Part 4 - Different Kinds of Yoga
It’s funny to look at it this way, but one of the things that has promoted the spread of yoga in the west, is the same thing that can sometimes prevent someone from truly exploring it and therefore experiencing its health benefits. This thing is variety.
Sometimes when there is only one of something – such as one idea, or one language, or one anything – it’s hard for that thing to spread outside of those who abide by it, agree with it, or simply want it to continue existing.
Yet when there are multiple ideas and concepts, the chances of it spreading increase; there are just more people out there who will be able to access it, talk about it, and indeed, make it a part of their lives.
What does this have to do with yoga? Well, there are many different types of yoga; and the reason for this, as we initially discussed, is that yoga isn’t a religion; it’s an approach to being alive. As such, it’s very agile and flexible (no pun intended!) and carries well across cultural, country, and religious boundaries.
Thanks to its diversity and different facets and types, yoga has spread very swiftly through the western world over last 110 years or so; and is spreading faster now than ever before (many western companies will now pay for yoga classes as part of an enhanced health benefits program).
Yet this very diversity has led to some confusion; and people who have been exposed to one kind of yoga might accidentally think that they’ve seen it all. This is more worrisome, of course, when one has been exposed to a kind of yoga that – for whatever reason – they did not like, or perhaps, weren’t quite ready for (just as how some people might turn away from a fitness program if they aren’t in the right frame of mind to see it through).
So if you’ve experienced yoga, or seen it on television, read about it in a newspaper, or overheard a friend or colleague talk about it, then please be aware that there’s a very good chance that you haven’t been exposed to all that there is (which is wonderful, because it means that this next section will be very interesting and informative for you!).
Six Major Types
Yogic scholars Feuerstein and Bodian note seven major types of yoga. In no particular order, they are:
* hatha yoga
* raja yoga
* karma yoga
* bhakti yoga
* jnana yoga
* tantra yoga
Part 5 - Advice for Beginners