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Yoga is a Hindu practice that focuses on a specific bodily alignment, relaxation breathing, and meditation. It is performed for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. There are several styles of yoga that differ depending on the physical strength or bodily posture assumed. This paper will compare the different styles of yoga by analyzing each style and comparing it with the others.
Hatha yoga is an umbrella class of styles which are grounded in physical practice. However, some Hatha styles are not physically based such as Raja and Karma yoga. This group is the best for beginners because it has styles that have slow pace as compared to other advanced styles. Therefore, Hatha yoga encompassed styles that differ from yoga style regarding pace and usage (McGee, 2018).
Ashtanga yoga is very physical style with sequential steps to be followed. Therefore, it is not the best for the beginners like the Hatha yoga. It takes an experienced person to enjoy this type of yoga. For the Mysore sub-category, the teacher takes the front place and teaches the group. However, in the Mysore-led Ashtanga, every participant is expected to know every move. Unlike the earlier style, this style is done in the same sequence with only addition or subtraction of some steps depending on the circumstance of practice. This style is best for people who are motivated, who prefer secluded places with minimal interruptions, athletics, or those who highly benefit from it (McGee, 2018).
The Vinyasa yoga has the inclusion of new poses to the Ashtanga poses. Therefore, instead of doing the same sequence of poses like in Ashtanga, the Vinyasa style has unique poses every time it is practiced. The style involves coordination of breath with movements to flow from pose to pose. It is the most appropriate for athletics even more than Ashtanga. This style differs in intensity from one level to the other depending on the teacher and/or the learners (Baratta, 2013).
The similarity between Bikram and Ashtanga is that both follow a fixed sequence. However, this style induces more sweating as it is physical and it is practiced in a heated and humidified room. This style requires much caution than the previous style because it is held that too much sweating may delete the heart and cause a lot of imbalances. Moreover, people with cardiovascular diseases and pregnancy are discouraged from this style of yoga (Baratta, 2013).
The power yoga is just like the Vinyasa yoga, but it is rigorous. It may be practiced in a heated room or it may not. This style is for the intermediates and the advanced level yogis, unlike the Hatha styles. It focuses more on physical training than the internal focus (Baratta, 2013).
Kundalini yoga is at the far end of other yoga styles. It focuses on the internal energy more than the physical aspect of yoga. Unlike the other styles, it tries to enhance the sensory awareness and the spiritual strength of the body. However, this does not mean that this type of yoga is no longer physical. It is only that its main focus has been shifted to the internal process more than the physical process (Baratta, 2013).
The Anusara yoga is very similar to the Hatha yoga in that it takes into consideration the students. It aims at motivating the students to learn yoga. It emphasizes n body alignment as well as creating interest among the leaners. Unlike the Hatha styles, this style is not only good for the beginners but also enjoyable to advanced students (Baratta, 2013).
This style emphasizes body relaxation techniques. This style, unlike the other styles, focuses on lengthening body muscles through patience in long poses. It is a therapeutic style whereby those who engage in rigorous styles of yoga are encouraged to participate in relaxing their muscles. This style is favorable for anybody (Baratta, 2013).
Prenatal yoga is for pregnant mothers. It helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle, facilitates bonding with the unborn and focusing on breathing. Unlike other styles, this style is suitable for pregnant women during all the trimesters of pregnancy (McGee, 2018).
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This yoga style is compared to the Vinyasa style. Despite that it has slight differences with Vinyasa, it also focuses on learning and growth. It entails physical and mental challenges. Like the Vinyasa style, the Forrest yoga style entails building more poses on the already learnt poses. This level is good for all learners just like the Yin/Restorative style. However, it is most often too rigorous for the beginners (Baratta, 2013).
Yoga styles are so many with differing characteristics regarding the concentration of the physical practices and the inner process. Some of them, like the power yoga, are too rigorous while others, like the Hatha yoga, are less physical. Some of these styles, like the Kundalini yoga, are not much into the physical processes but rather focus on the internal processes. Lastly, it is notable that some yoga styles, like the Bikram, are not favorable for certain groups of people like those pregnant of with cardiovascular diseases. Such people may participate in their specified yoga styles such as the prenatal style for the pregnant women.
- Baratta, K. P. (2013). What’s the Difference? 12 Popular Yoga Styles Explained.
- McGee, K. (2018). Types of Yoga – Breakdown of 11 Major Types.