Styles of Yoga
There are many schools of Yoga, and many approaches to teaching. It is not unusual for teachers themselves to study in various schools and to blend techniques to create their own approaches as well as yoga students trying classes in different styles and with different teacher. Differences among the schools are usually about emphasis: One may focus on strict alignment of the body, another on coordination of breath and movement; one may focus on holding each posture for a period of time, another on the flow from one posture to another. No style is better than another; it's simply a matter of personal preference, finding the one that best matches ones own need.
Ananda Yoga is a classical style of Hatha Yoga that uses asana and pranayama accompanied by silent, positive affirmations to awaken, experience, and begin to control the subtle energies within oneself. Its object is to use those energies to harmonize body, mind, emotions, and above all to attune and expand oneself with higher levels of awareness. Ananda yoga is a relatively gentle, inward experience, not an athletic or aerobic practice. It was developed by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi . Yogananda was the first yoga master of India to take up permanent residence in the West. His teachings emphasize direct inner experience of God, which he called 'self-realization.' Yogananda's teachings are nonsectarian, and offer practical solutions to the challenges of modern life.
Anusara means "following your heart," , "to move/ to step with the current of Divine Will," "flowing with Grace." A new style of yoga developed by John Friend, whose main Hatha influence was B.K.S. Iyengar. Anusara Yoga is described as heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, yet grounded in a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. Each student's various abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored. The body and mind are honored as sacred vessels through which the divine radiance of supreme Consciousness can shine. The highest intention of practicing Anusara Yoga is to align with the flow of Grace, to awaken to the truth that our essential nature is part of this divine flow
Ashtanga Yoga also called Power Yoga; was first developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Ashtanga is physically demanding. . Participants move through a series of flows, jumping from one posture to another to build strength, mind sculpting, flexibility and stamina. This method of Yoga involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures, a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. Ashtanga often appeals to those who enjoy high-energy exercise.
Bikram Choudhury's yoga is hot, so be prepared to sweat. In class, they crank the thermostat up high, and then perform a series of 26 asanas designed to warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons. Founder Bikram Choudhury is the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India™, he studied yoga with Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi .
Body-Mind Centering® Yoga
Body-Mind Centering® is an integrated approach to transformative experience through movement re-education and hands-on repatterning. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, BMC is based on the embodiment and application of anatomical, physiological, psychophysical, and developmental principles using movement, touch, voice, and mind. Yoga combines the activities of Body-Mind Centering and yoga poses through the conscious embodiment of the student's cells, tissues, body systems, and developmental patterns.
Developed by Swami Satchidananda, the man who taught the crowds at the original Woodstock to chant " Om. " Integral classes put almost as much emphasis on breathing and meditation as they do on postures. Classes begin with 45 minutes of postures, followed by deep relaxation, pranayama sequence, and meditation. It is the style used by Dr. Dean Ornish in his groundbreaking work on reversing heart disease.
The word ISHTA has a two-fold definition. In Sanskrit, it means developing a personal yoga practice that meets your individual needs. ISHTA also stands for the Integrated Science of Hatha (the physical practice of yoga that creates balance), Tantra (the yogic philosophy that recognizes the perfection in all beings) and Ayurveda (the Indian science of healing).
Developed by Alan Finger and his father Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger, it is a tradition with roots in teachings by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi .
Iyengar yoga emphasizes posture and the development of balance and alignment. To support students' explorations of postures, Iyengar yoga makes use of a wide variety of props: belts, blocks, pillows, and balls. Iyengar is one of the most widely practiced yoga techniques in the West. It was developed in India by B.K.S. Iyengar and responds to individuals with varying limitations and capacities for accomplishing postures. Iyengar Yoga is noted for great attention to detail and the precise alignment of postures. Iyengar's teachers, must complete a rigorous 2-5 year training program for certification.
Jivan – individual / mukti – soul. Sanskrit word that means "liberation while living," developed by Sharon Gannon and David Life in 1984. Jivamukti is taken from the Sanskrit term, Jivanmukti, which is used to describe the state of enlightenment or God realization. They named their yoga method Jivamukti because they wanted the student to be reminded of the ultimate aim of the practice. It is a vigorously physical and intellectually stimulating practice leading to spiritual awareness. Each class focuses on a theme, which is supported by Sanskrit chanting, readings, references to scriptural texts, music (from the Beatles to Moby), spoken word, asana sequencing, and yogic breathing practices.
Kali Ray TriYoga
Kali Ray is founder of TriYoga, a complete method that includes the full range of traditional yoga practices. Based on the intuitive knowledge that arises from meditation. TriYoga, brings posture, breath and focus together to create dynamic and intuitive flows. The Tri Yoga flows combine flowing and sustained postures that emphasize spinal wavelike movements, economy of motion, and synchronization with breath and mudra. The flows are systematized by level and can be as gentle or as challenging as desired. Students may progress from basics to advanced as they increase their flexibility, strength, endurance and knowledge of the flows.
Called the yoga of consciousness, Kripalu puts great emphasis on proper breath, alignment, coordinating breath and movement, and "honoring the wisdom of the body" -- you work according to the limits of your individual flexibility and strength. Alignment follows awareness. The practice of Kripalu yoga is designed to lead us to an ever-increasing knowledge of our mind and body's needs in order to achieve and maintain good physical, mental and spiritual health. Students learn to focus on the physical and psychological reactions caused by various postures to develop their awareness of mind, body, emotion and spirit. There are three stages in Kripalu yoga. Stage One focuses on learning the postures and exploring your bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures for an extended time, developing concentration and inner awareness. Stage Three is like a meditation in motion in which the movement from one posture to another arises unconsciously and spontaneously. Kripalu yoga was developed by Yogi Amrit Desai, who was inspired by his guru, Swami Kripalvanandaji, a Kundalini Yoga master from India .
The word Kundalini is a familiar one to all students of Yoga, as it is well known as the power, in the form of a coiled serpent, residing in Muladhara Chakra, the first of the seven Chakras. Kundalini Yoga in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan, who brought the style to the West in 1969, focuses on the controlled release of kundalini energy, thought to reside at the base of the spine. This style of yoga pays particular attention to breathwork, which aims to get energy moving quickly, but it also involves classic poses, coordination of breath and movement, and meditation. Kundalini is much more than a system of physical exercise; it's a dynamic, powerful tool for expanding awareness.
Within the partner yoga practice, you will at times act as an assistant to your partner, support your partner's yoga postures and vice versa, and at times create new yoga postures with equal input from both of you. Both partners have the opportunity to support and be supported in the practice. Skills of observation and of verbal and non-verbal communication are enhanced, and the qualities of trust and vulnerability, so vital to deepening intimacy, are nurtured in this unique practice. Asanas in partner yoga are generally familiar yoga postures performed, perhaps with adaptations, together by two people. Partners may differ in size, shape, strength, flexibility, and experience. Partner Yoga emphasizes building trust in and sensitivity to relationship while exploring the balance, centeredness, and healing qualities of yoga practice.
Power Yoga is directed at creating the highest level of energy, vitality and freedom. The only way to do this is to work with yourself, not against yourself. By working hard sensitively, creating an environment that's healing and that honors each individual, an environment that respects boundaries and works within him or her. Power Yoga combines the ancient "eight limbs" of yogic wisdom revealing a systematic set of proven age-old principles, physical practices, attitudes, and perspectives.
Rejuvenating yoga that encourage students to explore range of movement and to increase their body awareness. This is a gentle, calming, therapeutic kind of yoga that uses props to support the body to deepen the benefits of the poses. It is a soothing and nurturing practice that promotes the effects of conscious relaxation.
Sivananda, one of the world's largest schools of yoga, is very supportive to beginners. Developed by Swami Vishnu-Devananda and named for his teacher, Swami Sivananda.
Upon the instruction of his guru, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh , India , Swami Vishnu-devananda headed to the West and began travelling and teaching throughout the United States in 1957. He established the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Montreal , Canada , in 1959. Sivananda Yoga follows a set structure that includes breathing, classic asanas, and relaxation, as well as principles of diet and positive thinking. The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga , written by Swami Vishnu-Devananda and first published in 1960, was one of the first, and continues to be one of the best, introductions to yoga available.
Its compassionate approach to profoundly transformative work with the body, mind and emotions, a powerful tool for promoting healing and personal transformation, as well as opening inner levels of transcendent experience. Svaroopa is not an athletic endeavor, but a development of consciousness using the body as a tool. Developed by Rama Berch, Svaroopa Yoga teaches significantly different ways of doing familiar poses; it emphasizes opening the spine by beginning at the base of the spine and progressing through each spinal area in turn. Each pose integrates the foundational principles of asana, anatomy, and yoga philosophy, and develops the transcendent inner experience, called svaroopa.
Viniyoga is not so much a style as it is a methodology for developing practices for individual conditions and purposes. This is the approach developed by Sri. T. Krishnamacharya, teacher of well-known contemporary masters B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and Indra Devi, and continued by his son, T.K.V. Desikachar. Key characteristic of the asana practice are the careful integration of the flow of breath with movement of the spine, with sequencing, adaptations and intensity dependent upon the overall context and goals. Function is stressed over form. Practices may also include pranayama, meditation, reflection, study and other classic elements.