types of yoga

You won’t believe some of these different types of Yoga and their benefits.  

There are 28 different types of Yoga with benefits that range from fitness to relaxation to weight loss to spiritual awakening. 

Between all these different yogic forms, you might wonder just how you can choose the best one for you. 

In this guide, I’ll show you the very best (and a few hilarious) forms and what they can do for you.   Whether you’re a beginner just looking to get started, or you’re interested in mastering your knowledge and becoming a yoga teacher, you will get a lot out of this guide. 

You need to know which type of Yoga will compliment your lifestyle and boost your health (mentally and physically) based on your individual needs.

There are lots of different types of Yoga, and the benefits vary for each one. 

I’ve been studying this practice for ten years. And in writing this article, I have consulted many yoga teachers and have read very many research papers. Why? To help you get started with Yoga.

Doing the wrong type will not help you.

Doing Kundalini when you should be doing Yin is a recipe for failure.

You’ve got to know which practice matches your character.

Here’s how.

How to use this guide:

1) Save this guide somewhere because you will be coming back to it (you can save it on your Facebook wall, on Pinterest, bookmark it… whatever you like just keep it accessible because you will refer to it again later).

2) Read about each of the different types of yoga and their benefits. 

3) Pick the best one based on your individual needs

4) Read the accompanying advice along with my guide to getting started with yoga.

5) Give your chosen type a try.

6) If it doesn’t work, come back and try another form (this is why you need to save this article somewhere, like on your Facebook wall / Pinterest / print it out and stick it on your fridge…

All right, yogis, let’s get started.

28 Different Types Of Yoga And Their Benefits

 

Types of yoga

1. Anusara 

Anusara is a modernised version of Hatha that was created by John Friend in 1997 [1].  The name Anusura can be translated to “flowing with grace” or “following your heart”. And as you can tell by the name, this is one of the best types of Yoga for positive energy.

One of the main benefits of Anusara yoga is that it creates a deep sense of bliss and joy in daily life. Meanwhile, the body is made stronger, and circulation is boosted.

Asana in Anusara are based on the principles of alignment. This asana helps to bring oneness to mind, body and spirit.

Anusara also focuses on flow by making us more aware of VinyasaVinyasa (coordination of breath with the body).

 

               

Is It Right For You?

Anusara is a good middle-of-the-road practice. It is a good exercise without being too taxing. And it strengthens the body while also improving flexibility.

One of the best benefits of this type of Yoga is that it creates positive feelings.

For these reasons, Anusara is perfect for people who are looking for a moderately challenging practice that leaves you feeling truly positive.

Benefits

 

2. Ashtanga

Of all the different types of Yoga and their benefits, Ashtanga is the one for the more serious student.

An ancient style of Yoga, Ashtanga was brought to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 1970s [2].

While there are lots of different types of Yoga, this is the most traditional.

What distinguished Ashtanga from many other forms of Yoga is that the exact same poses (asana) are practised in the exact same order.  This is why Ashtanga is one of the more serious forms of Yoga.

For instance, if we look at Ashtanga VS Hatha, Ashtanga is much more serious and not as easy for beginners. Then again, looking at Ashtanga VS Bikram, Ashtanga is not so dangerous. Therefore, it is a good middle-of-the-road choice for people looking for a serious but safe form of Yoga.

Ashtanga refers to the “eight limbs”. Physical movements are only one of those eight branches. Pranayama (breath) is another.

The Eight limbs are:

Is It Right For You?

Some people practice Ashtanga as purely a physical exercise. It is quite a vigorous exercise which will build up a sweat and help with overall fitness. Ashtanga is better, however, when we practice all Eight limbs. For this reason, Ashtanga is great for people who are looking for a complete lifestyle involving ethics, meditation, and of course, exercise.

Benefits:

3. Bikram

Bikram was created by Bikram Choudhury with the express purpose of making people sweat a lot.

What makes this a different type of Yoga to other styles is the temperature. You’re gonna get hot.

In Bikram, we practice in a heated room so that the body temperature rises.

The heat helps relax the muscles, so they become more flexible. In this heated room, we work through 26 different yoga asana (poses). Similar to Ashtanga, there is a specific sequence of moves we go through when doing Bikram.

It is definitely worth noting that several studies have stated that Bikram is dangerous because of the heat.

So where does Bikram stand? If we look at Bikram VS Ashtanga, Bikram is the more dangerous form. And VS Hatha, it is not as good for beginners.

Is It Right You?

For starters, if you are not good in the heat (like me), you absolutely should not do Bikram as it is potentially fatal. Other people will find Bikram great exercise for stripping the pounds and purifying the body. 

Benefits:

Of all the different types of Yoga and their benefits, this one is one of the best for weight loss. 

4. Hatha

Hatha is a physical type of exercise that also involves mind training. The mind training is similar to Ashtanga in that it teaches us to attain freedom from external stimuli.

When comparing different types of Yoga, you can think of this as the most holistic form.

One of the oldest forms of Yoga, Hatha stems from the Nath sub-tradition of Hinduism. It was intentionally created as a type of Yoga that next to anyone could practice, so it is ideal for people of various fitness levels. Because of this, it is the best type of Yoga to do at work because anyone can join in.

As well as physical exercises, Hatha also incorporates breathing techniques, diet and other lifestyle considerations.  The overall purpose of Hatha is to help with a variety of problems, including ageing and spiritual liberation. The physical exercises are good for flexibility, strength and concentration. This makes it one of the best anti-ageing styles for seniors if you want to look and feel younger.

Today, Hatha is also used as a broader term that refers to any style of Yoga that includes asanas.

A lot of people look at Hatha VS Vinyasa, but this is not a good idea. Writing for SeatleYogaNews, Arundhati Baitmangalkar explains that these two styles are basically different sides of the same coin. So if you are interested in learning Hatha, you would do well to learn Vinyasa at the same time.

Of all the different types of Yoga and their benefits, this one is one of the most relaxing. 

Is It Right For You?

There are two key reasons why hatha could be the ideal style for you. Firstly, it is a relatively simple physical exercise that was intentionally created to be ideal for all people. So anyone can do it regardless of fitness level. It also incorporates lifestyle choices outside of just exercise.

Benefits:

                

5. Iyengar

Iyengar was devised by B.K.S Iyengar in the 1970s [4]. It is a very precise form of Yoga in which the exact alignment of the body is of utmost importance. To help practitioners get into the right pose props are used, including blankets, straps, blocks and chairs [read: best chairs]. Both the upside and downside of this is in the seriousness. Iyengar is not the most style. However, it is very good training for body and mind.

Is It Right For You?

Because Iyengar is slow and very methodical, it is the best type of Yoga for people recovering from injuries like spinal disorders. It is also an excellent way of learning to hold the body is more beneficial ways (which is very beneficial for overall health).

Benefits:

6. Jivamukti

One of the lesser-known styles of Yoga, Jivamukti was devised by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984 [5]. It is an ethical, physical, spiritual method that advocates five tenets:

Of all the different types of Yoga, Jivamukti is one of the most spiritual. 

Is It Right For You?

Jivamukti is one of the most complete forms of Yoga. It incorporates physical exercise (which is similar to Hatha and Vinyasa) with spirituality and lifestyle. Therefore, it is ideal for people looking for a complete lifestyle solution. People looking for modern spirituality will also find Jivamukti interesting.

Benefits

 

7. Kripalu 

Amrit Desai devised Kripalu yoga in the 1980s [6]. The philosophy of Kripalu is apparent in the name: Kripalu means “compassion”. Compassion for what? For the body.

Kripalu is like other forms of Yoga but with a twist. It teaches that the body is the best teacher and that we must accept the body as it is in order to grow.

Given that Kripalu is based on self-compassion, it’s not surprising that this is a gentle form of Yoga that is slow. It also uses meditation to take compassion even further.

When comparing the different types of Yoga and their benefits, you can think of Kripalu as one of the most gentle.

Is It Right For You?

Because Kripalul is soft and slow, it is ideal for the elderly and for people who are out of shape. The gentleness of the practice extends to the mind too. It will teach you to be more compassionate to yourself (something many people could benefit from).

Benefits:

8. Kundalini Yoga Style

Kundalini is a very spiritual type of Yoga that has become popular over the past few years.

Also known as Laya, Kundalini is based on Shaktism and on the Tantra schools of Hinduism.

The focus in Kundalini is on awakening the Kundalini that is dormant at the based of the spine. This is done through a combination of asanas, meditation, mantra chanting, pranayama and yoga asana.

Is Kundalini The Right Type Of Yoga For You?

Kundalini is an advanced type of Yoga not suitable for beginners.

There have also been numerous scientific studies that show that kundalini yoga is potentially dangerous. So it is best to learn properly from a certified instructor.

That said, Kundalini is spiritually rewarding and will completely renovate your life.

Benefits:

9. Sivananda

Sivananda is based on the teachings of Hindu spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda [7].

Sivananda is an unofficial form of Hatha Yoga. However, if we look at Sivananda vs Hatha, Sivananda has more focus on breath and is arguably more spiritual.

The purpose of Sivananda is to increase health and to reduce the chance of disease through natural cultivation of the body.

As well as physical exercise, Sivananda includes philosophies that are based on asanas, pranayama, diet (vegetarian), positive thinking, and meditation.

So when we’re talking about the different types of Yoga and their benefits, this is one of the most spiritual forms.

Is Sivananda The Right Type Of Yoga For You?

Proper Sivananda is a deeply spiritual practice that incorporates belief and should be taken seriously. It is hugely beneficial for the overall health of both the body and mind and the positive thinking aspect also introduces a level of self-growth that many will enjoy. For that reason, when we compare this to other forms (like Sivananda Vs Hatha or Vs Ashtanga, for instance), Sivananda is arguably a deeper form that is of more benefit for the mind.

Benefits:

10. Viniyoga

Viniyoga is a fairly advanced type of Yoga that incorporates yogic breathing exercises with extended periods of asanas to increase inward awareness and insight.

 Pranayama is particularly important in Viniyoga. One of the best parts of Viniyoga is that it makes us more aware of how we hold our bodies in everyday life.

This is excellent for improving posture, which in turn can help to eliminate health problems like muscle tension and more serious illnesses.

Is Viniyoga The Right Type Of Yoga For You?

If you are aiming to improve your mind-body connection and to become more conscious of how you hole your body, Viniyoga is perfect. If you enjoy a slower type of exercise, you will love Viniyoga.  The slow motions also promote inner calm.

Benefits of Viniyoga 

 

11. Vinyasa

One of the most popular forms today, Vinyasa is similar to Hatha and uses sequences of poses.

The name Vinyasa translates to “To place in a special way”.

The focus here is on the precise asanas and the flow between them.

When we’re talking about the different types of Yoga, Vinyasa is one of the most energetic.

In Vinyasa, pranayama (breathing) helps to relax the body while also focusing the mind.

The core discipline is on the way we flow from one pose to the next.

To make Vinyasa more fun, many teachers will play music during sessions.

Vinyasa is similar to Ashtanga in complexity, except that Vinyasa allows for variation in the order of asanas. This is one of the most physically demanding styles.

Is Vinyasa / Power Yoga The Right For You?

Vinyasa is one of the most physically demanding types (except if we look at Vinyasa VS Bikram, in which case the hot of the latter makes it a little harder).

For this reason, people who want to to get fit should probably start with Vinyasa and complement it with Hatha.

 

Benefits of Vinyasa

 

12. Yin 

The final traditional style of Yoga we will look at in this guide is Yin.

Yin is becoming massively popular at the moment, and it is very different to other forms of Yoga.

An alternative style, Yin, is about relaxation and energy. And the best thing about it is that it perfectly complements all other forms.

The focus in Yin is on meditation, flexibility and exercise. With these three core disciplines, Yin is an excellent overall form for benefiting the body and mind.

The most obvious difference with Yin is that poses are held for a few minutes each. This allows for meditation and develops inward awareness, heightening the mind-body connection.

Is Yin The Right Type Of Yoga For You?

Yes.

But seriously, Yin is great for most people.

It is relaxing and energising, and it perfectly complements other forms.

Plus, it’s great for beginners. The one thing to note is that Yin is mostly a secondary form to compliment Yang practices.

Benefits

 

Maybe You Prefer One Of These Crazy Alternative Types Of Yoga! 

These days there are so many alternative types of Yoga. It’s all gone a wee bit crazy, to be honest!  

Teachers have been having so much fun over the past few years. And Yoga is totally in vogue right now. Everyone’s doing it. Even goats, cats, and dogs!

There are 16 alternative forms of Yoga that the world has gone crazy for in 2019.

These forms are all over Facebook and social media, and they’re changing the way we practice—some for the better, some for the worse.

Come gather around as THE DAILY MEDITATION goes totally bonkers and checks out 16 alternative forms of Yoga.

Now let’s take a look at the really different types of Yoga and their benefits 

Why not try one of these crazy new forms of Yoga.

1. Raves

Yoga-Rave-6-e1421781396940
Go to a yoga rave. Listen to music. Do Yoga. Good times.

 

Yoga raves are crazy fun. And they are totally safe for both youngsters and adults, as The Art Of Living has written about (9).

Raves were created in Argentina by a group of (awesome) volunteers who wanted to do something to help create a more positive experience for people living in areas rife with drug and alcohol problems.

Raves are now popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, United States, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden and Berlin.

And they’ve spawned knock-offs.

Don’t love rave music? Go to a party that does rock, pop, or whatever genre of music you like.

Most parties have beginner’s yoga classes so you can get involved even in you’re a yogi-newb. Or just chill and drink a smoothy at the bar. It’s all good. 

 

How to do it

Raves are gradually becoming more popular around the world. And if you happen to be in one of the major party cities in the world, there will probably be occasional yoga raves nearby. Otherwise, you may very well need to travel. Or host your own party!

Benefits

Are raves The Right Type Of Yoga

Do you love to party? You don’t mind doing Yoga with a drink? You’re social? Then have a laugh and go to a rave.

2. Horse style

horse yoga
Horse yoga is a type of Yoga that equines and humans alike both love.

Horses have been man’s best friend for centuries. Sorry dogs, but historically speaking it’s the horses who have done most for mankind. Horses have been in wars, they’ve pulled carts to help us travel, they’ve towed loads to help us build early settlements.

And now, horses are doing Yoga.

Madness.

Horse yoga is precisely what it sounds like: practising while riding a horse, and encouraging the horse to get into asanas too. 

How to do it

It’s literally doing Yoga while riding a horse. Of course, it isn’t possible to do all asanas while on horseback. So we recommend you try select few poses, so you and the horse are totally safe.

Experts can also get the horse involved by leading the horse into asanas. Although I personally hate this idea because anyone who is not a master could potentially injure the horse.

AshvaYoga has a good article on how to do it  [10]

Benefits 

It’s been proven that spending time with horses is very relaxing and good for mental health (11). Doing horse yoga can be even more beneficial. It’s a hugely relaxing exercise, even if it does look crazy.

 

Is it right for you (and your horse)

Answer these two questions:

Are you a horse?

Do you love horses?

If the answer to either is yes, then go right ahead!

3. Aerial 

aerial yoga
Aerial Yoga is a beautiful alternative form of Yoga.

Gravity be damned. Just because Newton was obsessed with gravity doesn’t mean we yogis need to be.

Aerial is all about defying gravity.

You’ve seen those insanely talented aerial acrobats who perform beautiful movements dangling from ropes like some dancing-angel-person? Well, Aerial is that done yoga-style.

Anti-gravity yoga combines traditional forms, pilates, and dance while using a hammock that is designed to support up to 300 kilos of weight.

The hammock supports the hips, allowing aerial yogis to bend safely while in mid-air. And with all that equipment set up, the yogi is free to perform asanas while dangling above the ground.

Crazy, right?  

How To Do It

You’ll need to buy an Aerial Yoga Swing. It’s a hammock and swing you can set up at home to start doing aerial Yoga.

Once you’ve got your Aerial Swing set up, test it by putting weight on it while you’re standing safely. This is way better than simply Nike-ing (Just Do It) because if you just do it and the hammock breaks you can kiss your asana goodbye.

Once you’ve got your Aerial Yoga Swing set-up, start by making very basic moves like lunges and Boat Pose and gradually get more advanced.

YogaJournal has a great tutorial on Aerial Yoga [12]

Benefits

 

Is It Right For You?

If you’re not afraid of heights, you love being wrapped in fabric like it’s some sort of fetish, and you’re generally bored of not being upside down… 

 

4. Cat yoga

While you’re having fun doing these different types of Yoga, spare a thought for “le chat”.

Get your cat doing Yoga and encourage some feline asanas

Let’s be honest about this: Cat’s basically do it anyway, don’t they? Anyone with a cat (I have three) knows that cats are constantly stretching their body and getting into poses vaguely resembling asanas.

So getting cats involved with Yoga really is not that hard.

Simply start doing your routine, and your watch as your feline friend get curious and ends up involved in your yoga practice. 

How to do it 

Unlike horse style, there is virtually no challenge to doing cat yoga. You just put a cat in the room with you while you’re exercising.

A friendly word of warning: keep an eye out and make sure that you don’t flail a limp out around your cat—you definitely don’t want to do any harm to your beloved kitties!

Benefits

There are tons of benefits of spending time with pets (including both cats and dogs). When you combine the benefits of Yoga with the benefits of pets, only good things can happen. At least until you find yourself doing Wheel Pose when a cat jumps on top of you, as mine did the other day (naughty, Pumpkin, naughty!).

Is It Right For You (And Your Cat)?

Ah, go on then. 

5. Karaoke Style

karaoke yoga
Karaoke yoga is one of the most enjoyable forms of Yoga. Great fun.

Kara-yogi is probably the silliest of all these alternative yoga techniques. Utterly bonkers.

No prizes for guessing that this is Yoga done while singing.

Tons of fun, it’s not an advanced technique, and it doesn’t require any training, you literally just sing while doing Yoga. And yes, you can sing Taylor Swift or Rossetti, it’s totally up to you.

Your flat-mates will thank you for doing this one. Haha. 

How to do it

Elementary, my dear yogi. Just sing while you’re doing some poses. If you’re a soprano, trill out some Carmen. If you have the voice of a donkey with laryngitis, stick to the pop.

Benefits

Fun

Helps with breathing

Could probably make an argument that it improves pranayama (breathwork).

None of the above has been proven as a shocking lack of scientists are interested in researching Karaoke-Yoga.

Is It Right For You?

If you love annoying the hell out of passersby while singing badly while doing downward dog…

6. Doga

dog yoga

 

So you’re doing all these different types of yoga when you’re dog gazes up at you, wanting a piece of the action.

No sweat, Rover. Do Doga.

Doga is one of the most popular alternative forms.

There was no way that puppies were going to stay out of this for long.

Doga exploded onto the scene a few years back and immediately went viral.

Doga is basically Yoga that incorporates mindfulness, massage, and poses into one. Some yogis even do chants with their dogs!

There are two main types of doga. Either we use the dog as a yoga partner, or we use the dog as an object. Either way, the point is to work as a team with the dog to find different posts.

But is Doga safe and pet-friendly?

There has been criticism from both the yogi community and -by dog charities who consider it to be unsafe.

You’re probably a loving, caring pet owner. So you probably already know what is best for your puppy. If you want to do Doga, just be mindful of how the dog feels when you practice.

How to do it 

Begin doing Yoga and wait for your dog to join you (most dogs will gladly join in). 

 

Benefit

Is Doga Right  For You?

7. Laughter yoga

laughter yoga
Laughter yoga. Totally bonkers. But kinda cathartic.

Laughter yoga has surprisingly little to do with traditional Yoga. It’s actually just voluntary laughter done for an extended period of time.

In laughter yoga, yogis get into a group and laugh for a long period of time while exchanging eye contact.

This practice has been going on in the West since the 1990s when Yoga was performed in parks and was popular with the elderly.

How to do it

  1. Start by doing some gentle warm-up stretches for both the body and the throat. You might also like to do some chants.
  2. Practice breathing meditation for a few minutes.
  3. Start laughing while being playful.
  4. Exchange eye-contact with other people in the group.
  5. Continue for twenty minutes.

 Benefits

Is It Right For You?

You want to let off steam and be joyful? Then yeah.

 

8. Cannabis Yoga

cannabis yoga
Cannabis yoga. Is it healthy?

Ah. Truly the most controversial of all these alternative types of Yoga. Cannabis. People either love or hate it And everyone’s got an opinion. 

Some yogis point out that one of the main yogic texts, Patanjali’s yoga sutra, states, “Cannabis use allows for a quieting of the outside world, and the ability to focus more totally on the interior process of meditation.” And Kriya master Swami Satyananda Saraswati stated that cannabis could aid Yoga.

Did you know that Saraswati was also involved in sexual abuse allegations? And he may have raped a seven-year-old (13). Not the type of “guru” we like to follow here on THE DAILY MEDITATION. 

How to do it

Cannabis Yoga is done by passing around a joint while practising. Stop if you do not feel balanced at any time or if you feel like you might pass out due to shortness of breath.

 “Benefits”…?

 Supposedly, ganja helps the mind to relax and to clear (supposedly). This, even though it has been proven repeatedly that marijuana causes anxiety (14). Marijuana helps with anxiety in people who are already addicted to it (in the same way cigarettes cure the itch for people who are hooked on them—but they cause the itch at the same time).

Supposedly, ganja yoga helps people with muscular problems. There is evidence that suggests that marijuana helps with pain relief (15). However, there is zero evidence that ganja yoga helps with pain relief. So you might prefer to do an alternative exercise for relaxation. Personally, I’ll do Tai Chi instead.

Is It Right For You?

No.

 

 

9. Tantrum Yoga

Of all the different types of Yoga and their benefits, this one is the most f***ed up. Well, maybe. tantrum yoga Tantrum yoga is a type of Yoga for mood.[/caption]

 

Hands up who loves it when a kid throws a temper tantrum?

No?

Me neither.

So you might wonder just why the hot-cakes you would ever want to do Tantrum Yoga, the style modelled after whining kids.

Then again, there are reasons why kids throw temper tantrums. They let out steam and release emotions.

Teacher Hemalayaa wanted to give adults the opportunity to throw a tantrum as kids do. So she invented Tantrum, an exercise in which we let it all out.

 How to do it

Laugh while doing Yoga. Meditate on laughing. You know, generally involve Yoga in your current practice.

Benefits

Is It Right For You?

Do you long to let out your inner two-year-old? Then go nuts.

 

10. Mommy And Me

mommy and me yoga
Mommy And Me Yoga is all about parents and kids doing Yoga together.

Actually, for a list of alternative yoga techniques, this, er, isn’t really that alternative.

Mommy And Me Yoga is simply about doing Yoga with a kid. It can be done with one kid or with a group. And as for the Mommy bit… well… daddies are free to do it too.

How to do Mommy And Me Yoga

Simple. Practice yoga with a kid. It’s best to do simple Yoga that kids will enjoy.

Benefits of Mommy And Me Yoga

 

Is Mommy And Me Yoga  The Right Type Of Yoga For You?

You either have a strong bond with your kids or want to, and both you and they love Yoga. Do you want to help your kids with the health problems discussed above? Then yes.

 

11. Paddle Board Yoga

So far, we’ve covered lots of different types of Yoga and their benefits. Now for one of the most relaxing and rewarding: paddleboard yoga.

padde board yoga
Paddle Board yoga is one of the best alternative forms of Yoga for health and wellbeing.

Quick maths question.

If ocean = beautiful

And Yoga = awesome

What is ocean + Yoga?

Awesomely beautiful, that’s what.

Plus, of all the different types of Yoga, surely this is the sexiest, am I right?

Paddle Board Yoga is all about doing poses in the ocean (or a pool, or the sea, or… you know, general H20-type environments).

The challenge is to stay afloat on the paddleboard while also doing asanas. Naturally, you’re going to need pretty darned good balance to pull that off. And that’s why paddleboard yoga is popular. It’s beautiful, relaxing, and it’s a challenge.

So how do you do it?

How to do it

  1. Visit your local ocean.
  2. Get out in the water on the paddleboard.
  3. Practice simple asanas like Downward Dog, Camel Pose, and Bow Pose).
  4. Take a look at YogaJournal’s guide for more on this.
  5. Remember to laugh every time you fall off.

Benefits  

An excellent exercise for balance and coordination

Very relaxing

Spending time at the beach is very healthy (take a look at this list of the healthiest hobbies for more on this).

 

Is It Right For You?

If you have good balance and you want to be oh so chill them hell yeah.

12. Add Some Beer! 

beer yoga
Beer yoga. It is basically pointless. But also fun.

As an Englishman, I’m relatively keen on drinking the occasional beer. And naturally, I love Yoga.

Put beer and asanas together, and what do you get?

Actually, you get indigestion quite often. But you also get a fun alternative form.

When doing beer bottle, you place a bottle of beer at the front of your yoga mat, meditate on it, and then proceed to do Yoga while taking the occasional sip of beer.

How to do it

  1. Get some friends together or go to a beer-yoga group.
  2. Grab your favourite brew (go local craft beer for bonus points).
  3. Put the beer in front of the mat.
  4. Spend five minutes meditating on the beer
  5. Begin doing regular Yoga (Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Iyengar, whatever your favourite style of Yoga is).
  6. Whet your whistle when you feel like it (take a swig of beer).
  7. Stop if you feel nauseous—you’ve drunk too much.

Benefits  

Diddly squat. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Just fun. And beer.

Is It Right For You?

I mean, probably not, but do you care?

 

13.Nude Yoga

nude yoga
Nude Yoga is all about being comfortable in your own body. Get naked. Do Yoga. Can’t hurt.

The name says it all.

Nude Yoga has become pretty darned popular over recent times, and there are tons of Instagrammers looking for Insta-fame by doing nude asanas and taking selfies.

The notion is that it helps with body image. And perhaps that’s true, though there is zero research so far proving it.

How to do it

… if you don’t know how to be naked, I don’t know what to tell you.

Benefits

There are no proven health benefits. However,  enthusiasts point to the fact that there are many health benefits of being naked (17). The simple act of being naked connects us with our natural self and improves our self worth in this modern day when every poster is Photoshopped and when most people are made to feel like crap for having a perfectly imperfect body.

Is It Right For You?

If you have body image problems or just generally enjoy being nude, then yeah.

 

14. Goat Yoga

goat yoga
Goat yoga is a great way to connect with nature. And it turns out, goats enjoy Yoga too.

Hands up who loves weird but wonderful things? If so I’m willing to bet you love goat yoga and probably share a lot of goat-yoga-related stories on Facebook, right?

Goat yoga is one of the most popular alternative types of Yoga. Why? Because of GOATS! That’s why [insert extremely happy emoji].

What is it? It’s doing Yoga (usually at a farm or studio) while surrounded by goats. Some people actually get the goats involved with the poses even though this is potentially dangerous for the goat (which is why I personally advocate just letting that cute little goat roan around of its own volition).

How to do it

Goat yoga is usually practised at a yoga studio or farm. Look for a goat class in your area.

Benefits  

 

Is Goat Yoga Right For You?

You’ve got goats and Yoga, together. If that ain’t right, I don’t want to be right.

15. Expecto Petronum! [Harry Potter]  

harry potter yoga
Harry Potter yoga is Yoga for nerds like me. Fun. Imaginative. Kinda goofy.

Blimey, Harry, this yogic stuff looks a bit strange.

Harry Potter yoga is all about practising while holding a wand and pretending you’re in Hogwarts.

This is probably the mentalist crap you’ve ever witnessed in your life. There is actually an instructor who leads you through a Harry Potter story that you interact with by doing asanas. Yeah basically bonkers

Take a look:

Harry Potter Yoga in Toronto is the city's most magical yoga class

How to do it 

Either grab a wand and start ding asanas pretending to be whooping Voldermort’s butt or book a lesson (seriously though, book a lesson, madness is more tolerable when done as a group).

Benefits  

You will kick Voldermort’s asana.

Is It Right For You?

Yes if you’re a proud nerd and you generally desire to expecto-protronum Voldermordt all the way to hell.

 

16. Hoop Yoga

hoop yoga
Hoop yoga is a good alternative form of Yoga for the hips.

Hoop yoga is a fun alternative exercise perfect for kids and bigger kids.

Actually, there is a lot more to this than meets the eye, and it might actually be worth doing.

Playfulness is what it’s all about. The hoop helps us to get into a more jovial, fun state of mind. And that sense of fun is great for relaxing the body. Actually, when you do hoop yoga, you might find that you’re more flexible just because you’re more relaxed.

This is especially good at releasing tension in areas of the body that hold emotion: mostly the hips.

When you do this, your hips are freed, and your emotions are released—this created flexibility for both body and mind.

How to do it

Grab a hula hoop.

  1. Start by practising traditional hooping if you haven’t done it before or are out of practice  
  2. While hooping, start to do gentle and easy asanas while keeping the hoop rotating.
  3. Focus on the state of flow and be playful.
  4. If you find any areas of your body that are stiff, stop and do traditional Yoga to get your flow back. Then return to hooping.
  5. Above all, have tons of fun!

Benefits 

Is It Right For You?

Yes if you want to have a ton of fun while improving flexibility and coordination. 

 

Which of these alternative yoga styles is your favourite?

Sixteen crazy alternative forms of Yoga. Have you tried them all? What did you think about them? Which are your favourites? And which do you think are just plain stupid?

It turns out, some gurus totally hate these new forms! 

Our pastime has become a very lucrative business in the Twenty-First Century, with many once small businesses blooming to the multi-national institution level. However, one teacher is staying committed to the traditional, local style of teaching: Manju Pattabhi Jois, a guru fully committed to the old-school style—choosing his students rather than allowing his students to choose him.

Manju Pattabhi Jois could easily become a success at any intentional, big city yoga franchise, but he’s not interested in the bright lights; instead, he’s touring smaller studios.

So far from accepting just any old student, to be enrolled in Manju Pattabhi Jois’ training, you need “To have had a relationship with him personally, or with his father,” says Tina James, owner of Loka in Whistler BC Canada. “He’s been offered lots of money and turned it down. He just sticks with his long-term students.”

Jois is so well regarded that his classes sell-out the moment they are announced.  People come from the U.S, the U.K, from Germany, from everywhere, in order to train with master Jois.  He is one of the greatest teachers alive and has no interest in money; he is the true, legitimate, purist guru.

The son of the founder of the Ashtanga school of Yoga, Pattabhi Jois, Manju Jois has lived in the U.S since 1975, carrying on his father’s work—work which has included training Sting, Madonna and other celebrities.

What is this old-school guru’s take on the new style of Yoga teaching? “The tradition is lost,” says Jois. “Everybody is beginning their own style of Yoga and the traditions of are being lost. My goal is to keep the tradition alive.”

Jois makes an excellent point. Creating a new brand of Yoga might be good business, but it’s not good for the tradition. 

To truly get the most out of practice, it’s vital to learn the traditions, the spirituality, the history,  and not just the fun new fads.

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SOURCES: 

1: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/10479/john-friend
2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K_Pattabhi_Jois_Ashtanga_Yoga_Institute
3: 
4: https://lifestyle.iresearchnet.com/yoga/yoga-iyengar/the-story-of-iyengar/
5: https://jivamuktiyoga.com/about-sharon-david/about-sharon-david/
6: https://kripalu.org/content/our-history
7: https://sivananda.org/teachings/
8: 
9: https://www.artofliving.org/yoga-rave-new-way-having-fun
10: https://ashvayoga.com/equestrian-yoga/
11: http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/The_Top_15_Benefits_of_Horseback_Riding.html
12: https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/the-aerial-yoga-sequence-9-poses-to-defy-gravity
13: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11273299/Yoga-guru-was-violent-sexual-abuser-Australia-royal-commission-told.html
14: https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/marijuana
15: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20100830/marijuana-relieves-chronic-pain-research-show#1
17: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-reasons-why-you-should-get-naked-more-often.html

 

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About Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.


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2 Responses

  1. Good article, thanks for sharing. There are various kinds of yoga, but not all asanas are suitable for everyone. I really like reading this article, all information is given in detail with the intended use there. Yoga is all somehow interconnected and there may be different teaching approaches in each discipline. There are some common yoga exercises that anyone can do.

  2. Great article, thank you for the research, there is also Kemetic Yoga™ is the ancient Egyptian system of Yoga enlightenment based upon the practices of physical movements combined with controlled deep breathing and meditation. The modern version of this ancient system was developed from primary research conducted by Dr. Asar Hapi and Master Yirser Ra Hotep (Elvrid Lawrence) of Chicago during the 1970s.

    Kemetic Yoga™ is a healing and regenerative Yoga system that is characterized by a series of geometrically progressive postures that creates alignment of the spinal column and corrects defects in the skeletal muscular system in order to relieve stress, increase blood circulation, nutrient and oxygen supply to vital body systems, and to allow internal life force energy and cerebral spinal fluid to flow more efficiently and abundantly throughout the entire body.

    Kemetic Yoga™ is part of the YogaSkills Method™ of Yoga practice that emphasizes creating conditions through activating the parasympathetic nervous system whereby the body and mind can heal themselves as opposed to extreme gymnastic and contortionist postures that often cause injury and result in useless competitive mindsets that plague the commercial Yoga industry today.

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