Slowing down and letting yourself and your body breathe is one of the best things you can do for yourself, given the templated fast-paced lives we live. While most must have at some point or the other given Yoga a shot, the expansive world of the discipline actually has a variant perfectly suited to your body’s very unique needs. Let us take a look at some lesser-known forms of Yoga that you may not have heard of.

International day of Yoga 2024: Heal your body, mind and spirit with these lesser known forms of the discipline

Trauma-informed Yoga

Unbeknownst to us, each body has it’s own way of storing the emotional impact of everyday life. More often than not, this trauma is physically held by the body. If not addressed properly, partaking in ‘mainstream’ Yoga practice for trauma survivors can have quite the opposite impact on them.

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Certain Yoga poses are specifically geared towards opening the body and helping release trauma(Yoga Journal)
Certain Yoga poses are specifically geared towards opening the body and helping release trauma(Yoga Journal)

Something which really stands out about trauma-informed Yoga is the necessary creation of an environment that lets the yogi ease into how they are approaching the choreographed movement. This feeling of having agency with regards to how one is moving their body is particularly significant when it comes to survivors of sexual trauma, though it can be as impactful for other kinds of trauma as well. More than physical sculpting, the objective of trauma-informed Yoga is to make the yogi feel supported.

Yogilates

Very simply, Yogilates is the fusion of the disciplines of Yoga and Pilates. Considering the fact that both disciplines make use of breathwork, consciously held prolonged poses and core-control as some of its cornerstones, the Yogilates crossover is actually rather seamless. The fusion discipline is the brainchild of Pilates instructor and Yoga enthusiast Jonathan Urla.

A templated Yogilates routine will start slow, letting the body ease into flow before it moves to realigning its focus on improving flexibility and building strength. The more intense stretches of a typical routine are also periodically balanced out by slightly challenging Yoga poses, allowing one to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Yin Yoga

The premise of Yin Yoga is Chinese medicine. The foundation of the practice involves holding onto poses for prolonged periods of time. For those used to rushing through their day, gym routines and life, Yin Yoga can serve as an appreciable, much-needed pause where one can acquaint themselves with their bodies through poses which hyper-focus on connective tissues.

Yin Yoga focuses on restoring the life force in your organs by allowing your body to pause and reflect(Pinterest)
Yin Yoga focuses on restoring the life force in your organs by allowing your body to pause and reflect(Pinterest)

The impact of what Yin Yoga can do for you is more mental and emotional than physical. It essentially helps in restoring the ‘chi’ or life force in your organs. For context, it’s counterpart, Yang Yoga, entails the more typical routines such as Hatha or Ashtanga Yoga which focus on the muscles.

Qigong — ‘Chinese Yoga’

Right off the bat, Qigong is actually a variant of Martial Arts. The discipline however, has found itself a place on this list owing to the fact that it is rather similar in approach to Yin Yoga. Both tend to invoke a sense of meditation by honouring breathwork and delayed, slow movement. Their principles however, differ from one another.

Qigong is a form of Martial Arts, incorporating the principles of Yoga
Qigong is a form of Martial Arts, incorporating the principles of Yoga

As per the Qigong Institute, Qigong is often referred to as Chinese Yoga. Healing may not be at the forefront of what Qigong can help one achieve, but it’s principles form the foundation of Tai Chi and Wushu, all of which are “considered both part of and precursor to Traditional Chinese Medicine”.

Yoga Nidra

What lies at the heart of Yoga Nidra is consciously enabling the body to exist in a state of relaxation, something which is definitely tougher than it sounds. More than a ‘practice’, Yoga Nidra is essentially a type of guided meditation that enables the body to enter a state of yogic sleep. This sleep however, as per Ekhart Yoga, is one where our body rests while our mind explores the consciousness.

Yoga Nidra focuses on restoring the mind by putting the body in a state of conscious rest
Yoga Nidra focuses on restoring the mind by putting the body in a state of conscious rest

Yoga Nidra is supposed to leave you feeling whole. As intangible as that sounds, it definitely cannot hurt to give it a try.

If you are still looking for inspiration, there are no dearth of Indian celebrities who swear by Yoga for maintaining their health and vitality. Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sara Ali Khan, Malaika Arora, Kiara Advani, Rakul Preet Singh and Esha Gupta are a few well known Yoga enthusiasts.

Will you be trying your hand at any of these lesser-known Yoga variants this international day of Yoga?