5 of the Main Types of Yoga

Did you know that there are multiple types of yoga? A lot of people don’t know this and assume that they don’t like yoga just because they went to one class and didn’t like it. It’s unfortunate because there really are some great styles of yoga and they all feel so different and have different benefits.

There are too many styles of yoga to go over in one article so today we are just going to focus on five. The five we are focusing on today are Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Yin, and Restorative.

1. Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga can be a very confusing term. Hatha yoga is actually just a general term used to cover all yoga that is physical and includes breath work. Almost every yoga class that you hear about in the western part of the world is Hatha. A class titled as Hatha is usually going to be a gentle and slower paced class where you will be focusing on the poses themselves. This is confusing because the word itself could refer to any physical yoga, not just a slower class. You can always ask the yoga studio beforehand to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

2. Vinyasa

Vinyasa yoga is a very physically demanding class. A vinyasa class is all about syncing up your movement to your breath and keeping a fluid pace throughout the class. This is the type of yoga that you will probably recognize because it almost looks like the person is doing a sort of dance or sequence.

3. Iyengar

Iyengar yoga is a rather “typical” style of yoga. The reason Iyengar yoga is different than other hatha yoga styles is because it is based on maintaining proper alignment. It is not typically a class that has any fast-paced sequencing but is great to deepen your body awareness as well as to gain a greater understanding of each pose.

4. Yin

Yin yoga is a very unique style. It is essentially a deep stretching class that still involves muscle engagement. It is focused mainly on the lower half of the body and poses are held usually for at least five minutes but can go up to twenty. Yin yoga is usually suitable for all levels because there are so many variations and props used.

5. Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is the most relaxing kind of yoga. A typical restorative class would involve zero muscle engagement in the poses and poses would be held for 5-10 minutes each. The point of restorative yoga is to make your body comfortable enough to allow your “fight or flight” system to shut down and your “rest and digest” system to engage.

Like I said before, these are only 5 of the main yoga styles but there are many more. Hopefully, you can see that there really is a large amount of variety in the world of yoga.
Whether you like to work up a sweat or keep things slow and steady, there is likely a yoga style for you!

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Kapalabhati – Breath of Fire

Kapalabhati is a Sanskrit word that has two parts: Kapala = Skull, and Bhati = Shiny.

Also known as the Breath of Fire, it is one of the most energetic and stimulating breathing control techniques we do while practicing Yoga. It is considered one of the six Kriyas or purification and cleansing exercises. When we practice it correctly, we expel the residual air left in our lungs and pump large amounts of oxygen into the circulatory system.

How to Practice Kapalbhati

  1. Sit comfortably, with your legs crossed or bent, back straight and shoulders still.
  2. Close your eyes and concentrate on breathing through your nose.
  3. Take a deep breath through your stomach two or three times as preparation. It allows the abdomen to expand when inhaling and contract when exhaling.
  4. Inhale through the nose, inflate the belly, and then start contracting your abdomen to take out the air through the nose with short, energetic, and rhythmic exhalations.
  5. Concentrate only on exhaling. The abdominal muscles will relax automatically, allowing the air to fill the lungs passively.
  6. Energetic exhalation. Passive inhalation.

To start, perform three cycles of 20-30 Kapalbhati breaths, separating each cycle with three slow and deep breaths to calm your respiration rhythm so that you don’t hyperventilate. Gradually, you can increase the number of pumpings per cycle.

Kapalbhati Benefits

  • Increases the level of oxygen supply to the blood, reaching each cell in the body. This is why it is convenient to perform this breathing exercise in spaces where the air quality is good.
  • Strengthens the intercostal muscles and increases lung capacity.
  • Helps cleaning the respiratory system, and eliminates mucus excess. Just remember to have some tissues at hand!
  • The movement of the abdomen and diaphragm gently massages internal organs such as the liver, stomach, heart, spleen, and pancreas, thus stimulating the blood flow in these areas.

What Should We Be Aware of While Practicing Kapalbhati?

Practicing this breathing exercise may produce some dizziness, and this is normal. If you start feeling very dizzy, keep calm, open your eyes and choose a point to focus on. Also, take long, deep, calming breaths until you feel the dizziness is gone and your breathing rhythm is back to normal.

It is not recommended to perform this exercise during the last hours of the day or before going to sleep. Kapalbhati is a technique created to boost your energy and can keep you from going to bed. However, it is ideal to practice it first thing in the morning or before performing any activity that requires tons of energy.

It is not recommended to practice Kapalbhati in hot weather. You don’t want to add fire to fire, right? In this case, it is advised to do cooling breathing exercises such as Sitali or Sitkari.

Kapalbhati is not recommended for people who suffer from anxiety since it can cause dizziness and hyperventilation.

I hope you practice this exercise daily to keep your respiratory system clean and the inside of your skull radiant.


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