of pranayama, lying on your back with visualization and a certain environment. It is a type of psychic sleep, a lucid dream. One hour of such practice is equivalent to four hours of normal sleep.
- Kundalini yoga is considered to be a vision that picks up the influence on all levels (physical, mental, spiritual). It includes pranayama, static and dynamic asanas, meditations and mantras.
- Tantra Yoga: is the oldest of all the schools. Tantra is the sublimation of animal and raw energy in the spiritual and subtle.
- Yantra Yoga: was invented in Tibet by Mahasiddha Humkara. It includes 108 elements: yantra and pranayama. The yantras are physical exercises that are performed in strict rhythm with the breath. Somewhat similar to Hatha Yoga asanas, however, the method of implementation is significantly different.
- Bikram Yoga: is a demanding practice. It is the only discipline in which heating is used. Powerful practice to eliminate toxins from the body. To practice indoors, you must create certain conditions: heat the room from 37 to 42 degrees Celsius, and the air humidity must be 40 percent.
- Vinyasa Yoga: is one of the branches of Hatha Yoga, it works with the breath. Asanas are done in rhythm with the breath, the transition is smooth, from one to another using vinyasa.
- Power yoga is suitable for resistant people with good physical shape (bodybuilders, athletes) who want to prove what they are capable of. The exercise is energy intensive, aimed at developing strength, flexibility and endurance.
- Aero yoga: The exercises are carried out on special swings that greatly facilitate the performance of the asanas, as the deviations and traction are not strong. Very suitable for people with back injuries.
- Acro yoga: is a modern form of yoga. It was developed by Americans Jason Nemer and Jenny Saur-Klein in the early 2000s. The exercises are performed in pairs, with one partner serving as a support, while the other partner in the air changes the position of the body. Includes Hatha Yoga asanas, acrobatics and Thai massage.
- Yin Yoga: Yin Yoga is a static practice during which each asana is performed for up to 20 minutes. Due to the long permanence in each of the postures, the deeper layers of the tissues are involved, emotional and energy blockages are removed. In the practice of Yin Yoga, the main emphasis is on working with the lower body: thighs, legs, buttocks. Unlike dynamic practices, static exercises not only develop the muscle frame, but also involve tendons and joints.
- Solar Yoga: developed by Anastasia Kuznechikova. It includes pranayama, visualization, meditation, dynamic vinyasas and practices that affect the body’s energy flow.
- Integral Yoga: Its creator argued that absolutely anyone can achieve perfection if they make an effort not only in the physical, but also in the mental and spiritual spheres. It includes Sri Aurobindo’s own experiences and discoveries, along with mudras, mantras, pranayamas and asanas.
What is the best type of yoga for you?
Although the different types of yoga have similar bases and are similar in many ways, there are important differences between each. To determine if a particular style is right for you, you can attend an introductory class to familiarize yourself and experience the practice for yourself. At first, for anyone due to their sedentary lifestyle, unexercised body and restless mind, yoga can seem very complicated. However, yoga is constantly evolving and improving. When choosing the right type of exercise, you should focus on the personal reason that motivates you to go to yoga.
Do you want to get started in this ancient practice? Maybe hatha yoga or integral yoga for its easy understanding and progressive levels are a good alternative for you.
Are you looking for a higher and more spiritual aspect to the practice? Maybe raja yoga or kundalini yoga are more suitable.
Are you looking for intense physical exercise? Maybe power yoga, bikram yoga or ashtanga are good alternatives for you.
The answers to these questions will help you realize the hidden needs of the soul and body.
How do you tell people that you practice Yoga?
Those who practice yoga are usually called yogi if their gender is male and yogini if it is female