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International Yoga Day: Know Different Forms of Yoga

Did you know that yoga can also be done with the help of equipment like ropes, balls etc and that it can be done at a fast pace or in a heated room also? Here are some popular types of yoga practiced by people worldwide

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Knowledge disseminated by Adiyogi (Shiva) to the legendary Saptarishis on the banks of lake Kantisarovar, lead to the birth of yoga, practised by people today to remain healthy. Derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ (meaning to unite), yoga is one of the oldest holistic health care systems in the world dating back to 5000 years. People generally have a misconception, that this practice is all about systematic breathing and includes slow asanas enjoyed only by the elderly people. But did you know that yoga can also be done with the help of equipment like ropes, balls etc and that it can be done at a fast pace or in a heated room also? Yoga is a practice which evolved over a long period of time through different phases and is categorised into different forms. Here are some popular types of yoga practised by people worldwide:

1)    Ashtanga yoga: 
It is one of the most popular forms of yoga practised by people worldwide. Ashtanga (meaning eight limbs) yoga founded by Patanjali, advocates eight steps to live a healthy life. These eight spiritual practices in ascending order as mentioned by Patanjali in Yoga Sutra consists of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, Dharana and Samadhi.

2)    Iyengar yoga
Founded by B. K. S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga consists of 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of pranayama.  It can be practiced by all the young, elderly, tired, injured or ill people alike as this form of yoga makes use of props like belts, blocks, blankets etc which minimises the risk of injury and helps in performing the asanas correctly with minimum muscular effort. The person practising Iyengar Yoga gradually progresses from simple poses to more complex ones, developing their mind, body and spirit through a step by step approach. This form of yoga differs from others as it focusses on three elements: sequence, technique and timing.

3)    Bikram yoga
Synthesised from traditional hatha yoga techniques, Bikram yoga classes are conducted for 90 minutes and consists of a series of 26 postures, including two breathing exercises. Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this form of yoga became popular in the early 1970s and is a hot yoga style practiced in a 35-42°C room with a humidity of 40%. All classes are taught with a standardized dialogue by Bikram certified teachers who have completed nine weeks of training.

4)    Power Yoga
Practitioners of this form of yoga perform Ashtanga yoga poses with greater speed. It is a more active approach to the traditional hatha yoga, often accompanied by upbeat music and is characterised by the change in sequence every time this yoga is practiced. Vinyasa Yoga can also come under the category of power yoga depending on how it is taught by gym or studio conducting the classes.

5)    Vinyasa Yoga

This form of yoga establishes a connection between breath and movements and is usually done in a flowing sequence or vinyasa flow. Popularly practices in the United States, Vinyasa yoga consists of sensual movements usually accompanied by some pleasant music. It consists of a specific sequence of poses used throughout the class where each movement is synchronised to breathe.

6)    Kundalini yoga
Kundalini yoga is a blend of physical and spiritual exercises consisting of movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation and chanting of mantras. Popularly referred to as the yoga of awareness, this form of yoga aims to cultivate the spiritual potential of human which will help him to uphold values, ensure truthfulness and focus on compassion and consciousness.

7)    Sivananda yoga
Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda, this is a form of hatha yoga which focusses on preserving health. Sivananda yoga deals with frequent relaxation and emphasizes full yogic breathing. A traditional program lasts for ninety minutes and consists of five principles- proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation which reduces chances of diseases and retains the vitality of the body. All the teachers of Sivananda yoga program are graduates of Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Program.
Those who stayed away from yoga believing it to be a boring practice can now choose a type of yoga suitable for them. They can use ropes, balls etc in doing yoga or can adopt vinyasa yoga which involves a flowing sequence similar to dance. In short, they can enjoy themselves while practising yoga.

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International Yoga Day 2018 yoga day BKS Iyengar