For most of us, yoga is a form of exercise, a way of releasing the tension that our body accumulates after long hours of sitting in chairs, hunched over our desks. Whilst there is nothing wrong with using yoga as a means of releasing physical tension and adding healthy exercise to our daily routine, it can be much more than that. Yoga is a way of life, a style of living, a way of connecting with your true self and of bringing the mind to a space of stillness and joy. Yoga, if studied and practiced regularly and with love and dedication, becomes a journey of self discovery, a way of acquiring harmony and peace in our lives.
If you are new to yoga, here is a quick guide to the most popular forms of yoga.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is often used by athletes and those who want a challenging workout which builds power and strength.The focus is more on building strength, stamina and internal health rather than a meditative experience. Ashtanga yoga includes a set series of postures which, with the use of ujjayi (victory) breath and bandas (seals), are used to create internal heat and detoxify the body.
Hatha Yoga is one of the most common types of yoga, combining postures (asanas) with synchronised breathing. Combined with breath work, (pranayama), meditation and relaxation, this well-rounded approach works to still the mind and rejuvenate the body.
Jivamukti Yoga is an integrative style of yoga, combining the physical postures of Hatha Yoga with a spiritual practice. A transformative blend of postures, chanting and breathing techniques and meditation are combined to control the mind and bring serenity and calmness.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the Yoga of Awareness because it awakens the dormant energy in us. In the language of Sanskrit, ‘kundalini’ means ‘that which is coiled’, sometimes understood as a serpent, but also as the dormant energy located at the base of our spine. It is both a physical and a meditative discipline, which harnesses the mind, the body and the spirit together as one. Asanas (poses), pranyama (breath work), mantra (chanting) and meditation exercises are combine to bring about deep relaxation.