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Yoga exercises and philosophy have become widely acknowledged for generating many health benefits.

For over four thousand years, yoga has been used by millions of people to help them obtain their physical, mental and spiritual goals.

Over the centuries there have been different forms of this practice complete with all types of yoga positions. For most of its history, yoga was only found in India where the practice originated. However, in the 20th century yoga expanded around the world and today millions of people engage in the practice.

Of the many different variations there are six essential types of yoga that people do at home or take classes to perform.

The Six Types of Yoga

While there are many variations of yoga efforts, there are six that stand out and are taught in classes around the world. Each of the types offers their own unique reward, so you will want to choose the one that will work the best for you.
However, you can always vary between two or even three different types to mix up your routine during the week.

Remember that a full session can last upwards of 2 hours, so be prepared to allocate enough time to get in a full session.

Ashtanga Yoga

For those who have practiced yoga before, then astanga may be for you. This is a physically challenging form which emphasizes a considerable number of poses. It is typical that you will do over 70 yoga positions in a single 90 minute or two hour session which can be intense. There are also at least 10 sun salutations along with inversions and backbends that add to the challenge.

This form of yoga is the most intense and will require plenty of strength and endurance to execute properly. So, you will need to keep this up three times each week in order to get the most out of this form of yoga.

Bikram Yoga

This is the form of yoga that works to build flexibility. Founded by Bikram Choudhury, it was popularized in the mid-1970s and called “hot yoga” because the studios where it was taught were heated considerably in order to loosen up the muscles. You will break out into a really good sweat when performing the yoga positions of this exercise if you are in a 105F degree sauna.

The 90 minute classes will go through 26 different poses twice and are separated by two sessions of breathing exercises.

You will need water handy as staying hydrated is a priority and you will want to eat at least two hours beforehand so that you do not become nauseous because of the heat.

Hatha Yoga

This is the practice that combines breathing techniques and poses that are designed to create better flexibility and balance.

The integration of breathing into each movement will provide a sense of relaxation and also be quite restorative for the body as well.

The combination of different techniques in Hatha may provide significant relief from stress as studies based on the taking of a single 90 minute class in this yoga form have demonstrated. In addition, Hatha teaches yoga positions that are relatively simple and makes it perfect for beginners.

However, there are classes that teach this form of yoga in a manner that speeds up the transition from pose to pose, so you may want to start at home first before taking a class.

Iyengar Yoga

This is a particular yoga technique that was first developed in the 1930s by the noted guru B.K.S. Iyengar. The primary purpose is to help alleviate neck and back issues and has become quite popular over the years. His methods are focused on obtaining the proper alignment which helps to strengthen the muscles as well as improve the joints.

Also, this particular practice uses different block, straps and other elements to help you achieve these positions.

The classes range from 90 minutes to two hours and you’ll be standing, sitting and twisting along with performing several backbends and inversions. So, if your pain is due to an injury, then you will want to consult with your doctor before performing the yoga positions of this particular practice.

Kundalini Yoga

For those looking to enhance the spiritual experience that yoga can provide, then this is the form you will want to explore.

Kundalini emphasizes movement, breathing and the chanting of mantras to help calm the mind and revitalize the body. The sessions comprise of one-half exercise while the rest is broken up into breathing, meditation and relaxation.

The goal is to release the energy of the kundalini which is located at the base of the spine. The result is that for many people who take up this particular practice, they will greatly reduce their stress levels and help to refocus their mind on other issues. For those who are not into chanting out loud, you can simply repeat the phrases in your head.

Vinyasa Yoga

This particular type of yoga is fast paced and often called “power yoga” that requires you to move around for the entire class. This is why it is the type of yoga that is most ideal for weight loss.

The sun salutation is the most recognizable of the sequences that vinyasa provides, consisting of a series of stretching, bending and lunching poses done in fairly quick succession.

There are a number of standing and sitting positions that are designed to build your strength, balance and flexibility.

Plus, you can expect to do shoulder and head stands which are more for those who are advanced in the types of techniques that are being used.

However, the course is designed to help you work your way up to the more difficult levels. All in all, you can lose a significant amount of weight while doing this particular form of yoga when it is combined with eating a healthy diet.

You can certainly choose to do one or more of the different types of yoga that are being taught in classes or you can do them at home.

Depending on your physical condition, you can start with Hatha and then work your way up to Vinyasa if you so desire or you can simply choose one and stick to it so you can reach your physical, mental and spiritual goals.

Read more about the major types of yoga.

Yoga practitioners find fresh insights into their own consciousness as well as new, healthier outlooks on the world.

Everyone from students to professionals to corporate executives find their lives enriched. For demanding schedules and the need for top level fitness, this site provides tools and resources to find Yoga instruction to fit your family's needs.

If you can't find time to take yoga classes, see our selection of Yoga Videos for busy schedules.

For pregnant women and for after the baby comes, review Prenatal Yoga Instruction to learn safe stretching exercises.

Discover the most informative Yoga Exercise Books  - completely illustrated with easy to follow instructions.

Practice comfortably and safely with these portable Yoga Mats.   

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