Yoga Types – Different Types of Yoga

There are different paths (margas) of yoga that can be taken in order to reunite with the divine energy.

An active person can realize his divinity through work and duty (Karma),
a religious person through devotion (Bhakti),
an intellectual person through knowledge (Jnana), and
a meditative/reflective person through Raja Yoga.

Various types of yoga are being taught and practiced in today’s world and it is very important to choose the correct type of yoga. Each type has its own philosophies and practices. Some styles of yoga are meditative and focused on spiritual centeredness. Other styles of yoga are more physical and based on poses or exercises. According to data published in 2004 in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, an estimated 15 million American adults have used yoga at least once in their lifetime, and more than 7.4 million participated in the year prior to when the research was conducted.

The varieties of poses flow one into another, always breathing through the nose. Kundalini yoga aims to awaken the potential energies at the base of the spine (Symbolised as a coiled snake) and direct this energy upwards through the spine and the Chakras thus bringing about increasing degrees of enlightenment.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana yoga is yoga that focuses on knowledge. There are seven stages to Jnana, involving study, self-realization, desire, protection of the mind, developing indifference to objects, letting the world appear like a dream, non-attachment to the world, bliss and knowledge of truth.

Bikram Yoga is the method of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. Ashtanga, or power yoga, is designed to build strength and endurance. It is an aggressive workout where you move quickly from one pose to another. Ashtanga is for you if you’re looking for a tough, physically challenging workout.

Hatha Yoga: Involves both pranayama (breathing techniques for life-force control) and asanas (physical postures) which are quite vigorous, and have tremendous benefits physically, as well as emotionally and spiritually. As in all Yoga pathways, the goal is not physical fitness, but rather strengthening and balancing the nervous system in order to capacitate superconscious states of awareness and energy.

Viniyoga: This is commonly used as a therapeutic practice for people who have suffered injuries or are recovering from surgery. It is a gentle, healing practice that is tailored to each person’s body type and needs as they grow and change.

Vinyasa: Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a very physically active form of yoga. It began with Krishnamacharya who later passed it on to Pattabhi Jois.

Mantras are words, phrases, or syllables which are chanted attentively and thoughtfully to attain certain goals. In the Mantra Yoga meditation one has to chant a word or a phrase until he/she transcends mind and emotions. In the process the super conscious is discovered and achieved. The rhythm and the meaning of mantras combine to conduct the mind safely back to the point of meditation- the higher consciousness or the specific spiritual focus.