There are many types of yoga, each with a different intention.Yoga is a catch-all term for various physical, spiritual and self-mastery disciplines that have their origins in India.

The word yoga (in Sanskrit) means “to unite” or “to join.” Most scholars agree that the term refers to the unity of body and soul, or the mind and the body.

Some variations of yoga focus on developing discipline of the mind, others focus on developing physical strength, flexibility and health and others focus on purity of the mind and body. It is central to Buddhism and its terminology has roots in ancient Sanskrit Vedic teachings. Many people use yoga as a spiritual tool, but many (particularly in the West) use yoga as part of an exercise program and for its health benefits.

Yoga is also considered a type of moving meditation that requires present-focus, concentration and self-discipline.

Many types of yoga are practiced worldwide: the following gives a brief description of the ten most commonly practiced variations and the intended purpose of each style.

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1. Hatha Yoga: the foundation of all yoga styles, Hatha Yoga is easy to learn, beginner-friendly and can be used for physical, mental and spiritual purposes. It combines controlled breathing with asanas (poses) and meditation. It is very popular for stress reduction and a great way for non-meditators to experience the benefits of meditation. While it is great exercise, it is much gentler and inward-focused than some other forms of yoga. Hatha yoga lends itself perfectly to both spiritual and secular intentions.

2. Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga: Ashtanga Yoga is a very physically demanding style of yoga. It involves a continuously flowing series of poses, focused breathing and results in a detoxification of the organs and muscles. It is a yoga often practiced for health and fitness benefits since it improves circulation, builds great strength, stamina, flexibility. Its mental benefits are self-control, calm and focus. This type of yoga is not recommended for beginners or pregnant women due to its strenuous nature and advanced poses.

Anusara Yoga is one of the less 3. Bikram Yoga: also known as “hot yoga,” Bikram Yoga is a new form of yoga that originated in the 1960s. It is named after Bikram Chowdry, a 1963 Olympic weightlifter. Its hallmark is that this type of yoga is practiced in a heated environment with temperatures hovering between 95 and 105 degrees F. This heated environment aids in flexibility and detoxification.  It is focused on developing physical strength, endurance and flexibility. While great for beginners, pregnant women should avoid Bikram yoga.

4. Anusara Yoga: a very new style of yoga dating from the late 1990s, Anusara is far less “serious” than other styles. It incorporates all of the principles of traditional asanas (very strict alignment of the body combined with regulated breathing) but with a more playful manner intent on opening the heart chakra and experiencing a joyful divine connection.

5. Ananda Yoga: this very gentle style of yoga is intended to prepare the individual for meditation. Proper alignment, stretching and controlled breathing are used to promote the flexibility needed to sit in the Lotus position; and the asanas move energy with the intent of relaxing and focusing the mind. This type of yoga is excellent for anyone looking to increase flexibility and range of motion, or anyone wanting to learn to meditate.

6. Kundalini Yoga: the focus here is awakening the kundalini energy at the base of the spine, and drawing it upward through the chakras. Chanting is sometimes used along with regulated breathing, asanas and meditation. This is a very spiritual type of yoga less focused on development of the body as it is on freeing blocked energy and promoting its flow.

Power yoga is a new, high-intensity, very physical style.7. Power Yoga: This American style of yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga Yoga (pure Ashtanga Yoga is not power yoga, although it is commonly mistaken for it). The asanas include non-traditional yoga poses like push-ups and handstands – and there is little or no pause between the asanas. This very dynamic, intensive flow from one asana to another produces purifying sweat, and builds power, endurance, flexibility and gives more aerobic benefits than any other style of Yoga. Its intent is mainly physical development, and this physically demanding style should be avoided by beginners, pregnant women and the elderly.

8. Kripalu Yoga is also known as the “Yoga of Consciousness.” It is very gentle and introspective. The poses are held for extended periods, allowing the practitioner to engage in self-awareness in order to release emotional and spiritual blockages. The precision alignment of other styles is not present in Kripalu – what’s more important is the use of movement and stillness to move energy within the body. Kripalu is an excellent choice for beginners, pregnant women and the elderly.

9. Vinyasa Yoga is another very active, physically demanding style of yoga that focuses on the coordination of breath and movement. This becomes a very meditative practice since the difficulty of the poses is combined with specific breathing patterns – making for a very quiet mind and present-awareness.

10. Iyengar Yoga practitioners use asanas that are held even longer than in other styles. The pace is very slow and poses are held for a minute or longer. The practice encourages less-flexible practitioners to gently ease into the practice with the use of cushions, straps and blocks. It’s a great practice for beginners (especially those who have been sedentary) the elderly and for pregnant women. It is one of the most popular styles of yoga taught today and has been widely used as physical therapy and recovery from injury.

Choose a style of yoga that resonates with your intentions.Which style you choose depends on several factors: your intention; your level of physical fitness and flexibility; and whether you resonate with the teacher or the studio.

You might wonder if you can use your Omharmonics soundtracks to accompany your yoga practice. The answer is yes. You will create a relaxing ambience, but be aware that you will not be receiving the benefits of brainwave entrainment while you listen through a stereo (with no headphones).

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