There are five main branches of yoga. These traditional types of yoga include Tantric yoga, Karma yoga, Raja yoga, Jnana yoga and Bhakti yoga. These are not practiced on a yoga mat—they are the more internal and meditative aspects of classical yoga. In our yoga practice section, we primarily focus on the techniques and practices of hatha yoga, the physical or forceful path of yoga, which includes the physical poses and breathing techniques.
There are many modern styles of hatha yoga. The most popular styles of yoga classes are Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Hot yoga, Gentle yoga, Restorative yoga, and Yin yoga. These modern styles of yoga incorporate various amounts of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), kriya (cleansing practices), bandhas (energy locks), mudras (gestures), and meditation.
Yoga students practice yoga because it helps them feel better about ourselves. There are many amazing benefits of yoga—it makes us stronger, calmer, happier, healthier, and more flexible. Yoga also gives us a chance to connect with our bodies, minds, and spirits in ways that no other physical activity does. A regular yoga practice allows us to explore parts of ourselves that we might otherwise ignore. It provides a safe space where we can try new things, fail, and try again. It teaches us patience, perseverance, balance and humility.
Students and yoga teachers report multiple reasons for adopting and maintaining a regular yoga practice. Most yoga practitioners begin by adopting the practice of yoga for exercise and stress relief, but later discover other reasons, such as relaxation, flexibility, improved health, reduced depression, and anxiety relief. For many, the primary reason for maintaining a yoga practice is spirituality.
Our Yoga for Beginners guide will give you all the tips, guidelines and recommendations you will need to start a successful yoga practice.
In our Meditation Basics section you will find the tools needed to focus and still your mind. The techniques of meditation are simple and easy to learn, but the ability to keep the mind focused takes time, patience and practice. The benefits of a regular meditation practice include reduction of stress, tension, anxiety and frustration, as well as improved memory, concentration, inner peace and whole body well-being.
Asana is defined as “posture or pose;” its literal meaning is “seat.” We have over 100 yoga poses in our asana index with full instructions and multi-photo illustrations. Yoga postures are combined together to create a flow or sequence of poses.
Pranayamas are breathing exercises developed by the ancient yogis for purification. Prana translates into “life force energy” and Yama translates into “control or mastery of.” Thus, Pranyama is used to control, cultivate, and modify the Prana in the body.