Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion and selfless love. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word "bhaj", which means "to serve". Practicing Bhakti Yoga involves devotion to a divine being, usually through practices such as singing, dancing, chanting and praying. Individuals who practice Bhakti Yoga also express this devotion and love in everyday life.
The main principle behind Karma Yoga is performing selfless service, without expecting to gain anything from the service. The service should be performed with honesty and integrity. An example of Karma Yoga is volunteering in your community to help others who are less fortunate.
Jnana Yoga is the yoga of wisdom. In Sanskrit, the word "Jnana" means "knowledge", "insight", or "wisdom". One of the main principles of Jnana Yoga is to learn the distinction between what is real and unreal. Jnana Yoga also encourages humans to think of themselves as spiritual beings, who can reach enlightenment through willpower, study and reason.
This website focuses on Hatha Yoga, which is the yoga of physical discipline. Hatha Yoga is the most commonly practiced type of yoga in the western world. The goal of Hatha Yoga is to achieve union of the mind, body and spirit through physical actions. Hatha Yoga promotes taking care of your body to be healthy. The word "Hatha" is derived from two Sanskrit words - "ha" meaning "sun" and "tha" meaning "moon". The practice of Hatha Yoga finds a balance between your sun and moon traits and balances the opposites within you - from the right and left sides of your brain to the masculine and feminine sides of your personality.
Tantra Yoga uses breath and movement to awaken the spiritual energy in your body. Two popular forms of Tantra Yoga are Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga.
Mantra Yoga uses sound to heal your body and center and focus your mind. A "mantra" is a meditation technique in which you repeat a word aloud or silently in your mind. The most traditional mantra used is the word "Om".
Raja Yoga, "raja" meaning "royal", is a classical type of yoga, in which meditation teaches your mind to serve your spirit. The foundation of Raja Yoga is based on eight limbs. These limbs include:
Ashtanga Yoga, also called Power Yoga, is the most athletic type of Hatha Yoga. Developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga Yoga emphasizes intense stretching and building muscular strength. A specific series of poses and breathing exercises are practiced in order to heat up your body and sweat out toxins. The room temperature in which Ashtanga Yoga is practiced must be kept at approximately 70 to 75oF to keep your muscles supple.
Bikram Yoga is a popular type of yoga that was created by Bikram Choudhury. The Bikram Yoga practice consists of a sequence of 26 postures, which are each held for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. The room temperature in which Bikram Yoga is practiced should be approximately 105oF and 60% humidity. The heated room is beneficial for warming up your muscles to allow a deeper stretch and to detoxify your body.
Integral Yoga was originated by Swami Satchidananda. When practicing Integral Yoga, you participate in poses, breathing techniques, meditation and deep relaxation. Integral Yoga also emphasizes the importance of eating a healthy diet and service to humanity. Practitioners of Integral Yoga believe the purpose of a pose is more important than perfecting a pose.
Iyengar Yoga, established by B.K.S. Iyengar, makes extensive use of props, such as blocks, chairs and straps, to ensure the body is correctly aligned during a yoga pose. Iyengar Yoga also places emphasis on building strength and endurance, encouraging relaxation, increasing flexibility and relieving ailments.
Kundalini Yoga, sometimes referred to as the "mother yoga", was initiated by Yogi Bhajan. When practicing Kundalini Yoga, you practice poses, breathing, chanting and meditation to move energy through your body, specifically through your spine.
Kripalu Yoga was inspired by Kripalvananda. Kripalu is derived from the Sanskrit word "kripal", which means "compassion". This type of yoga emphasizes the importance of your mind and body being treated equally. There are three stages to progress through when practicing Kripalu Yoga. In the first stage, you must focus on your alignment, breathing and movement, without concern for how long you can hold a pose. In the second stage, you can use meditation to help you hold the pose for a longer period of time. The third and final stage involves using meditation to allow your body to move instinctively from one position to another, depending on what feels right to you at the time.
Viniyoga was developed by Shri Krishnamacharya and carried on by his son T.K.V. Desikachar. Krishnamacharya taught several well-known yoga gurus, including B.K.S. Iyengar. In Viniyoga, you practice poses that are gentle and relaxed. Instead of trying to achieve perfect form when you practice poses, you only need to practice to meet your needs and capabilities.
Swami Sivananda, who was a medical doctor, yoga master and world spiritual teacher, created Sivananda Yoga. This type of Hatha Yoga consists of a series of twelve poses: Headstand, Shoulder-Stand, Plow, Fish, Seated Forward Bend, Cobra, Locust, Bow, Spinal Twist, Crow, Standing Forward Bend and Triangle. Sivananda Yoga is based on five main principles: proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation.