Types of Yoga
There are so many types of yoga today. With new ones seeming to pop up every week, how can we make sense of it all? …
It’s not as difficult as it might first seem. Yes, it’s true that ‘new kinds of yoga’ seem to be sprouting up all over the place these days, but are they really new?
… and more importantly, are they really yoga? Let’s take a closer look…
The practice of yoga today has moved quite a long way away from its roots, which extend back thousands of years to ancient India. In fact, back then, yoga was not seen at all as a ‘practice’. It was ‘a way of life’, or rather, a way of approaching life where more than just the immediate, material needs of the individual were considered important.
But to get a grasp on the numerous types of yoga today, we need to understand just where yoga sits right now in the grand ‘yogic scheme of things’. So it’s useful to have a general understanding of the history of yoga first. If you haven’t already done so, take a few moments to have a look at our history of yoga page. It’ll be time well spent!
When we’ve got a basic understanding of where yoga has come from, and how it got here, we can certainly see the many practices of yoga today in a new light. On to …
The Birth of the Modern Types of Yoga
Yoga has erupted around the world in the matter of just a few, short decades. During this time, many new practitioners have emerged with their own independent thoughts on the practice of yoga… and some, being quite ambitious as well as business savvy, have created large institutions and garnered much recognition in fairly short order.
Others have quietly gone about building a slowly increasing following, to the point now where the yoga newbie will immediately find themselves confronted with a veritable consumer catalogue full of yoga choices.
So Many Yoga Names!
Many of these new styles of yoga have been branded with the stamp of their originator’s name. We see Sivananda Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Amrit Yoga, KaliRay Triyoga, Satyananda Yoga, and the ever-popular Iyengar Yoga, just to name a few.
Other countless new varieties bear some name that can be vaguely associated with the yoga tradition in some way or another; like Ananda Yoga, Dru Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga or Anahata Yoga.
… and there is a growing trend toward even more new-age approaches to yoga, with more functional sounding names like Power Yoga, Pre-natal Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Flow Yoga, Hot Yoga, or Children’s Yoga,
On the pseudo-religious front, we now even see practices such as Christian Yoga, Tibetan Yoga, Taoist Yoga or Buddhist yoga, all mimicking in some way the physical practices of the classical Indian science of yoga, while marrying them with their own cultural/religious interpretations.
Yet names do little to convey just what these systems of practice are all about, or what, if any their connection to the yoga tradition actually is.
Making Sense of the Types of Yoga
On the accompanying pages, I’ve given a basic summary of some of the more recognizable styles of yoga today, but please do not take these as an endorsement of any kind. The descriptions are brief, and only serve as a point of general information about each.
I’ve divided the styles of yoga into two pages. The first one lists the traditional yoga types, while page 2 outlines the various modern yoga styles.
Click on the following links to see descriptions of all the types of yoga in each category:
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