The Many Styles of Yoga

Godess Pose

I found this great cheat sheet for the various styles of yoga at gaiam.com (link at bottom). Granted, there a least another 5 styles that can be added to this list (i.e., Jivamukti, Forrest, Acro, Aerial) but in my opinion they are almost all some form of a derivative of the styles listed below. Oh! I just noticed they didn’t include Kundalini, Bhakti, nor even Tantra (??!!). Ok, I see I’m going to have to do some research so I can compile a comprehensive list. For now, this list is a good place to start.

Hatha

Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won’t work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.

Ashtanga 

Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced “pah-tah-bee joyce”) in the 1970s. It’s a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.

Iyengar

Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced “eye-yen-gar”). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a wide array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There isn’t a lot of jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won’t get your heart rate up, but you’ll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a comprehensive training – if you have an injury or chronic condition, Iyengar is probably your best choice to insure you get the knowledgeable instruction you need.

Vinyasa

Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is the Sanskrit word for “flow”, and vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test your physical limits, vinyasa may be just your ticket.

Bikram

Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like you’ve never sweated before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses (like ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call themselves Bikram but don’t teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest types of classes to find.

Hot Yoga

Basically the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram’s sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.

Restorative 

Restorative yoga is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound rest.

Anusara

Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, anusara yoga is a relative newcomer to the yoga world. Based on the belief that we are all filled with an intrinsic goodness, anusara seeks to use the physical practice of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend’s Universal Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind.

 

http://life.gaiam.com/article/beginners-guide-8-major-styles-yoga

About Maribel

I am a Certified Registered Yoga instructor specializing in Restorative Yoga. I offer an individualized, personal approach that adapts to all individuals, including those with chronic and acute pain. I'm trained in a variety of styles, although I focus on Hatha Yoga with Iyengar-based alignment (with use of props) and always centered on the breath. I strive to keep true to the tradition of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (and now his son, TKV Desikachar) and B. K. S. Iyengar. The other styles I'm trained in are: Kundalini, Vinyasa Flow, Bhakti and Tantra. My goal is to help each individual develop a personal practice that will not only stretch and relax the body, but also help alleviate pain and injury in those "stuck" places. I will also guide you to develop and maintain a meditation practice and I'll introduce those interested into Ayurveda (the sister science of Yoga) and I'll use organic food grade essential oils (when desired). If you are new to Yoga, I will help you build a solid foundation to safely embark on your Yoga journey through safe and effective methods. If you already have experience with Yoga and want to deepen your practice and enjoy the benefits of individual attention, then I will help you enhance your practice so you can enjoy the gift of Yoga from your own personal perspective. I am also working to become a Certified Yoga Therapist, an endeavor of a minimum of at least 3-5 years. But as I work towards this new goal, I will be incorporating what I learn so as to address a wide range of therapeutic conditions. I look forward to supporting you in an ongoing program appropriate whether you have never done yoga before or you are an advanced practitioner looking to deepen your practice. Fees: Privates $75 introductory price (can also be combined with a up to 2 other people for a Semi-Private, or $140 for up to 6 people) Group $15 per person (10 people or more)
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