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There are six main categories of yoga from which different instructors in the US adapted their own styles. Vinyasa moves through the sequences quickly and actually increases the heart rate. If you want more chanting and a spiritual connection, then Kundalini is a yoga form you might consider. Bikram, or “hot” yoga is done in a humid, heated room. Iyengar yoga is a great style if you have some kind of back or neck pain. Experienced yoga practitioners can choose the Ashtanga form because of its more difficult style. For the new practitioner, however, Hatha Yoga is an ideal beginning.
Hatha Yoga is the most well known and gentle form of yoga practiced in the West. It has become a very popular form of exercise in the United States over the past twenty years, although it has had dedicated western followers since the ’70s. For practitioners of this ancient meditative art, Hatha Yoga has come to mean a holistic approach to physical and mental well-being through a series of exercises, eating changes, and breathing techniques.
Some of the yoga forms are familiar to us, and include those done while seated or standing, supine or prone. Each form has a series of poses with interesting translated names like “downward dog,” “joyful baby,” or “locust pose.” If you look closely, you might see the resemblance between the pose and its name taken from the everyday world around us. Many eastern philosophies acknowledge the opposing or dual forces within the body or found in nature. They use analogies like sun and moon, masculine and feminine, or light and dark.
Listen to Nada Fayad on her program, Alternative Health to hear more about health and exercises you can incorporate into your life. Hona Radio USA is the voice of Arab Americans.