Salient points pertaining to the main styles of Yoga: choose the style that serves you best. Some, as the classical traditions, differ only in name or attitude; some style are therapeutic, calming and meditative, others dynamic, energising and acrobatic, some integrate all aspects.
ASHTANGA dynamic, physically challenging asana sequence developed by K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2000) in Mysore, India. Includes: Sun Salutations, arm strengthening Chaturanga pushups and jumpbacks.
Mysore practice: Instead of normal teacher led class, this is self practice according to your own natural timing where the teacher gives individual instruction and adjustment as necessary.
Power Yoga Founder Baron Baptiste (1963-) encourages the student to find his/her authentic personal power in life, as does all yoga. Vigorous style practiced in heated room, usually flowing sequences interspersed with long sustained holds.
Beryl Bender Birch author of Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga: Yoga that mixes sweat with serenity.
Acroyoga: A blend of yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage. Playful yet deep trusting experience where props and partner work encourage the ability to “fly” in greater lifts and inversion.
Hot Yoga vigorous system developed by Bikram Choudhury (1946 -). Set sequence of asanas repeated twice in room heated to body temperature encourages strength & flexibility in those poses. Expect to sweat!
Integral Yoga: a more gentle physical practice that integrates chanting, breathing, meditation and deep relaxation. Includes the traditional or classical styles of yoga such as:
Sivananda yoga: Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) one of the fore fathers of yoga, blends a relaxing, meditative practice with slow paced asana.
Satyanananda: This tradition was carried forward by his disciple Swami Stayananda, still prolific in publication of yogic wisdom, through current head Swami Nataraja
Yogananada: Student of the above swamis, based his method on kriya.
Anusara: Flowing with grace, joyful mix of challenging poses Founded by John Friend (1959-). Siddha yoga lineage.
Ishta : Founded by Mani Finger (1910-2001) and given international status by his son, Alan Finger (1952-) moves from gentle to stimulating in progressive way depending on teacher and group requirements. Presents the traditional teachings in a modern, sustainable format applicable to modern sensibilities to become a lifestyle.
Iyengar Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar (1918-) teaches alignment with the use of props for enhanced asana practice without injury. Although slow paced, the practice is intense and complete including traditional wisdom.
Jivamukti: Flowing, vigorous asana sequence accompanied by stimulating modern music, including traditional wisdom and current activism, founded by Sharon Gannon (1951-) and David Life (1950-)
Kripalu classes range from relaxing to demanding with emphasis based on adapting yoga to personal abilities and requirements.
Hatha is the physical/asana aspect of all yoga styles.
Kundalini is energy, the movement of which is essential to all styles of yoga.
Kundalini Yoga: Founder Yogi Bhajan (19 – 2006) combines breath, movement, mantra and energetic awareness to enliven the psycho energetic force known as Kundalini and encourage spiritual elevation.
Meditation: It encompasses the greater part of Yoga even though asana is more popularly accepted.
Raja: Brings together the 8 limbs of Yoga, 4 of which are meditative.
Tantra: Everything is an expression of Divine Consciousness for the spiritually aware.
Vini Yoga (Gary Kraftsow (1955-), Vinyasa yoga, Prana flow (Shiva Rea (1967-) classes and styles vary; the common aspect is the synchronisation of flowing movement with the breath in a therapeutic manner (Krishnamacharya lineage). Vinyasa could also refer to the transition or set sequence of Plank, Chaturanga, Up Dog or Cobra and Down Dog, used in Ashtanga, Power and other styles of Yoga.
Yin yoga, Restorative yoga works through enhancing the flow of prana in the nadis ( meridians in Chinese medicine), chakras/joints and tissue/organs as does all yoga. In restorative yoga, bolsters, pillows, blankets, straps and blocks support the body in sustained positions to soothe and calm the nervous system. Extended savasana completes the deep relax in body and mind.
Yoga Therapy Conscious breathing, visualisation and meditation customised to the individual’s need based on the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya, (1888-1989) promotes healing and is empowering to all participants as a means of self awareness and care. A method included in many styles.