India is the birthplace of Yoga. It is believed that yoga was born even before religion was born. Yoga existed during the dawn of civilization. Shiva, the matted hairAdi yogi, the very first practitioner of yoga, imparted his knowledge to seven rishis on the lake of Kantisarovar in the Himalayas. These seven rishis or sages also known asSaptarishistravelled the length and breadth of the world spreading the sacred knowledge and working for the betterment of humanity. Ashtanga Yoga is considered as a modern day yoga style that is popular world wide.
In the west, yoga gained popularity as a form of physical exercise. It is only in India that you will realise that yoga doesn’t stop with physical asanas, postures and weight loss. It goes beyond that.Yoga is a science and art which combines the body, mind and breath to give you a healthier lifestyle and a deeper insight into yourself. Yoga and meditation are two sides of the same coin. They are not confined to the boundaries of religion, caste, race, gender or nationality. It is a technology for overall wellbeing.
Some might argue that there are ten styles of yoga, while some may say that there are just four, some may vouch for more. Neither of them is wrong. While there are many forms and styles of yoga, the four given below have gained more popularity over the others.
Ashtanga means “eight limbs”. It is named after the eight limbs mentioned in the yoga sutra by Patanjali. It is perhaps, the most difficult forms of yoga and very demanding. It is an eight-part practice and requires strict discipling of the body and mind. If you are a perfectionist, then this is the yoga for you.
This is a beginner friendly yoga form that is gaining popularity in the west. In a traditional Hatha yoga class, you will be taught breathing, meditation and basic postures. The classes will be unhurried and will provide a holistic approach to the benefits of yoga.
Bikram yoga is for practitioners who like High Intensity Interval Training. It involves practice in a sauna like room with high temperature. This is also a great style for beginners. Each session is made up of a 90-minute workout with 26 poses taught in a room heated up to 105 Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity.
Kundalini Yoga is for people who are interested in exploring the spiritual side of yoga. It involves chanting and meditation as well along with postures and asanas. The intention of this practice is to awaken the energy at the bottom of the spine and carry it upwards. It awakes sensory awareness.
The other forms of yoga that are gaining popularity are:
If you are a beginner and like to speed things a bit, this is the style for you. This form incorporates more movements than a Hatha session and will test your body’s endurance. The style of Vinyasa depends from teacher to teacher. In any Vinyasa Class, you will be performing each sequence a number of times.
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