Types of Yoga

Though the final goal of yoga is holistic well being, based on the technique and origin yoga can be classified into 8 types. They are described as under:

Bhakti Yoga

is one of the oldest forms of yoga. Its origin is based on devotion to God and has its genesis in Bhagawad Gita. It involves hearing, worshipping, singing, surrendering, bowing and serving the God.

Ashtanga Yoga

is derived from Patanjali’s yoga sutras. It is also known as Raja yoga and is defined by the 8 tenets – Yama (Moral code), Niyama (discipline), Dharana (concentration), Pranayama (breathing techniques), Yogasanas (postures), Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), Dhyana (meditation) and finally Samdhi (salvation). These types of yoga are suitable for those taking baby steps in spirituality.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga is one of the types of yoga focused on the actions of a person. This originated from the philosophy of Bhagawad Gita that advocates its practitioners to perform their duty without expecting rewards in return.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is considered to be the path to enlightenment. According to this form of yoga latent energy is present in the basal part of the spine (kundalini). This can be tapped by a combination of meditation, chants and asanas that release the energy through the 7 chakras situated in various parts of the body.

Hatha Yoga

combines the 4 aspects of yoga: asanas (postures), mudras (symbols), pranayama (breathing exercises) and shatkriyas (purification process) to prepare the body meditation. It is similar to Ashtanga Yoga and aims at salvation though Samadhi.

Jnana Yoga

is another by product of the Bhagawad Gita in which Krishna describes the significance of knowledge in self awareness and action. Adi Shankara developed to its current form and said that only knowledge (Jnana) and devotion (Bhakti) can lead to salvation. Jnana yoga brings self control and discipline to the person’s life. 

Mantra Yoga

is the chanting of verses from the Vedas to achieve peace and increase concentration. The mantras are set in specific metres that regulate breathing and hence are one form of pranayama. They release some sounds that are known to calm the mind and free us from anxieties and worries.

Swara Yoga

can be traced to Shiva Svarodaya (a manuscript) for its origin. This form of yoga involves producing swaras or musical notes that regulate air flow through the nostrils. Essentially the effect is similar to pranayama. It is known to make a person conscious of actions.