10 Popular Yoga Disciplines Today 

For many years, people around the world have been practicing Yoga. Some do it for fun or to stay fit. Others do it for health and wellness reasons. Whatever your needs are, Yoga can help you in positive ways. 

One of the beautiful things about Yoga is that you can easily find a place to practice it. Yoga is not only a physical exercise but a meditation practice combined with breathing exercises. What a healthy combo, right? 

A healthy example of Yoga practice is, for instance, Prenatal Yoga. Pregnant women can practice Yoga. Some Yoga poses help relieve lower back pain during pregnancy. As mentioned before, this includes breathing exercises which are helpful during labor. 

Even in sports, Yoga practices are used to create a balance between fitness and health, which helps prevent injuries in muscles and bones. 

What is Yoga? 

Yoga is a 5,000-year discipline that has evolved throughout time. The combination of eastern and western thought has helped in creating different yoga approaches. Yoga is an ever-changing practice that evolves with time. There will always be something new added to this beautiful practice. 

So, you’ve decided you want to become a yogini? Well done! This is going to be a great experience and you will love it. 

If you are new to the Yoga world, the many types of yoga out there could be overwhelming at the beginning. There is this busy schedule of a yoga studio you just found and it’s driving you crazy with all those different names like Jivamukti, Power Yoga, Hatha, etc. 

Relax, there is always plenty of time for you to choose what is best for you. I’d suggest you try different variations of yoga and then you can decide which one you liked the most. Give yourself the time to learn from not only one variant, and do not rush with your decision.

This article will help you understand a bit more about some of the different styles of yoga practices. There are many more out there, the list could go on for a while. Shortly, you will learn of the 10 Popular Yoga disciplines Today

Ashtanga Yoga

Mixes a flowing style with movements, poses (asanas) and breathing exercises. 

In short, the teacher shows a routine and students are expected to memorize it without the instructor’s lead. Your yoga teacher will only aid when necessary, which means guidance and adjustments in postures. 

Ashtanga points out two main components: Tristhana, “the more physical aspects of poses”, and Vinyasa, a “system of breathing and movement”. 

Creator: K. Pattabhi Jois 

Vinyasa

A modern combination of asanas (poses) of ashtanga with Power Yoga. The flow of poses could give you a dancing feeling during its practice. Every different pose goes through a transition led by your breathing tempo. No second class of Vinyasa looks exactly the same. Some people say that your Vinyasa practice will reflect the way you feel. 

This style is extremely vigorous. At the end of a vinyasa class, you will most likely sweat. 

Vinyasa was also created by K. Pattabhi Jois. This variant is similar to Ashtanga. The only difference is that the flow and order of poses vary with Vinyasa while with Ashtanga, the order of poses is exactly the same. 

Jivamukti 

This discipline was born in the early 80s. Its creators are  David Life and Sharon Gannon from New York. This yoga practice is not only about moving your body with a flow. This is deep meditation that helps you reach all positiveness and feel things around you. One of its characteristics is as well its stress on animals’ rights and veganism, and it predicates compassion for all beings. 

Composed of 5 principles: Shastra, Bhakti, Ahimsa, Nāda, and Dhyana. These principles aim to focus on deep meditation. 

With Jivamukti, you will notice some basic Vinyasa movements. Another great feature of this practice is its music. During a Jivamukti class, you will listen to really beautiful music. 

Power Yoga 

If you like to sweat and are more of a cardio style exercise person, power yoga may be the right fit for you. People who prefer cardio style practice may go for this since it is like a cardio workout. 

Compared to restorative or Yin Yoga, this variant is a mix of Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram. Born in the 90s, Power Yoga came to erase the stereotype of Yoga as only relaxing and stretching moves.

Created by Bryan Kest, an American Yoga instructor, this discipline is a fitness-based approach, which allows teachers flexibility during yoga classes.

The room temperature of a power yoga studio is higher in comparison to a normal yoga studio. 

As mentioned before, this combines Bikram Yoga too. 

Hatha 

During the 20th century, hatha yoga became popular as an exercise practice. This could be the most classical description of yoga today. A variant that has everything that yoga is about: the body and mind, breathing and movement. 

Hatha focuses on meditation for spiritual growth and is also known as Yoga for health. Also, it emphasizes diet as a method of purification of the body and mind. A spiritual discipline created in the 15 century by Gorakhnath, a  Kanphata Yogi. 

To sum up, if you would like to go for a more relaxing still challenging yoga practice, this could be appropriate for you. 

Check out this Hatha Meditation Practice here! 

Kundalini

People who suffer injuries can decide for Kundalini as a way of rehabilitation. A practice that helps with the healing process and it also relieves stress. It involves the nervous system and its main goal is to keep it under control. 

A short practice of Kundalini yoga (5 -minutes a day) will offer you peace, relaxation, and harmony with others. The energy you will feel, increases up to your head as a snake going up. Kundalini is also used to balance the chakras, and this way clears the path for the energy to flow smoothly. 

During a Kundalini class, you will see everyone dressed in white and wearing white turbans. Many chants in Gurmukhi language and the practice ends with meditation.

Kundalini’s creator was Yogi Bhajan, whom in 1968 brought to the USA this wonderful discipline. 

Bikram

Also known as hot yoga, and created by Bikram Choudhury. Bikram is the yoga practice to seriously sweat. A plus characteristic if you are looking to lose weight.

This is a 26 postures series with a 90 minutes duration. Poses are easy and impact-free. A good choice for people with injuries. During this practice, students are expected to fix themselves without the teacher’s intervention. The yoga studio must offer mirrors so that students can do this without a problem. 

This practice may not be ideal for people with cardiovascular problems due to excessive heat. 

Before visiting a Bikram class, get ready and bring comfortable clothes that won’t be on your way during movement, remember that you will sweat. 

Drink plenty of water before practice and make sure you will be hydrated. Bring your own yoga mat, nobody wants to share dry sweat. Go at your own pace and respect your body. 

You may want to follow up on the whole class and not stay behind but you must listen to your body and avoid hurting yourself or pushing it too much.

Yin Yoga

Have you heard about the butterfly pose? Ballet dancers use it all the time during their practice. Numerous fitness studios end their classes with Yin Yoga poses. From pilates to Zumba, Yin Yoga passive postures excels the way you end a class.

Yin Yoga focuses on connecting the networks of ligaments, joints, and bones. 

During each pose transition, Yin allows you to feel any emotion that comes at the moment through the gaps of time. Either happiness, anxiety or anger, emotions will arise.  

The main focus of this variant is the lower part of the body. And there are lots of stretching exercises in Yin yoga that will make you feel fantastic at the end of your practice. This variant was created by Paulie Zink in the 70s. 

Iyengar

The yoga of props aka instruments to help yourself during your practice. It focuses on flexibility, stability, strength, and awareness. Each posture is held for a prolonged period of time, and they prioritize correct movement over quantity. 

The equipment used during this practice is cushions, benches, blocks, straps, and sandbags. Beginners or elderly can easily get into Iyengar training without harm. No matter the level, you could still achieve asanas, using the appropriate props, that could otherwise take years of practice.

Creator: B. K. S. Iyengar who made it popular in the 60s. 

Sivananda yoga 

A whole spiritual yoga system. Its philosophy is based on five principles of health and spirituality: exercise, breathing, diet, thinking, and relaxation. 

Like any yoga variant, this one promotes mental, physical and well-being. 

The series identified in this variant are 12 basic asanas or poses. 

Creator: Swami Vishnudevananda. He established this discipline in 1959.

In general terms, through the practice of yoga, you can cover different needs. If you are looking for a demanding cardio style workout or for meditation along with a group of people, yoga is definitely for you. If you would like to add yoga to your regular fitness practice, you are welcome to do it. e For any purpose, and different necessities, there is yoga for everyone at any time. 

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