Types of Yoga and Their Main Differences

yoga class

Yoga started as early as 5,000 years ago. The Indus-Sarasvati people, who live in the northern part of India, were credited for inventing yoga. It only fanned out to the west in the late 19th Century. Yoga, as an industry today, is a multi-million dollar market in the US. 

Utah, in particular, has many yoga centers that offer regular classes as well as yoga therapy training workshops for aspiring teachers. 

Yoga’s increasing popularity can be attributed to the numerous benefits it offers. Recent research has shown that it can even modulate the stress response. What most people do not know is that there are several types of yoga. Here are the main disciplines and their differences.

Bikram Yoga

It was brought to the United States by Bikram Choudhury in 1973. Bikram is probably one of the most recognizable types of yoga because it attracted the attention of celebrities and famous personalities. With Bikram yoga, you need to wear light clothes because the room temperature will be 105 degrees. The heat will supposedly help you detoxify and make your limbs feel more supple. With less rigid limbs, you would be able to achieve all the yoga poses more comfortable.

Ashtanga Yoga

When it comes to this style of yoga, your breathing and movement should be in perfect harmony. You will try to achieve different poses in a sequence, and you cannot go to the next pose until you complete the prior one. However, while attempting a pose, do not forget to breathe correctly. Once you perfect the asana (asana refers to the body posture that’s required for a particular yoga style), you can move on to the next sequence. Unlike other yoga styles, the pace of Ashtanga yoga is rapid, so you need to look for a class that allows participants to work at their own pace.

Restorative Yoga

Judith Lasater introduced this type of yoga therapy training, and it’s supposed to be a more relaxing type of yoga. The discipline is more focused on helping students cope with everyday stresses and challenges. 

By following the sequence of positions and breathing techniques, you will address common conditions associated with stress such as migraines, sleeping disorders, anxiety, backaches. When you join this class, expect to be exposed to a very relaxing environment. The positions are very passive and allow you to relax your mind and body.

Anusara Yoga

Anusara is a relatively new variation since John Friend created it in 1997. This type of discipline is more focused on alignment. Alignment may refer to aligning your mind and body or aligning your breathing with your movement. However, it’s also aligning your inner self with the divine. Unlike other types, with Anusara, you will sit down through some lectures on the theory and principles of yoga before the practical part. 

Iyengar Yoga

Unlike with other yoga disciplines, students of Iyengar are expected to hold the poses for a little bit longer. The principle is rooted in the belief that students will become more aware of the micro-movements and alignments of each asana. When you go to the gym, expect to find some props like chairs, blocks, blankets, and belts.

Choose the Type of Yoga That Makes Sense for You

Other types of yoga, such as Baptiste Power, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa, Hatha, Viniyoga, and Kundalini, also have their distinctive styles and benefits. It is advisable that you choose the right discipline for you and get trained by a qualified professional.

Your best bet might be a try a few instructors and a few disciplines so you can decide on your preference, as we have seen, there are many types of Yoga for strength athletes. Just as most athletes cycle their workout routines, it might also be a good idea to cycle yoga types – perhaps you choose Bikram Yoga during a fat loss phase and Restorative Yoga during a bodybuilding phase. It’s ultimately up to you, but we definitely advise trying a few.

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