This Yoga uses physical poses or Asana, Breathing Techniques or Pranayama, and Meditation to achieve better health, as well as spirituality. There are many styles within this path - Iyengar, Integral, Astanga, Kripalu, and Jiva Mukti to name a few. If what you want is a peaceful mind and a healthy body to go along with it, Hatha Yoga may just be the path for you.
Hatha Yoga styles:
The practice of Ashtanga that's getting mainstream attention today is a fast-paced series of sequential postures practiced by yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois, who lives in Mysore, India. The system is based on six series of asanas which increase in difficulty, allowing students to work at their own pace. There's no time for adjustments—you'll be encouraged to breathe as you move from pose to pose.
In 1995, Bender Birch set out to challenge Americans' understanding of what it really means to be fit with her book Power Yoga. Bender Birch's intention was to give a Western spin to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, a challenging and disciplined series of poses designed to create heat and energy flow. "Most people wouldn't take a class called Ashtanga Yoga, because they had no idea what it meant. Power Yoga, on the other hand, was something Americans could relate to and know that they'd get a good workout," says Bender Birch.The common thread is a rigorous workout that develops strength and flexibility while keeping students on the move.
From his home in Pune, India, B.K.S. Iyengar reigns as one of the most influential yogis of his time. At 80 years old, he continues to teach thousands of students from all over the world, encouraging them to penetrate deeper into the experience of each pose. This is the trademark of Iyengar Yoga—an intense focus on the subtleties of each posture.
In an Iyengar class, poses (especially standing postures) are typically held much longer than in other schools of yoga, so that practitioners can pay close attention to the precise muscular and skeletal alignment this system demands.
Also specific to Iyengar, is the use of props, including belts, chairs, blocks, and blankets, to help accommodate any special needs such as injuries or structural imbalances.
When you take a Bikram yoga class, expect to sweat. Each studio is designed to replicate yoga's birthplace climate, with temperatures pushing 100 degrees Fahrenheit.This method of staying healthy from the inside out was designed by Bikram Choudhury, who sequenced a series of 26 traditional hatha postures to address the proper functioning of every bodily system.
At its core, Sivananda Yoga is geared toward helping students answer the age-old question "Who am I?" This yoga practice is based on the philosophy of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India, who taught disciples to "serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize." In order to achieve this goal, Sivananda advocated a path that would recognize and synthesize each level of the human experience including the intellect, heart, body, and mind.
In 1957, his disciple Swami Vishnu-devananda introduced these teachings to an American audience. A few years later, Vishnu-devananda founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, summarizing Sivananda's system into five main principles: proper exercise (asanas); proper breathing (pranayama); proper relaxation (Savasana); proper diet (vegetarian); and positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (dhyana).There are more than 80 centers worldwide, as well as ashrams and teacher-training programs, all of which follow a hatha yoga practice emphasizing 12 basic postures to increase strength and flexibility of the spine. Chanting, pranayama, and meditation are also included, helping students to release stress and blocked energy.