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August 2012

The Power Of Yoga In All Its Forms

Uttara Sharma
Yoga, the ancient Indian practice by which people seek a disciplined balance between body, mind and soul continues to evolve through the years. It meets the needs of all people no matter what their individual rank and file. Different types of Yoga are practised today. While being grounded in common roots, each form of Yoga - whether established or evolving - has its own unique features. Listed here are the select Uttara Sharma features of some forms of Yoga.

Hatha Yoga

  • Hatha Yoga is the most popular branch of Yoga. Power Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga and Kundalini Yoga have all originated from Hatha Yoga. The word ‘hatha’ comes from the Sanskrit terms ‘ha’ meaning ‘Sun’ and ‘tha’ meaning ‘Moon’. Thus, Hatha Yoga is known as that branch of Yoga that unites pairs of opposites referring to the positive (Sun) and negative (Moon) currents in the system.
  • Hatha Yoga helps its practitioner cope with stress, relieve tension, and deal with anxiety and depression.
  • Celebrity practitioners: Shilpa Shetty, Madonna, Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid, Jon Bon Jovi, Heather Graham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ricky Martin, Adam Levine, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore.
Kundalini Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga focuses on the centres of awakening the Kundalini, the energy (serpent power or Bhujangini), which is found at the base of our spine or the Muladhara Chakra.
  • Kundalini Yoga is said to be the most powerful form of Yoga today.
Power Yoga
  • Power Yoga is the Western version of the Indian Ashtanga Yoga, which emphasizes developing one’s physical flexibility and nurtures the desire for self-discipline.
  • Power Yoga is performed with the help of a series of Yoga poses while synchronizing one’s breathing patterns with each movement or Vinyasa, resulting in actions with perfect unity and grace.
  • The movements may seem soft and free flowing for a person who does not practice Yoga. But for a Power Yogi, it is a vigorous exercise that involves pushing and contorting every limb to its limit while maintaining a strong sense of inner peace and concentration to pull off each move gracefully and flawlessly.
  • Celebrity practitioners: Kareena Kapoor and Sridevi are fans of this form of Yoga!
Ashtanga Yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga is for those who are interested in a serious workout. It includes challenging sequences of poses with Ujjayi breathing and Vinyasas.
  • Ashtanga is physically demanding. Participants move through a series of flows, jumping from one posture to another.
  • Ashtanga Yoga practice helps in achieving increased strength, flexibility and stamina.
Hot Yoga
  • Hot Yoga is about practising selected asanas or Yoga postures in a heated room.
  • The heat helps the body warm up while it relaxes the muscles, thereby increasing its flexibility and preventing injury.
  • The heat also increases cardiovascular activity and helps burn more calories.
  • The temperature also allows for more sweating that helps the body to get rid of toxins faster.
  • Celebrity practitioners: The father-daughter duo of Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.
Iyengar Yoga
  • Iyengar Yoga is named after B K S Iyengar who is one of the best-known Yoga teachers and also the creator of the most popular style of Yoga in the world.
  • The Iyengar style is noted for great attention to detail and precise alignment of postures.
  • He also popularised the use of Yoga Props such as blocks and belts. The props help its practioners to achieve the best possible pose. It also provides support and minimises the risk of injuries.
  • One of the most popular poses in Iyengar Yoga is the Tadasana or the Mountain Pose.
Uttara Sharma Yoga Professional, Specialist in Weight Loss & Stress Management, Hyderabad.