There are quite a number of types of yogas these days that try to differentiate themselves from one another and emphasize certain aspects of yoga. If you live in a moderately large city, you should be able to find several different kinds of studios and teachers, including:

  • Hatha Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga

Hatha Yoga (HAA-THAA)

Hatha yoga is the most traditional of the yogas. The name means willful or forceful, and the word is a combination of hat, sun and ha, moon. It works with the energy centers of the body, flesh and bone. The main focus is on surrendering to and perfecting the many poses. There are levels of practitioners who can do increasingly difficult poses for flexibility.

Here’s a short video about what Hatha yoga is from the Isha Foundation. In this video Sadhguru introduces us to the fundamentals of what hatha yoga is and how imbibing hatha yoga can activate the two basic dimensions within us – the Sun and the Moon:

Vinyasa Yoga (Vin-YAH-sah)

Vinyasa yoga is also known as flow yoga. It uses the same asanas as hatha but they are put into sequences whereby the body is in constant motion as it moves smoothly from one pose to the next. The word vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement”, with the asana being performed in conjunction with inhale and exhale patterns.

In the short video below Adrienne tackles the many meanings of Vinyasa yoga:

Kundalini Yoga (CUNH-dah-LEE-KNEE)

Kundalini yoga emphasizes the balance of mind, body and spirit through the moving of energy in the body. Kundalini yoga has some postures that are not found in any other forms of yoga. These poses, or asanas, are specifically designed to move physical energy up the spine and the main energy channel of the body in traditional medicine, which is known as the central channel. It does not require a lot of flexibility or stamina and can be done by anyone at any age.

In the video below from Universal Quest, Raja Choudhury and a few invited guests, including Dr. Karan Singh, answers many questions about what Kundalini yoga is, and what it can do for you. He also explains what Chakras are, where this knowledge came from, and what the science behind all this is.

Bikram Yoga (BEAK-Rahm)

Bikram yoga, founded in the 1970s, is also referred to as hot yoga. It is relatively simple in some ways because it uses 2 breathing exercises and 26 Hatha yoga postures done in the same pattern every day for every lesson. In the studio, temperatures range from 80F to 110F and relative humidity around 75%. This can also cause severe dehydration and pose a serious health risk. Therefore, while Bikram studios are popping up all over the place, it is not recommended for seniors or anyone with an underlying health issue.

In the video below, The American Council on Exercise (ACE), known as “America’s Workout Watchdog”, commissioned an independent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to evaluate the physiological responses associated with participating in a Bikram yoga class. Led by John Porcari, PhD, researchers recruited 20 apparently healthy female and male volunteers who all regularly practiced Bikram yoga, and monitored their heart rates and core temperatures throughout a Bikram class. After analyzing data, the researchers observed a steady increase of core temperature, which can pose concern for some participants.

If you are a beginner and/or senior, try Hatha yoga or Kundalini yoga if there is a studio near you, and see what a difference yoga can make to your health and vitality.

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