What Type of Yoga is Right for you?

Ashtanga Yoga (Astanga) means the Eight Limbs in Sanskrit (as laid out by Pantanjali).  Ashtanga Yoga uses the Ujjayi Breath, Bandhas and Drishtis.  Ashtanga Vinyasa progresses though series of poses (75 poses). The Primary Series, must be mastered before progressing to the Intermediate Series.  An Ashtanga practice usually begins and ends with a Mantra.

Bikram/Hot Yoga is done in a room heated to over 95 degrees.  Hot yoga is a 90 minute class that consists of a 26 pose series (repeated twice) created by yogi Bikram Choudhury.

Forrest Yoga Developed by Ana Forrest, Forrest yoga is a healing practice that helps you grow. The pillars of Forrest Yoga are Breath, Strengt Integrity and Spirit.   A typical practice includes an ab series and keeping your toes lifted and spread.

Hatha Yoga ha = sun, tha = moon, Hatha Yoga is a relaxed meditative yoga practice that brings all things into balance.  The goal of hatha yoga is to achieve a balance between mind and body.  Hatha Yoga postures are used to prepare the body for meditation.  It often incorporates: shatkarma (purification), asana (postures), pranayama (Breath control), chakras(centers of energy), kundalini (instinct), bandhas (muscle force), kriyas (techniques; manifestations of kundalini), shakti (sacred force), nadis (channels), and mudras(symbolic gestures).

Integral Yoga Founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga is a gentle, non-competitive Hatha Yoga practice that includes pranayama, and chanting. Integral training goes beyond yoga postures and strives to help students find fulfillment in their lives.  You can download a free integral yoga book by Swami Sivananda “Easy Steps To Yoga

Iyengar Yoga created by B. K. S. Iyengar, Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga and is based on the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  Iyengar uses 200 classical yoga Asanas and 14 different types of Pranayamas with many variations.  Iyengar Yoga has a deep focus on form, and most classes use a variety of props to assist students in obtaining proper alignment. B.K.S. Iyenger is the author of many books including “Light on Yoga.”

Kripalu Yoga a type of Hatha Yoga, Kripalu Yoga is a gentle compassionate yoga that focusus on meditation and physically and spiritually healing students.  Typical Kripalu classes begin with breathing exercises and gentle stretches, series of individual poses and relaxation. Classes end with ‘jai bhagwan’ (a Hindi expression that has a similar meaning as Namaste).  There is a Kripalu Yoga and Wellness center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Kundalini Yoga is a spiritual type of yoga which emphases breathing, meditation, mudras and chanting in addition to asanas.  Kundalini yoga is sometimes called “the yoga of awareness” because it awakens the “kundalini,” (unlimited potential within everyone).  Kundalini classes begin with a short chant, and warm-up. The main work of the class is a kriya, (a sequence of poses) and pranayama that focuses on a specific area of the body. Classes end with a meditation, which is sometimes accompanied by the playing of a large gong, and a closing song. Teachers do not usually make manual adjustments. Kundalini students often wear white robes and head wraps.  Kundalini energy (often represented as a snake coiled at the base of the spine) untapped prana at the base of the spine that can be drawn up through the body awakening the chakras. Full enlightenment occurs when this energy reaches the Crown Chakra.

Power Yoga is essentially the American interpretation of Ashtanga Yoga.  Power Yoga is a vigorous vinyasa-style of yoga that cuts out most of the spiritual aspects of yoga and emphasizes strength and flexibility.  Unlike Astanga Yoga, Power Yoga does not follow a set series of asanas.

Restorative Yoga is a restful, relaxing Yoga Practice.  A Restorative Yoga class often uses props such as Bolsters, Straps, Blankets and Eye Pillows to help practitioners settle into asanas more easily.  Most of the poses done in a restorative practice are done in a supported manor.  Restorative Yoga is a therapeutic practice that focuses on stress relief, rest, renewal and relaxation.  During a Restorative Practice, your mind stays focused on the breath.

Sivananda Yoga follows Swami Sivananda’s teachings.

There are five principals of Sivananda Yoga

1. Proper exercise (Asana, 12 postures)

2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)

3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)

4. Proper diet (Vegetarian:  A yogic diet is encouraged, limited to sattvic foods, void of rajasic foods as well as tamasic foods)

5. Positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (Dhyana)

A typical Sivananda class is a slow, gentle paced class with a focus on pranayama.   Practicioners begin the 90 minute class in Savasana, then the class moves through a warm up of Sun Salutations. Finally, the 12 basic asanas:  Headstand, Shoulderstand, Plow, Fish, Seated Forward Fold, Cobra, Locust, Bow, Seated Twist, Crow, Standing Forward Fold and Triangle are performed.

Vinyasa Yoga Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.”  Vinyasa Yoga is a fasted paced class with every move linked to your breath.  Vinyasa Yoga does not have a specific series of asanas, so ever class can be different, but most classes do involve Sun Salutations.  Sun Salutations are an example of Vinyasa Yoga since each movement is done on a breath.

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One Response to “What Type of Yoga is Right for you?”

  1. Pranayama-Breath Control « 2nd Star To The Right Yoga Blog Says:

    […] Yoga Breath – Abdominal breathing:  used throughout your Hatha Yoga Practice […]

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