Yoga is a Hindu spiritual discipline which aims to unify the body, mind and spirit. Its exercises consist of meditation, breath control and the implementation of specific poses for health and relaxation purposes.
Many types of yoga were developed for different purposes, intentions and desired results. Some of them are physically demanding while others are gentle and restorative. But they are all created to benefit the practitioner by enhancing his physical and mental health and giving him a sense of inner peace. Science has acknowledged the health benefits of yoga, and many health professionals recommend it to their patients to improve their condition.
There are actually many types of yoga, but only three of them are very popular, and these are:
1. Sivananda Yoga
Sivananda yoga is a traditional hatha yoga which is focused on the health and spiritual well-being of the practitioner. Founded by Swami Sivananda in the mid 1900s, it consists of gentle to moderate exercises such as the Sun Salutation, breathing exercises, chanting and twelve main poses.
This type of yoga is centered on five principles which are proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet and positive thinking and meditation.
2. Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is a type of hatha yoga founded by Sri B.K.S. Iyengar.
It focuses on the structural alignment of the physical body through the development of asanas or postures, which aims to unify the body, mind and spirit. Many practitioners consider Iyengar yoga as an effective stress reliever. It is also believed to promote physical and spiritual well-being.
Some of the health benefits of Iyengar yoga include strong legs, increased general vitality, and enhanced circulation, coordination and balance.
3. Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is the most popular type of yoga. It was founded by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. Its classes, which run for exactly 90 minutes, consist of 26 poses and two breathing exercises. Bikram practitioners perform their exercises in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It is believed to reduce stress and promote general health and injury prevention.