Types of Yoga in India
The ancient practice of yoga is deeply rooted in Indian traditions. It’s an integral part of many lives here, and it is also something that many travellers are curious to learn more about when they come on holiday to India. But did you know that ‘yoga’ isn’t just one all-encompassing practice? In fact, yoga refers to far more than just the asanas or poses that have become a form of physical exercise the world over. Yoga is as much about the mental and spiritual as it is the physical, andis a collection of disciplines with the ultimate goal of attaining moksha, or liberation. There are many different schools of yoga that have evolved over the years, each of which have their own unique features. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular types of yoga in India.Plan your trip
Almost all the yoga you see people practising, is in fact Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is essentially the physical poses, or asanas, that you assume when practicing yoga. But in modern terms, this has evolved to mean a type of yoga that focuses on slow, gentle movements, holding the asanas for a few breaths before transitioning to the next. So if you’re a beginner looking to explore yoga, this is a good place to start!
However, you will also find more exhaustive courses in India that will take you beyond just the asanas to a holistic practice of Hatha Yoga, which includes pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and even a recommended diet. So Hatha yoga is even suited for those of you looking for a more meaningful experience.Plan your trip
Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga that focuses more on the physical practices and movements, and is one of the most popular types of yoga in India. This type is about precise movements to create certain body alignments, matched carefully with breathing techniques. This type of yoga isn’t as free-flowing as some of the others, as there is a sequence of positions that is followed, each of which is held for a defined period of time. You’ll often see that people practicing Iyengar Yoga use props like blocks and ropes to help their body be moulded into the position they’re trying to achieve.
This type of yoga is great for people who are looking more for the physical benefits of yoga.Plan your trip
If you’re looking for more of a spiritual connection, however, you might want to consider exploring Kundalini Yoga. This form of yoga combines sequences of movements (known as kriyas), with breathing techniques, meditation and chanting, all in a quest to awaken the Kundalini, the spiritual energy that is believed to rest at the base of your spine. Don’t look at this purely as physical exercise; this type of yoga aims to connect you to your consciousness, and help you unleash your true potential.Plan your trip
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Often known as the ‘Mysore school’ of yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga follows a series of set sequences of asanas, which is combined with a specific alignment of breaths. It is a more intense form of physical movement, much like power yoga – which is not an Indian tradition, and was adapted by western practitioners. In this form of yoga, practitioners are often expected to know and follow the routine by themselves – you will not be led through the movements each time – while there will, of course be an instructor present to offer guidance and adjustments.
These are, of course, just some of the types of yoga that are practiced in India, and there are many other methodologies and schools of thought that are followed as well. If there’s one that isn’t on this list that you’re interested in, you can always reach out to us for assistance and more information!
Where to learn Yoga in India
No matter what type of yoga you’re interested in learning more about, you’ll find a place to do so in India. You can sign up for short yoga classes to get a feel for it, longer courses with a stay at a yoga ashram, or even do some yoga teacher training if you’ve found the right sort of yoga for yourself! Check out this article on yoga travel routes, or this one on what you need to know about yoga in India for more information.