How many styles of yoga are there? Know the most popular ones

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March 04, 2022

Before going on to know all the current yoga styles, we must make a reference to the origin of yoga.

The earliest archaeological evidence of the practice of yoga dates back to the civilization that flourished in the Indus Valley (located in India), where several stone seals were found showing figures in yogic and meditation poses, dating back to approximately 3000 BC.

The first writings in which yoga is mentioned are the Veda, which date back to 1500 B.C. Specifically, the Rigveda (which was revealed between 1500 and 1200 B.C.) and the Atharvaveda, already make reference to central concepts of yoga such as prana or vital energy, and its relationship with breathing or the body's energy channels and centers (chakras and nadis).

What is a style of yoga?

Starting from Hatha Yoga, the oldest and most traditional style, other styles have proliferated, which adapt to different objectives and cover different needs. They arise from the own search and orientation of those who develop it, after dedicating their lives to the practice and study of this discipline.

The styles differ for various reasons: the content of the practice, its rhythm, the focus (either in the correct alignment of the postures, the fluency with the breath ...), the design of the sequence of asanas, etc. .

What type of yoga to choose?

Let's classify the different styles of yoga according to the intensity of the practice, from less to more:

Passive yoga:

  • Yoga Nidra: can be translated from Sanskrit as "yoga of psychic sleep", it constitutes a traditional practice that has its origin in yoga tantra, more specifically, in a technique of meditation and relaxation that comes from India called Nyasa. If you want to know more, visit our article about yoga nidra.
  • Yin yoga: each asana is held for a long time, on average about 3 minutes to work on flexibility and connective tissues (fascia). It is passive yoga that however, requires great mental endurance to maintain the postures for a longer period of time. If you want to know more, please visit our article about yin yoga.
  • Restorative yoga: a sequence of postures designed to work on the nervous system. It slows down the body and mind through passive stretching. In a class, a few postures (5-6) are done and held for 5 to 15 minutes. It shares features with yin yoga, but in this style, a greater use is made of integral Yoga supports: in its classes the basic precepts of yoga are included: hatha, pranayama, breathing, kriya and meditation.

Statics Yoga:

  • Therapeutic Yoga: a practice is designed as individual as possible and as a tool for self-management of our health.
  • Iyengar Yoga: we deepen in the correct alignment of the postures through the use of supports. If you want to know more, visit our article about Iyengar yoga.
  • Hatha Yoga: traditional yoga from which all others emanate. A sequence of postures is performed, usually structured in the first part of the standing warm-up, floor postures, and inverted postures, at a slow pace. If you want to know more, visit our article about Hatha Yoga.

Active Yoga:

  • Jivamukti Yoga: is a type of vinyasa yoga, as the postures flow to the rhythm of the breath and each class includes mantra chanting, yoga philosophy, asanas, pranayamas, and meditation. If you want to know more, visit our article about Jivamukti Yoga.
  • Vinyasa Yoga: yoga practice in which the rhythm of the postures are intertwined with the breath. Vinyasa Yoga article
  • Ashtanga Yoga: different series, ranging from less to more difficult, are practiced in a fluid and vigorous manner. Each series is composed of a fixed structure of asanas, advancing in the series once you have mastered the previous posture. Articles Ashtanga Yoga
  • Power Yoga: a style that draws from Ashtanga Yoga, a dynamic and energizing practice, if you want to know more, visit the Power Yoga article. Rocket Yoga: It consists of three series of postures modified from the traditional ashtanga vinyasa yoga, being one of the most dynamic yogas that exist.

Other styles of yoga:

Sivananda, Kundalini Yoga, yoga for kids, yoga for pregnant women (prenatal).

How to choose the style of yoga to practice?

The best thing to do is to try different styles of yoga and intuitively you will know which one suits you best. It is important to note that: Yoga classes, whatever the style, can be adapted whatever your level is (in each posture indications are given to go from less to more difficulty). It is interesting to combine passive practices, with other more active, because in balance, is the virtue.

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