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Common Types of Yoga

Hatha

Hatha yoga is considered the most popular type of yoga in the world. In fact, throughout most of the western world "yoga" generally refers to hatha yoga. This form of yoga was founded in 15th-century India by Yogi Swatmarama. The term "hatha" is derived from the Sanskrit words for sun and moon and attempts to balance the body's solar and lunar energies. Doctors recommend hatha yoga as a form of physical therapy. Breathing and postures unite in this form of yoga that can be practiced by anyone who has a video player and a television to study postures and breathing.

Kundalini

Kundalini yoga offers both physical and meditative qualities. This type of yoga also includes a path for raising spiritual awareness. Kundalini yoga attempts to release energies from power centers of the body known as chakras. To this end, kundalini pays special attention to the spine and endocrine system of the body. Features of kundalini yoga include chanting, meditation, focused breathing and succeeding rapidly through the various postures.

This type of yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury. It is now mostly popular in North America. The form includes 26 different postures as well as two separate breathing exercises. Teachers must follow a highly structured form of instruction. Bikram yoga is practiced in rooms heated to 105 degrees with a humidity of 40 percent. Hot yoga is an outgrowth of Bikram.

Tantra

Tantra is perhaps identified most in popular culture as a form of "sex yoga." Tantrists consider this form of yoga as a means of enjoying sex on a higher spiritual level. Tantra is divided into two different paths, the left hand path and the right hand path. Right hand path adherents focus on concentration, meditation and devotion to deities. The left hand path practitioners have a more libertine practice that includes rituals and medication as well as intoxicating substances such as alcohol and marijuana.

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