There is no such thing as one kind of yoga. On the contrary, yoga encompasses spiritual techniques and putting these into practice to achieve a "state of enlightenment".Usually, the kind of yoga practiced in the US is Hatha yoga. Ha translates to sun and tha translates to moon. The goal of Hatha yoga is to attain unity of the mind, body and spirit through practicing asana (yoga postures), pranayama (yoga breathing), mudra (body gestures) and shatkarma (internal cleansings). Modern Hatha yoga focuses mostly on the yoga postures and does not emphasize many of the other facets.
Yoga's history can be traced to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in northern India over 5,000 years ago. Probably the most famous writing on yoga is the Bhagavad-Gîtâ, which was written around 500 BCE. Unfortunately, most of the history and philosophy of yoga was transmitted orally and if it was written down, it was written on palm leaves that were easily damaged or destroyed. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, yoga begins to make its way to the West. Slowly the yoga masters began to attract attention and taught those who wanted to learn. It wasn't until 1947 when Indra Devi opened a yoga studio in Hollywood that yoga finally began to slowly become more mainstream.
Since then, the popularity of yoga has become greater. There are now many different schools or styles of Hatha yoga and they all focus of the many different ways to practice yoga.There are several types of yoga. Ashtanga yoga is athletic and moves very fast.
This type is not recommended for beginners. Bikram or Hot yoga is athletic as well, but is practiced in a room with a temperature of 100 degrees. Iyengar is a good choice for a beginner, since it focuses on alignment and goes slower than others. Kripalu is gentle and also a good choice for a beginner. Kundalini is energizing and tries to awaken the spiritual energy that lives at the base of the spine. Sivananda mostly teaches advanced poses, which is probably not the best choice for a beginner.
Viniyoga is a good choice of those with injuries or disabilities.There are many benefits of practicing Hatha yoga. Not only does yoga develop flexibility through stretching, it can also release muscle tension and generally make a person more calm and focused. If done correctly, yoga energizes and renews your body instead of wearing it out as in some traditional methods of exercising.
Yoga is more of spiritual practice that does not require any specific belief system and its philosophies can be used within the limits of any belief system. The idea that mind, body and spirit are all one entity and cannot be separated is central to the main philosophy of yoga. Another idea central to the philosophy of yoga is that of the laws of karma.
There is good karma and bad karma, but achieving either is not necessarily desirable. Overall, the goal is to lessen the karma in your life. According to the philosophy of yoga, acting selflessly, without a desire for reward and without involving your ego is the only way to not achieve karma. The yogis tell us that any reduction in karma will make your life better, with more well-being and overall happiness.Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced student, there are many philosophies and schools of thought involving yoga.
You will never lack for a choice in the field of yoga..Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Yoga.
By: Michael Russell