14 September 2007

Types of yoga

From Ashtanga to Hatha to Kundalini. All a bit confusing? Find out more about the different types of yoga.

Ashtanga yoga
From the teachings of Krishnamacharya in India, this method involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures guaranteed to produce internal heat and create purifying sweat to detoxify muscles and organs.

Apart from building strength and stamina, Ashtanga yoga produces a quiet mind and a sense of lightness and balance.

Hatha yoga
This type of yoga begins with a purification of the mind and spirit, and then progresses to the body via body postures and breath. Hatha yoga is what most people associate with the word "yoga" and is mainly practiced for mental, physical health, and vitality purposes, outside of India.

Hatha yoga lays emphasis on asanas, pranayama and dhyana (meditation). Another important facet is that it aims at balancing different energy flows within the human body.

About half of the nearly 200 Hatha yoga asanas are popular in the West. The Hatha Yoga postures range from the basic to the complex, from the easy ones to the very challenging.

Every movement is planned and controlled. As a result, they are revitalising for both mind and body.

Hatha yoga exercises are intended to ease tense muscles, to tone the internal organs, and to improve the body flexibility. The aim of accurate yoga exercise is to improve flexibility and strength of the body.

When practiced in combination with breathing techniques, Hatha yoga postures stimulate circulation and digestion, as well as the nervous and endocrine systems of the body.

Kundalini yoga
Kundalini yoga is a meditative discipline focusing on psycho-spiritual growth and the body's potential for maturation.

The practice of Kundalini yoga, with life energy at its heart, consists of a number of bodily postures, expressive movements and utterances, characterological cultivations, breathing patterns and degrees of concentration.

The Iyengar method of yoga is initially learnt through the in-depth study of sanas (posture) and pranayama (breath control).

Iyengar has systematised over 200 classical yoga Asanas and 14 different types of Pranayamas (with variations of many of them), from the simple to the incredibly difficult. These have been structured and categorised so as to allow beginners to progress surely and safely from basic postures to the most advanced as they gain flexibility, strength and sensitivity of mind, body and spirit.

Integral Ishta
Integral Ishta (integrated science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda) is a flexible combination of specific methods designed to develop every aspect of the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of the individual.

It is a scientific system, which integrates the various branches of yoga in order to bring about a complete and harmonious development.

Postures, visualisations, and meditation are used to open energy channels throughout the body.

Ishta is a joyful, beginner-friendly mix of 15 kinds of yoga, including athletic Ashtanga, flowing Viniyoga, and precise Iyengar, combined with Tantric meditation techniques and Ayurvedic practices, used to rebalance one's life.

(Information supplied by Total Media on behalf of Virgin Active South Africa)




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