Answers to our weekly contest questions  (check out our Bareneed Yoga Facebook page for contest details and to enter to win). 
Caitlin Pike asked: “I’ve always been curious as to how many different styles or kinds of yoga there are?
This is a hard one to answer as here in the West yoga is continuously being adapted in larger cities as it’s popularity grows and people try to find new ways to be “unique” with their yoga studios. For example you may have recently heard of “Goat Yoga”, a new craze where they have goats in the room while people practice yoga and the goats meander around walking on the practitioners, or giving them cuddles during their practice etc.
The traditional Yoga that most people recognize, here in the West, is Hatha Yoga, which simply refers to the physical practice of yoga. There are 6 traditional paths of Yoga, dating back to the ancient yogi’s, and interestingly only the Hatha Yoga is a physical path, ie. the poses that we practice in our classes in studio. The other 6 types of Yoga focus on our inner selves and our interactions with those around us and the world itself.
Meagan McCrary wrote a great article on her website that summarizes the 6 most widely practiced ancient branches (or paths) of Yoga as listed below:
“1. Raja Yoga

Raja yoga focuses on meditation and contemplation in order to fully realize the self. Known as the royal (Raja) or king path of yoga, it is based on the eight-limbed path toward self-realization outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, and tends to attract the more spiritually devoted practitioners.

2. Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion, emphasizing devotional love for and surrender to God.

By seeing the Divine in everyone and everywhere, Bhakti yoga cultivates acceptance, tolerance, and love for all beings. Bhakti yoga also involves a lot of chanting and kirtan (call and response) that evokes feelings of love, connection, and bliss.

3. Jnana Yoga

Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom and knowledge (Jnana), involving disciplined study of scriptures and constant inquiry into the nature of self. Often called the yoga of the mind, Jnana yoga is well suited for the more intellectually inclined.

4. Karma Yoga

Karma yoga is the path of selfless action, the yoga of doing. Selfless service is the heart of karma yoga. Remaining completely detached from the outcome of their actions, Karma yogis are in continual service to the betterment of all beings with no intention of physical gain.

5. Mantra Yoga

Mantra yoga is the yoga of sound. Considered sacred utterances, mantras are syllables, words, or phrases representing a particular attribute of the Divine. Mantra yoga is the practice of becoming centered through the repetition of mantras.

6. Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is the practice of yoga postures, or asana, using the body as a vehicle for self-transformation.”

So from goats, to warriors, mantra to karma there is more then one way to practice Yoga.  We hope that this has answered your question Caitlin and can’t wait to hear more questions from all our fellow yogi’s out there!
Feel free to leave your comments below, we’d love to hear what your favorite type of Yoga is and how it has influenced your practice.
Remember we are here 6 days a week in the studio teaching Hatha flows designed and taught by our Yogi, Constance Gray.
Hope to see you all in class!
Namaste 🙂
Related Articles

Leave a comment

Bareneed Yoga