Hatha Yoga is the physical practice of posturing, designed to balance, align, and integrate the internal energies of the body so one can reach a state of enlightenment. Hatha is one of the most popular types of yoga, but it’s only one form of many.
Many other styles of Yoga practice exist, such as Yoga of service, devotion, sound, sight, knowledge, and breath. All Yoga, when practiced regularly, will bring one to a place of inner peace and wholeness.
Benefits Of Yoga To The Body
Types Of Yoga Breathing
Breathing techniques taught in Yoga practices are called Pranayama. Pranayama is the stretching out or regulation of the flow of the life force or prana – often thought of as the breath – through all the systems and parts.
Pratyahara is a more refined practice – drawing the awareness away from the senses and directing it inward to the meditative state of consciousness. This, in turn, leads one to the state of ecstasy or Samadhi, the true goal of Yoga.
By stretching the muscles, you are working at the cellular level to reorganize the cells, lipids, and proteins, so that calories are made accessible and can be burned.
This organization on the cellular level helps the body operate at peak efficiency, which also leads to greater energy and stamina.
Most Popular Types Of Yoga
The Hatha “world” is made up of many variations. There is Hatha taught in the Traditional Indian fashion, using an Eastern approach with Indian names.
There is Contemporary Hatha Yoga, developed to accommodate the tastes of Westerners. And then there are many crossovers between the two.
Most schools or instructors teach a particular method for approaching Hatha practice complete with their own set of rules, an arrangement of poses, and specific practices.
The following are some of the more popular Hatha Yoga sub-types:
- Iyengar Yoga places emphasis on the structure and alignment of a pose.
- Ashtanga Yoga features vigorous movement practiced on the rhythm of the breath.
- Bikram’s Yoga promotes 26 Yoga poses practiced in a heated room to help stretch the body.
- Kali Ray TriYoga blends Yoga mudras and poses done on the breath through specialized flows.
- Vini-Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Integral Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, and Power Yoga offer more variations of Hatha.
Created by Yoga master BKS Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga starts with the physical body and works inward.
Emphasis is placed on proper skeletal and energetic alignment, so the postures focus on balancing the structure through lengthening and strengthening muscles.
The use of props – blankets, blocks, or straps – allows every participant to experience the benefits, even before the body can support itself in the precise posture.
As the body comes into equilibrium, a state of meditation occurs, whereby stress is released and a peaceful feeling fills any surroundings.
Bikram’s Beginning Hatha Yoga specializes in 26 postures scientifically designed to work synergistically and cumulatively, returning the body to a balanced state.
It incorporates strength, challenge, gravity, balance, and, most importantly, the tourniquet effect that stretches, squeezes, and massages the internal organs.
This helps the body operate at peak efficiency and also leads to greater energy and stamina.
Kali Ray TriYoga
International Yogini Kali Ray founded Kali Ray TriYoga. The TriYoga Flows arose through inspiration, as did ancient Yoga. The Flows, an organized series of moving and sustained postures, synchronize the physical action to the breath.
The wave-like spinal movements, the natural alignment within each posture, and the connecting motion form the foundation of this unique Yoga method.
The sequencing of the Flows, ranging from basic to advanced, make progressing through the levels safe and enjoyable.
Students reduce stress, tension, and pain while prospering physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Uniting breath, mind, and body.
TriYoga will help connect with life’s energy flow and awaken the whole self to live in a state of relaxation.
These are not all types of yoga but the most popular types of yoga. Local studios often provide other eclectic and unique styles developed and taught for years.
Some Yoga styles are more physical and vigorous – promoting strength, endurance, and flexibility – while other styles promote relaxation of the mind through visualization, breathing, and meditation techniques.
Yoga is best practiced under the guidance of a certified instructor, in comfortable clothes, in bare feet, and on a mat with tools for support (like a block or strap) to either modify or intensify a move.
Yoga enables you to identify and relieve stress. The poses take you through a full range of movement that stretches and benefits the body and mind.
The practice of Yoga encourages you to release the body, control the mind, and expand awareness so you can live more consciously and mindfully, creating a healthier and happier life.
Whether your Yoga teacher is a longtime practitioner or someone newly certified, it doesn’t matter. You can bet they’ve been inspired to teach because they themselves have been deeply affected by their personal Yoga practice and want to share the gifts of Yoga with you.
There is more Yoga happening around the world than ever before and you should be able to find a form, style, teacher, and method to accommodate your personality, learning style, age, and body composition while achieving the benefits that you want.
Yoga for seniors, kids, athletes, the physically challenged, pregnant women, for those in the office setting – you name it – there is Yoga for every body, occupation, situation, and personality on this planet.
Also, if it’s not out there yet, just wait; it will be soon. Yoga is the exercise for the 21st Century, so get practicing and help make this world a better place.
If you’re interested in more unique ways to wellness, check out our alternative medicine guide.