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Acro Yoga: one of the different types of yoga

Different types of yoga

Hatha yoga, vinyasa flow, Ashtanga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, Anusara, Bikram, hot yoga, Iyengar, Kundalini yoga; there are so many different types of yoga that it’s sometimes hard to find out what what is. Most yoga types follow the Royal Path of yoga, only their focus on asanas is different. A little overview:

  • Acro Yoga is a combination of yoga, acrobatics and Thai yoga massage. By acro yoga you work in pairs; one is the base, the other one the flyer. The flyer does yoga poses (asanas) on the feet and/or hands of the base and is (by therapeutically flying) massaged by the base.
  • Anusara Yoga is a relatively new type of yoga (1997), which focusses on opening the heart to connect with the divine in yourself and others. It combines a strict principle of alignment (coming from Iyengar) with a playful spirit.
  • Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga is a physically, demanding type of yoga, where synchronized breathing is paired with a progressive and continuous series of postures. The idea is to produce a enormous internal heat which purifies and detoxes old emotions, bad karma, muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not really suitable for beginners. Ashtanga in this way was first taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
  • Bikram yoga is yoga done in a sauna-like room, which is heated up to 40 degrees Celsius.Bikram yoga is a series of 26 basic yoga postures, each performed twice. It’s named after it’s founder Bikram Choudhury, a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963. According to him the heat more promotes flexibility, detoxification and prevents of injuries.
  • Hatha is an easy-to-learn, basic form of yoga where poses are done one by one and teachers take a lot of time to explain the pose and it’s alignment.
  • Iyengar Yoga, named after and developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, focusses on body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. In Iyengar you slowly move into a pose, hold it for a minute or so and then rest for a bit, before moving into another asana. Because the focus is so big on alignment a lot of props (blocks, straps etc) are used in Iyengar yoga.
  • Kundalini practice concentrates on awakening the kundalini energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. Kundalini classes are a mix of asanas, chanting, meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Power Yoga is Vinyasa flow yoga, with a Western twist; emphasizes on poses where a lot of strenght is required. Meditation, chanting are mostly no part of the class. It’s more a physical exercise than a spiritual and starts to loose touch with what yoga is about.
  • Restorative Yoga focuses on ‘curing’ the body by realigning it with help of gravity.  In a restorative yoga class you’ll spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and yoga bolsters – passively allowing muscles to relax.
  • Vinyasa flow:Vinyasa is Sanskrit and means ‘connection’; so in Vinyasa flow we ‘connect’: we connect the poses and we connect the poses with our breathing. Mostly Vinyasa is explained as breath synchronized movement. Krisnamacharya is the father of Vinyasa flow. As in Ashtanga the goal is to produce a enormous internal heat which purifies and detoxes old emotions, bad karma, muscles and organs. Freeing us of the ‘garbage’ and behavioral patterns we have collected over the years (and passed lives). It’s a physically active form of yoga that can be hard or easy.
  • Yin Yoga sees all the other forms of asana practice as yang; strong, targeting the muscles. Yin targets the connective tissues of the ligaments, fascia, joints and bones. A significant characteristic is the long held, passive nature of the postures. Because our nadis (meridians) are in our connective muscles yin yoga also elevates blockages in our nadi, letting energy flow freely through our body again.
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