Nine Internationally Recognized Styles of Hatha Yoga

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Hatha yoga focuses on the physical and breathing aspects of yoga. From the Sanskrit ‘ha’ for ‘sun,’ ‘tha’ for ‘moon’ and ‘yoga’ for yoking, hatha yoga emphasizes bringing opposites together with the practice of asana, or physical postures, and pranayama, or breathing methods. The goal is to balance the body and encourage ease in mind-calming exercise.


The late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois promoted Ashtanga yoga, a tough, sweat-inducing practice of matching breath to a particular series of movements. The goal is to construct heat and detoxify muscles and organs to soothe the mind and strengthen the body. A popular variation of Ashtanga is power yoga.


Iyengar Yoga is named for its founder, B.K.S. Iyengar of Pune, India. The Iyengar design highlights precise placement to establish strength, adaptability, stamina and concentration. The use of props makes this style available to specialists of all levels.


Inspired by the teachings of T.K.V. Desikachar, Viniyoga originates from the Sanskrit for ‘adaptation’ and uses yoga as an individual practice. Asanas and pranayama are adapted to a person’s requirements along with a study of ancient texts, chanting, individual routine, chanting and meditation.


Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini yoga to the west in 1969. Kundalini concentrates on unfurling the energy coiled at the base of the spinal column and raising it through the body’s chakras for a spiritual awakening. Kundalini yoga uses less usual asanas, every one of which are meant to open energy pathways.


The teachings of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India, highlight 5 points of yoga: asanas, pranayama, relaxation, diet plan and positive thinking. A Sivananda course advertises these points with 12 standard asanas performed in a slow-moving, meditative design.


From the Sanskrit for ‘streaming with grace,’ Anusara yoga was founded by former Iyengar trainer John Buddy in 1997. This heart-opening practice focuses on aligning your mindset and activities with grace through asana, pranayama and mind-calming exercise.


The objective of Integral Yoga, as specified by creator Sri Swami Satchidananda, is ‘to live harmoniously as members of one universal family.’ An Integral hatha yoga practice includes asana, pranayama and leisure.


Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon explain their design as ‘a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings.’ From the Sanskrit words for ‘liberation while living.’ Jivamukti yoga incorporates a flowing series of asanas with ancient yoga texts, music, chanting, reflection and political activism.


Created by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a set sequence of 26 asanas exercised in a 105-degree Fahrenheit space to mimic the conditions of India. These 26 asanas help flush out your system, enhance circulation and boost oxygen intake.