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General Knowledge about Types of Yoga
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October 20, 2007 - 10:48 am
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Thank you for the summary of the nine main forms of Yoga from India. Can anyone explain the origin of flow Yoga? I realize this is a contemporary Yoga style, but it is very popular on both sides of the Pacific Rim.

Yoga Paul

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October 23, 2007 - 3:43 am
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Namaskar Reli,

Flow Yoga is a form of Yoga, which usually descends from Hatha or Raja (Ashtanga) lineage.

Not to make this confusing, but Kali Ray's Tri Yoga is also called Flow Yoga and she mentioned that the lineage of her style gs back to Kundalini Yoga.

Therefore, the style you are familiar with is from one, or all three, of these forms of Yoga.

Om Shanti,


Don Briskin

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November 1, 2007 - 11:20 pm
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Many forms of flow Yoga are also derived from a style of Yoga taught by T. Krishnamacharya. His "Vinyasa Krama" involved very fluid transitions from asana to asana in specific sequences coordinated with slow ujjayi breathing. I think one of the best discussions on this Yoga style is in the recent book by Srivatsa Ramaswami called "The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga". Moreover, the Preface and Introduction chapters present a nice general discussion and historical perspective on Yoga practice.




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November 2, 2007 - 12:10 pm
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This is a very good point Don. Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya could easily be considered the father of modern Yoga. Among his many students were Sri BKS Iyengar, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, A.G. Mohan, Srivatsa Ramaswami and his son T.K.V. Desikachar.



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November 26, 2007 - 1:15 am
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Hi! I'm a newbie here, thanks so much for these info. I can say that it's very helpful especially to those who are new to this practice. Keep it up! :D


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November 26, 2007 - 7:32 am
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Pranam Chloee,

Although you may be new to this site, if you had anything to do with the ABC of Yoga site, you have done very well. ABC of Yoga is an excellent site for anyone who wants reliable information. They also have a page about Types of Yoga:

Om Shanti,


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August 17, 2010 - 6:38 am
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I am harpreet and thank for the information because it enhances my existing knowledge. Recognized as one of the finest Yoga centers in the world, Aura Wellness Center is dedicated to promoting the authentic tradition of Yoga, in an environment normally associated with an ashram.

Hari Aum Tat Sat


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July 2, 2010 - 1:46 pm
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The Different Types of Yoga

By Jerry Golez

Yoga practicing are usually focused on three aspects; Asanas (physical exercise), Dhyana (meditation), and Pranayama (breathing). It has a great focus on spirituality although the blending of mind, body and spirit must be considered.

There are variations of yoga practiced nowadays, but there is superior style compared to the other. Each yoga style has its own distinction and has their different virtues to offer. Some of the yoga styles are for physical strength and the others are for mind skill. The types of yoga are:

Hatha Yoga

The most popular yoga in the west is Hatha Yoga. It came from the Sanskrit terms "ha" or sun and "tha" which means moon, it refers to the positive and negative energy flows in human body like the concept of Yin and Yang. This type of yoga is better to start in a contemplative mood by sitting quietly and calming down. Hatha yoga motivates digestive, epidermal, cardiovascular, endocrine, and nervous systems. The result is emotional stability, mental clarity and a physical wellness.

Bhakti Yoga

This is the yoga for focused love and devotion. Bhakti yoga is one of the oldest type of yoga styles, the practice is said to be directly connected with God. The name derived from the term "Bhak" meaning "to be attached with God". It mainly implies to follow a vegetarian diet that maintains calm body system and not stimulated excessively.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana is a perfect spiritual knowledge that uses power of wisdom. It derived from the Sanskrit term that means power of mind. This type basically is from the nondualism philosophy of Hindus. The philosophy believes the difference between illusion and reality, and everything in the world shares a single soul.

Karma Yoga

This style is the most practiced yoga; it emphasizes spiritual practices to suppress contamination in the body and mind. Karma yoga is based in the theory of cause and effect, it proves that every good action will produce good result and thus evil actions will produce evil results.

Kundalini Yoga

This is the yoga for consciousness, it was introduced by Sikh Yogi Bhajan and it includes breathing exercises, finger movements, Asanas, meditation and chanting.

Mantra Yoga

Mantra is known for suggestive yoga. It means it reiterates the union of voice and sound. The word, syllable or phrase is repeatedly uttered several times until the practitioner transcends the emotions and then the super-conscious will be experienced and revealed.

If you are looking to pick up yoga, you will need a good yoga mat. You can find the best yoga mats at


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September 8, 2010 - 12:51 pm
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The Yoga System
By Jackie Reyno

Hindu Culture has given to the world the practice of yoga which works to balance and create harmony with body control and mind control thereby seeks to take the practitioner to a higher consciousness. The system has been practiced in India for centuries together and times immemorial. The yoga system consists of breathing exercises that stills the mind and improves mind control, besides the asanas or exercises for the body parts coupled with meditation.

Few of the well known yoga systems are:

Ananda: Ideal for beginners and for those who are new to the science of Yoga. Involves basic exercises that improves body flexibility and does not involve chanting or meditation.

Kundalini Yoga Practice: Involves awakening the energy in the body through concentrated breathing techniques. This was one of the earliest yogic systems to be introduced in the west.

Bikaram Yoga: Involves physical exercising combined with breathing technique, practiced under intense heat of around 100 degrees room temperature to help improve body flexibility. The asanas are 26 in number that are repeated several times.

Astanga Yoga: is taught using different asanas in combination that involves exercising all parts of the body in an order. The asanas are practices in fluid movement continuously and results in greater control and improved stamina in the body.

Kripalu: Meditation and breathing techniques in combination to gain body and mind control and alignment.

Integral: Builds overall body flexibility and improves co ordination through basic exercises. This is ideal for beginners who want an introduction to yoga.

Anasura: Introduces spiritual practices through body and mind alignment.

Iyengar: System promotes body flexibility, control as well as cure for physical ailments through body exercises which can be done with the help of props, pillows, cushions, rope etc.

Yoga promotes the physical, mental and spiritual wellbing in human society. Depending upon what you are looking for and your goal, appropriate system can be chosen as a practice and make further progress to higher practices.

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February 1, 2011 - 7:15 pm
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Introduction to Yoga in All Its Forms

By Sammi Coxmacqueen

Yoga Citta Vritti-Nirodhah - Yoga is the stilling of the mind Lake. Only when the Lake is Still and Calm can the beautiful jewel lying deep below be seen in all its glory. The jewel being the Atman or Pure Self. The Real You without the Mask.

To still the chatter of the mind is indeed an awesome task but it can be done. Yoga has a variety of methods with which to tame the unsteady mind and the undisciplined body. These include Asanas (Postures held over time) Pranayama (Breathing techniques) and Meditation practices. All of these work on both the physical and mental levels to bring back harmony and balance. They help make the body and mind strong and free from 'dis-ease' by influencing the internal systems such as the lymphatic, circulatory, endocrine and the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. Even the autonomic nervous system has been shown to respond to yogic techniques of relaxation, so that its sympathetic and parasympathetic branches are able to function efficiently rather than one going into overdrive or underdrive which results in feelings of stress, anxiety and many other modern day illnesses/allergies.

We do not need to know or understand these terms to feel the effects on our general well being. Just by practising yoga we begin to notice that the quality of our sleep and wakefulness improves. We have more energy, more joy in living in the present. Others begin to comment that we have 'changed'. Perhaps the first signs of change may be a more toned body or a more relaxed attitude; An ability to communicate and get along better with others; A sense of fun. Deeper changes will come as you practise and your awareness deepens. Your changing perceptions may alter your values and purpose in life, which in turn may lead to different circles of friends and places, which will encourage further growth. You may choose not to go this deep as you will soon realise not everyone wants you to 'change' too much! It is your choice, your journey, your 'Karma'.

So what exactly is Yoga? The word Yoga is from 'Yug' meaning to unite or form a spiritual union. If followed as a way of life it can lead to 'self realization' or ultimately to Samadhi which is a superconscious state where the meditator, the meditation process and the object of meditation become one: Union with 'God'. However, Yoga is not a religion: it is a spiritual practice used by Christians, Jews, Buddhists and agnostics! There are many different paths offered to reach this ultimate goal and because of our different natures we are usually drawn more towards one.

Raja Yoga: The Royal Path. Has two major sub-divisions:

A. Patanjali, a sage in ancient India, describes the eight stepped path (Ashtanga means eight limbs). This way deals directly with the Mind.

Yamas (Restraints) Truth, non-violence, control of sexual energies, non-stealing, non-attachment.

Niyamas (Observances) Austerity, purity, self-study, contentment, surrender of the ego.

Asanas - Postures. This is the popular understanding of yoga e.g. the Lotus or Headstand.

Pranayama - Control and direction of a subtle life force which brings energy into the mind and body. Usually translated as breath control exercises but it is much more than this.

Pratyahara - Sense withdrawal

Dharana - Concentration on an internal or external object

Dhyana - Meditation..A Deeper state without any distractions

Samadhi - Absorbed in the Absolute. All sense of duality disappears. The last three stages are known as SAMYAMA.

B. Kundalini Yoga: Emphasises 'pranayama', works on purifying the 'nadis' (Astral tubes or energy centres) and seeks to awaken the Kundalini (spiritual energy coiled at the base of the spine). It describes the psychic system and also aims to still the mind. This is still a form of Raja yoga and follows the Ashtanga eight limbs; there is just a difference in emphasis and techniques.

Minor Sub-divisions include:

a. Hatha Yoga - where Asanas, Pranayamas, Mudras and Bandhas (energy seals and locks) and Kriyas (cleansing techniques) are taught to varying degrees. This is the most popular form of yoga in the West.

b. Nada yoga - uses music

c. Laya yoga - concentration on inner sounds and lights.

d. Mantra yoga - sacred sounds (sanskrit the holy language).

e. Yantra - geometrical forms and patterns to stimulate and induce meditation. N.B. In a Chakra meditation (Chakras are wheels of energy- light and colour) several techniques can be combined. e.g. Music, voice, colour.

Jnana Yoga: The Philosophical Path. Using Viveka (Discrimination) and Vairagya (Dispassion) one seeks to lift Maya or illusion and thus 'see' the world as it really is. Deep study of the Vedas (Metaphysical texts) and self-enquiry. Requires a sharp intellect.

Karma Yoga: The Action Path. Service without thought of reward. Followed by those who wish to follow an active path and remain working in the world as part of a community. They seek unity within diversity.

Bhakti Path: Devotional Path. Creative, emotional individuals who sublimate their feelings through yoga techniques and turn them into pure devotion. 'God' is seen in all beings. This path uses Mantras, chanting, meditation. The paths are therefore distinct from the teaching styles and schools, which you will encounter when you seek out a teacher or book. Most teaching in the West follows the Hatha Yoga path - the yoga that begins with physical bodywork.

Four of the main schools are:

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Made popular by Sting, Madonna etc... This style was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois and is a flowing, strong and powerful workout. You need to be fit before you start unless you are lucky enough to find a good teacher who will take you in stages.

Iyengar teachers follow B K S Iyengar's method of attention to alignment. They use a lot of standing poses to build strength initially. They also use props such as belts and blocks, chairs and walls.

Viniyoga teachers follow T K V Desikachar and offer individual and small group work with partner sequences. They emphasise step by step progression with awareness of the breath. These three teaching methods all derive from the three students of Sri Krishnamacharya (A revered guru who lived in south India). The last one was his son!

Sivananda teachers follow the teachings of Swami Sivananda and his disciple Vishnu-Devananda who brought this type of yoga to the West. It teaches twelve basic postures following the Rishikesh sequence, some breathing techniques and has a more spiritual leaning with the use of sanskrit chants.

Some teachers dip into and learn from several schools and from their own introspection. Do not be put off by all these different routes. Find a class and just try it or buy a Book, CD or Video. We live in an age where we have access to so many 'gurus' (one who can lead you out of the darkness). They do not have to be a person we follow blindly. We can listen to our inner voice, read, explore. The story of how Krishna gave yoga to the world is told in the Bhagavad Gita. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which offer true insight into the workings of the mind and how to still it for a peaceful life, are available with commentaries by many different authors to explain their meanings. The Chief text devoted to Hatha Yoga is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika - it means Light on Hatha Yoga and it describes the techniques of Kriyas, Pranayamas, Mudras/Bandhas and Asanas. It also recommends a 'Nutritious and Moderate diet'. If you want to read something lighter as a general introduction, try Yoga Mind and Body by the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre. Pub. Dorling Kindersley. I also recommend any works by J. Krishnamurti; especially Meeting Life. Pub. Arkana.

CDs are available from the yogawise site which provide a good introduction and practise for those interested in exploring further although finding a teacher and going on a deep retreat is even better. Do not be afraid to try Yoga. I have students who range from 7 to 75 years who come in all shapes and sizes; all levels of ability. Yogis measure age on the number of breaths we take in a lifetime and the flexiblity of our spines! Most yogis look ten years younger than their chronological age. Keep trying until you find a way to bring yoga into your life. You will never regret it. Om shanti shanti shanti Peace from within Peace from outside Peace from all living beings

With Love


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February 15, 2011 - 3:31 am
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There are 2 major types of yoga. Flow and no flow.

Flow, also known as Vinyasa, consists of many movements that continuously transist from one pose to the next making it a very intense workout which raises your heart rate and gets you sweating.

No flow is the yoga we typically think of. Poses are more static and held for longer periods of time with a period of rest in between. This is still great for getting in shape but it does not have the level of intensity of a cardio workout such as in flow.

What to expect with Vinyasa yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a very unique process which incorporates breathing and stretching in sync with your instructor's guidance. It's important to follow the counts for the pose as directed.

There are 3 basic techniques with a Vinyasa workout: The Plank, Chaturanga and Upward Facing Dog. With enough practice, these basic poses should become one basic movement.


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February 17, 2011 - 9:27 pm
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Yoga - More Than Postures and Poses!

By Cherry C Kulshrestha

The term Yoga most often brings to fore the images of convoluted postures/asanas but what we fail to realize is that there is much more to this ancient science than mere physical activity. Yoga, when practiced, can help one attain a harmonious union between the body, mind and spirit.

Relief from ailments and illnesses, such as diabetes, blood pressure, obesity, hypertension or body pain, are simply by-products of the practice. Yoga maintains our general health, improves flexibility and detoxifies our body. Apart from the physical benefits, the diligent practice of Yoga also has a wondrous influence on all the other spheres of our life. It helps us maintain high levels of energy and enthusiasm throughout the day. While sharpening our awareness it also helps us keep a calm and peaceful temperament thereby substantially improving our efficiency and aiding better decision-making. It immensely enhances our creativity. The happiness and joy that radiates has a positive influence on the people in our life as a consequence of which our relationships are strengthened. These benefits are a few among the many others.

The scriptures mention many paths of Yoga - Gnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.

Gnana Yoga is the Yoga through knowledge gained from ancient scriptures and experiences. Learned masters declare that mere reading of books will not suffice as it will only lead to a bloated ego. Reading scriptures and knowledge should be complemented with the experiential knowledge of the self, leading to the realization of the Ultimate Truth. Bhakti Yoga, on the other hand, is the path of unconditional love and devotion towards the divine. Strong and unrelenting devotion leads to an experience of total freedom from fear or worry. Karma Yoga focuses on ones duties in life towards the society and nature. Selfless action and 100% effort towards the duty, without being bothered and agitated about the result, brings fulfillment and joy. Hatha Yoga deals with practice of powerful, physical workout through postures which aid in strengthening and improving the flexibility of the body. The physical activity is beautifully blended with some breathing techniques which harmonize the body and mind. Raja Yoga pays attention to the cultivation of mind through meditation resulting in a peaceful and happy state of mind. Kundalini Yoga is the practice of techniques which awaken and regulate the flow of the subtle body energy (prana).

Patanjali, known as the propounder of Yoga, wrote the Yoga Sutras in which he gives a lucid explanation about the eight limbs of Yoga consisting of -

Yama - social ethics

Niyama - personal ethics

Asanas - postures and poses

Pranayamas - breathing excercises

Pratyahara - taking the sense inwards

Dharana - one-pointed focus

Dhyana - Meditation

Samadhi- highest state of consciousness.

Yoga when combined with a good diet and Ayurveda accelerates progress. The paths of Yoga can be integrated into the lifestyle of any person - children, homemakers, students, office-goers, frequent travelers etc. It can be practiced almost anywhere. Moreover, each Yogi gets the customized benefits, apt for their situation in life at that time. Without wasting much time, let us aim to conscientiously practice Yoga!

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February 14, 2019 - 1:20 am
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I am a yoga instructor and want to share my yoga knowledge here in this platform. If you want to learn yoga, then i must prefer you to join Yoga Teacher Training in India where you will learn deep aspects of yoga.

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