Since its humble origins deep in the Indian subcontinent centuries ago, yoga has been continually modified and rejuvenated. Right now, though, this ancient practice of mind and body is clearly undergoing a phenomenal renais- j 1 sance in both the East and West, adapting to different environments and peoples India.
China, Japan, Europe and the USA. Inevitably, there is now an abundance of styles (and gurus) to suit every culture. Some contemporary styles borrow heavily from classical yoga (Patanjali, Kundalini, Andjnana), others from the Tantra traditions. Many have fused their styles with spiritual aspects. Others are simply designed for individuals who want to improve their physical appearance and general health. What you feel you need will help lead you to the right class, but you should try to check out the ethos of the classes.
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Classifying a particular yoga method is bound to attract controversy, but we have to understand that any good idea will be taken up by others and evolve. Yoga can be compared to cooking a curry. From one basic recipe you can create hundreds of dishes by varying the temperature, adding different spices, creating infusions of differing herbs the end result is still a curry, but with its own unique name and flavour. It is extremely difficult to sum up in a few lines the concept of a particular style. This does not purport to be a definitive list of the types of yoga nor, for the cynics, is it a glossary – merely a taster. But if my brief synopsis sounds like your dish of curry then find out more – there’s yoga out there to suit just about anyone’s palate.
Yoga styles of today Abhava yoga is the yoga of self-annihilation through meditative practice. The senses are withdrawn to achieve a state of non-existence. (See also Samadhi yoga.)
Abhidhyan yoga is based on Tantra traditions, following three fundamental practices: insight meditation. poses, and yogic ethical principles. Founded by Anatole Ruslanov in the 1990s, it requires you to put yourself in the hands of a teacher to guide you through your spiritual journey.
Adhyatma yoga could go back to the Katha Upa-nishad, an ancient book from the 5th century BC. Yoga techniques are used for self-discovery and to uncover the power of the force located in the heart.
Agni yoga is named after ag. which means fire in Sanskrit. Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. Practitioners aim to purify the body, mind and spirit by accessing prana and activating the kundalini. Introduced in the 1920s, it is also known as integration yoga and yoga of synthesis because the body, mind and spirit are aligned with inner fire. (See also Kundalini yoga and Laya yoga.)
Ahara yoga teaches that mind, body and spirit are the manifestations of what we eat. Systems to control one’s consumption of food underpin the spiritual, mental and physical training. Classical yoga texts make references to the importance of eating correctly and what one should, or should not, eat d drink.
Ajapa yoga is a fusion of the pranayama and meditative practices of ancient times. Its first modern Bflfcer can be traced to the 19th-century Guru nanda (1834-1928). Popular in Europe, India USA.
Ananda yoga was inspired by the teachings of Iramhansa Yogananda It uses various techniques to cleanse the spirit and strengthen the mind and body.
Anna yoga pays close attention to the types of food that are consumed, their effects on the mind, body and spirit, and the environment in which they are produced. It incorporates practices of Ahara yoga (see 5).
Anusara yoga is a derivation of Hatha yoga Founded in the USA in 1997 by John Friend, it emphasises that everyone has an inner grace which can be developed through mind and body exercises.