As a student you have the opportunity to practise a range of yoga styles. Usually this depends on the teacher and his/her experience with the respective asanas (postures). Regardless of what style you are practising, each of them incorporates a selection of techniques; breathing, asanas, meditation, reflection, relaxation and even chanting.
Many yoga teachers are specialised in one or two styles of yoga. Others use a combination of styles to make up their very own in the process. In the end, you can get a lot from each of the following styles by bringing your focus inwards – listen to your body. It will tell you how far you can go in any session.
Popular Yoga Styles
- Hatha Yoga: The traditional name for the practice of yoga postures that help the body stay flexible, strong, balanced and healthy.
- Vinyasa: An approach to yoga where the postures are blended to move smoothly from one to another. Postures are designed to build one on the other for a subtle flow of energy as well as to increase stamina.
- Kundalini Yoga: Yoga practice to ‘awaken’ or nurture the kundalini, the powerful spiritual energy of the subtle body.
- Meditation: The practice of being connected to the deepest part within. It helps you develop the ability to work with the world of thoughts and feelings and go beyond to an experience of deep peace and contentment.
- Mantra Yoga: Repeating certain powerful words or texts to steady the mind and build subtle energy.
- Chanting: Chanting mantras, texts and bhajans (songs) soothes the nervous system, helps the body relax, increases concentration and complements spiritual practices.
- Jnana Yoga: The wisdom path of yoga includes studying scriptures and philosophies, meditation, contemplation and self-inquiry.
- Kriya Yoga (also Karma Yoga): The yoga of action includes service to others as well as focusing on right action in your life.
- Laya Yoga: The yogic practice of dissolving into Consciousness through meditation and related practices.
- Raja Yoga: Known as the royal path, the yoga system of Patanjali. Also the yoga of meditation based on the balance of thought and emotion.
- Tantra Yoga: A wide range of practices to enhance spiritual energy, including philosophical discussion, meditation and self-inquiry, ritual and service.
- Bhakti Yoga: The yoga of devotion. Activities include chanting, ritual, pilgrimage, ceremony and discipleship to a guru.
Yoga styles courtesy of YTAA