Types of Yoga and Their Purposes

In recent years, Yoga has gained extreme popularity. Pretty much everywhere you go, you can find a “yogi” who spends a significant amount of time in athleisure wear practicing their most spine-bending poses. But yoga is no new exercise trend. It has been around for hundreds of years and depending on the benefits you seek, there are many forms of yoga in which you can partake. Join us as we dive into the world of yoga.

The origins of Yoga take us back to ancient India. It was intended to be a spiritual practice that focuses around forming a union between an inner self and a divine power, while also obtaining peace and tranquility. However, the introduction of yoga to western cultures resulted in a separation of the spiritual and physical aspects of the practice. Now, primarily in the United States, yoga is seen as a form of exercise that is meant to enhance mood and self-awareness, reduce stress, increase flexibility, and improve breathing. Below are common types of yoga and their purposes.

Hatha Yoga
The most common type of yoga in the U.S. is Hatha Yoga. Initially, its primary purpose was to prepare the body for enlightenment. Now, its focus is on promoting physical health, wellness, and relaxation. A typical Hatha Yoga class consists of multiple, classical poses called “asanas,” and breathing exercises.
Bikram Yoga
Similar to Hot Yoga, a Bikram Yoga session will leave you drenched in sweat. Bikram is practiced in an artificially heated room and follows a specific sequence of 26 basic yoga poses to be performed two times through. A typical Hot Yoga class does not follow the sequence from Bikram yoga.
Iyengar Yoga
Founded by B.K.S. Iyengar, this form of yoga is very detail-oriented and focuses on proper alignment of the body. Utilizing various yoga props, like blocks and straps, poses are positioned and held for an extended period of time. This form of yoga does not necessarily raise the heart rate, but it challenges your body, mentally and physically, to keep proper form.
Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is a routine based yoga that has six pose series. These series were designed to create an internal body heat that will purify the body. Each pose works in tandem with every breath. As you inhale and exhale, you force your body to meet the challenge of every pose. This type of yoga is physically demanding and fast-paced.
Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa is for those who love a high-intensity workout. Styles of this type of yoga can vary, but it typically combines a series of poses to upbeat, powerful music. Vinyasa can be similar to a dance class in that the poses change in rhythm with the music. This type of yoga stemmed from Ashtanga yoga but does not follow a set series of poses.

Whether you prefer to sweat it out in a Bikram class or practice your alignment in Iyengar, yoga can lead to many health benefits. Yoga has shown to improve mental and gut health, aid the aging process and can be adapted for all levels of yogis.

ETB offers BCAAs to assist you with recovery for your mind and body for Yoga routines, as well as, practicing a healthy lifestyle. What is your favorite type of yoga?

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