Before we dive into online yoga, let’s first answer the question: What is yoga? The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word yuj which means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’. It is a spiritual discipline that leads an individual to form a union with one’s own consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body. Dating back to 2700 BC, yoga originated in India and aims to achieve self-realization to overcome suffering leading to a ‘state of liberation’ (moksha). Dr Ishwar V. Basavaraddi in his paper Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development calls yoga the art and science of healthy living. But looking at present times, it seems we have to maintain this healthy lifestyle from our houses. The spread of COVID-19 has sent ripples through all the industries, even the fitness industry. But while in the beginning, it all seemed hopeless today, we see a lot of online fitness programs that can help you stay fit and healthy. The pandemic hasn’t brought us all to a halt; it has in fact given us new opportunities and a new perspective. And that’s the reason why we have seen different studios giving online yoga classes through Zoom interactive sessions or pre-recorded videos through apps or Youtube.
Different Types Of Yoga
There are 13 different types or styles of yoga. Each of them vary in intensity, going from a physically demanding class to an easy, relaxing, meditative class. There isn’t a single type of yoga that one is supposed to follow because of what you want to focus on. Be it strength, flexibility or balance, all the styles overall work together for a healthy life. If you find a style that works right for you, it doesn’t mean that others are wrong fits, it’s just the right one for you at this moment. Keeping this in mind, let’s begin!
A relatively gentle type of yoga, Hatha yoga is designed to balance opposing forces. Hatha yoga helps with stress management and strengthens core muscles. It is the best style of yoga for beginners. Some of the most common asanas of Hatha yoga are: halasana (plough pose), paschimottanasana (sitting forward bend pose) and bhujangasana (cobra pose).
Bringing in spiritual and physical elements, Kundalini yoga involves a lot of meditation, chanting, mudras and breathing exercises. The exercises increase oxygen and blood flow. They also aim to achieve a deeper awareness of chakras (energy centres in the body) and therefore impact thoughts, mood and health. The practice aims at releasing the kundalini energy at the base of the spine. Some of the asanas are: padmasana (lotus pose), vajrasana (rock pose) and sukhasana (easy pose).
The word Ashtanga in Sanskrit means ‘eight limb path’. This style is physically demanding as it involves a series of postures, always in the same order that needs to be completed in a fast-paced order and is therefore, quite vigorous. The practice builds core strength and is one of the best styles of yoga for weight loss. Some of the postures are: matsyasana (fish pose), utthita trikonasana (extended triangle pose) and bakasana (crow pose).
Also called Vinyasa Flow, Vinyasa yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga yoga. It is the most athletic of all styles of yoga and involves a number of yoga postures, each coordinated with one’s breath. The practice relieves stress and is also known to build lean muscle mass throughout the body. Some of the asanas are: surya namaskar (sun salutation), uttanasana (standing forward bend) and chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose).
This classic alignment-based practice was founded by BKS Iyengar and focuses on detailed and precise movements. This yoga is great for those who want to work on injuries and joint problems as the asanas are performed while controlling the breath. Some of the asanas are: tadasana (Mountain Pose), uttanasana (standing forward bend pose) and trikonasana (triangle pose).
A slower style of yoga, Yin yoga involves sitting postures that are held for longer periods of time. It might be slow but the practice is quite challenging due to the long holds, particularly if your body is not used to it. The practice improves joint mobility, balances our internal organs and improves the flow of chi or prana. Some of the asanas are: ankle stretch, anahatasana (melting heart pose or extended puppy pose) and straddle (dragonfly).
A gentle and relaxing style, restorative yoga focuses on body relaxation. It allows one to relax and release the body into a gentle stretch that is held for five minutes and longer. This style also uses a wide range of props, including bolsters, blocks, straps and blankets to support the body. Calming the nervous system, this practice promotes mindfulness. It helps in preventing type 2 diabetes and boosts the immune system. Some of the asanas are: setu bandha sarvangasana (supported bridge pose), eka pada rajakapotasana (sleeping pigeon pose) and bālāsana (child pose).
Created by yoga instructor Bikram Choudhary, Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga which consists of doing the same 26 postures and two breathing techniques, which are to be done consistently in the same order for 90 minutes. This sequence is done in a sauna-like room when the temperature is set at 105°F (40.6°C), with a humidity of 40 per cent. This practice boosts cardiovascular fitness and builds bone density. Some of the asanas are: ardha-chandrasana with pada hastasana (half moon with hands to feet pose), dhanurasana (standing bow pose) and tuladandasana (balancing stick pose).
As the name suggests, prenatal yoga is for moms-to-be and is tailored to women across all trimesters. All the exercises often focus on easing pains associated with pregnancy, such as sore hips or an aching low back. Some asanas are: tadasana (mountain pose), marjaryasana (cat-cow pose) and shavasana (corpse pose).
As the name suggests, power yoga is a vigorous, physically demanding yoga style. Power yoga traces its roots to Ashtanga yoga and is less regimented compared to other styles. It is more open to interpretation by individual teachers. Power yoga helps in relieving tension and reducing weight through yoga. Some of the asanas are: paripurna navasana (boat pose), adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog pose) and utkatasana (chair pose).
A form of Hatha yoga, Sivananda yoga was founded by Swami Sivananda. It is based on five principles for optimal health and spiritual growth, they are—proper exercise (asana), proper breathing (pranayama), proper relaxation (savasana), proper diet (vegetarian) and positive thinking (vedanta) and meditation (dhyana). Sivananda yoga stimulates circulation and builds strength and flexibility of the spine which keeps the body youthful. Some of the asanas are: sirsasana (head stand), salabhasana (locust) and dhanurasana (bow pose).
Created in 1984 by Sharon Ganon and David Life, Jivamukti yoga incorporates Vinyasa style postures and sequences accompanied with meditation, chanting, deep relaxation and pranayama. This practice helps in detoxifying the body and decreasing stress and toxins. Some of the postures are: hanumanasana (monkey pose), mayurasana (peacock pose) and natrajasana (dancing Shiva pose).
Tracing its roots to Hatha yoga, Anusara yoga was founded by John Friend and is also called the ‘Yoga of the Heart’. It is similar to Vinyasa yoga and is centered on the universal principles of alignment that underlie all yoga postures, while encouraging flowing with grace and following your heart. Anusara yoga improves stamina and lung capacity. Some of the postures include: setu bandha sarvangasana (bridge pose), ustrasana (camel pose) and chakrasana (wheel pose).
Difference In Online (Interactive Classes + Yoga Videos) And Offline Yoga Classes
- One can take online classes almost anywhere as long as you have a laptop or a phone along with a network connection.
- If the connection is unstable, the class might get cancelled or lag.
- In offline yoga classes as one is right in front of the instructor, the poses can be corrected easily, while in online yoga classes, it is really difficult for the teacher to check each and every student, while showing the pose as well.
- The time limit is quite diligently followed by online yoga classes. There can be no delay when there is a set time where all participants join the class.
- Offline classes allowed the students to give equal amounts of time to pranayama, exercises, and the cooling down process with meditation. But the online classes in their 1 hour duration or sometimes just 30 min duration have to club all the activities together.
- Since there are so many options available for online yoga classes, students can experiment with which style and instructor suits them according to their requirements.
- There is also a similar difference between online pre-recorded videos and interactive videos—the interactive videos will allow you to interact with the instructors, taking in tips and tricks through online classes. At the pre-recorded classes however, the instructor isn’t aware of the abilities or special medical conditions of the student, so he/she cannot provide special attention. The students have to take care of postures and time (minutes required to hold a posture) on their own.
These are the places to access online yoga classes (be careful with the pre recorded videos, you have to follow the instructions properly):
- Sarva Yoga Studio
- Total Body Yoga Workout | Fightmaster Yoga
- Patanjalee Institute of Yoga & Therapy
- Morning Yoga Workout | Boho Beautiful
- Asana Andiappan College Of Yoga And Research Centre
- 30-Minute Power Vinyasa Flow with Briohny Smyth | Alo Yoga
- Iyengar Yoga Centre
- Yoga for Weight Loss | Yoga With Adriene
- The Yoga Studio
Yoga Training Through Online Yoga Classes
We’re seeing a new age of fitness. In this pandemic, all of us are trying to accept the new normal and reinvent ourselves amidst a lot of uncertainty. With changing lifestyles, people are continuing their fitness journey at home through online classes. As being confined due to the virus can be mentally challenging, yoga has become one of the best options for keeping anxiety and mental health in check. The practice along with breathing and meditation can be considered as an all-round exercise which will take care of our body, mind and soul. Therefore, take up on these online yoga classes and tell us all about your experience in the comment section below.
Also Read: Easy Exercises To Do During Quarantine