Since 1998 I have been exploring and practicing the many styles, and paths of Yoga. As there are some practices that definitely resonate with me more, I realize there is something out there for anyone whom has a honest desire for connection, greater health, a balanced mind and life. Truly, Yoga is for everybody! The most common thing I hear is “ I am too stiff, I am not flexible”.
This is why Yoga is so deeply therapeutic. It works on all the little nooks and crannies of our being, from body to soul, mind and emotions. Guiding us to heal, surrender, become more confident, stepping into our greatness on and off the Yoga mat.
The history of Yoga dates back thousands of years! Below is just a modern day, exploration of today’s offerings in the west. The roots go much deeper! For the sake of a few paragraph blog, let’s explore a few styles together.
***Hatha Yoga is a system of postures and breathing techniques. It is also translated to HA=SUN THA=moon. Meaning bringing into balance our masculine and feminine qualities that reside in all of us. More broadly, creating balance inside ourselves and uniting opposites. A great text to learn more about this practice: “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”
***Ashtanga: A rigorous practice brought to the west in the 1970’s by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The practice was created by his teacher, Krishnamacharya whom revitalized Yoga in India in the 1930’s. Ashtanga Yoga is a series of postures, same sequence each time, synchronizing breath to movement also called “vinyasas” It follows the eight limb path from the Yoga sutras of patanjali (Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi) A great resource to learn more “Yoga sutras of Patanjali”
***Iyengar: BKS Iyengar was also a disciple of Krishnamacharya. As his cohort, Pattabi Jois took the path of Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar explored, developed and taught the practice differently. Iyengar Yoga emphasizes alignment, usage of props, longer holds. Restorative Yoga was birthed from this style. Iyengar Yoga is the most widely practiced style Yoga in the west. a wonderful resource is the book “Light on Yoga”
**Vinyasa flow: Vinyasa is a modernized version of Ashtanga Yoga. The difference between the two is that Ashtanga is a set sequence of poses with 6 different series of advancement. Vinyasa, or flow classes open the teacher up to add creativity, developing more of a balanced body, preventing repetitive motion injuries. Vinyasa classes range from quick moving to slow flow, depending on the teacher. This practice links posture to posture, creating a moving meditation with the breath, body and mind dancing as one. An awesome resource “Yoga, Mind, Body and Spirit. A return to wholeness.”
**Restorative: A deeply nourishing practice using lots of props, done solely on the floor, (no standing poses) helps the student to down regulate the nervous system, quiet the mind and bring the body back to a state of harmony. Each pose is held for 5-10 minutes, Helpful book “Restore and rebalance”.
**Yin: Yin Yoga was a style introduced to the west back in the late 1970’s by a martial artist Paulie Zink. Yin Yoga primary focus is to work deep into the connective tissues of the body; bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Each pose is held for 1-3 minutes, use of props are optional but very useful. This practice also works on the meridians in the body, healing not only the physical body, but also restoring the energetic system. Great resource, check out “Yin Yoga: Principles and Practice.”
Other brands/styles to research, explore and practice!
Yoga for special populations: trauma informed, pre/post natal, kids yoga, senior yoga.
Many more ; )
Have fun exploring the inner terrain of your awesomeness through the practice.
This practice is old, sacred, exploratory, experiential. So much depth, so much love, wisdom and truth. As it’s roots are deep in history and culture, Yoga is also a living, breathing ever expanding path of transformation.
Enjoy the journey!