When you first start practicing, it's easy to get confused with all the different styles of yoga that are offered. Below is an overview of the most popular yoga styles to help alleviate any confusion. Styles marked * are offered at Pure Yoga.
Hot Yoga *
Hot Yoga is taught in studios heated to around 37 degress Celsius. Our skin in the biggest detoxifying organ in the body, and sweating is one of the best ways to cleanse our system. The heat also helps students work deeply and safely to strengthen and lengthen their muscles and connective tissues. A bottle of water and a towel are essential - and be prepared to sweat!
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga *
As taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India, Ashtanga Yoga is a set series of postures linked together by vinyasas (flowing movements connected by breath). Traditionally, classes are taught in a 'Mysore style' which means students self practice, and a teacher helps and adjusts as needed. In Ashtanga, breath, bandha (internal locks), and dristi (point of focus for the eyes) are the most important elements while practicing asanas. Pattabhi Jois says, yoga is "99% practice, 1% theory." To learn more, visit www.ayri.org
Power Yoga *
Power Yoga was born out of the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, and many beginners find this modern style more accessible than its parent. Power classes tend to be very athletic and dynamic as students flow in and out of postures that are carefully coordinated with the breath to help maintain internal heat, sustain the heart rate, and increase strength and flexibility. To learn more, visit www.poweryoga.com or www.baronbaptiste.com
Yin Yoga *
Yin Yoga is a slower, gentler practice introduced to the West by American yogi, Paul Grilley. In Yin-style classes, postures are held for three to ten minutes, and students are taught to relax their muscles in order to access the body's connective tissues. Because a calm, focused mind is necessary to remain still and allow the body to move deeper, many students find this practice very meditative. For more information, visit www.paulgrilley.com
Anusara was developed by American yogi, John Friend, in 1997, and classes focus on what he calls "the 3 As": Attitude, Alignment, and Action. This uplifting style of yoga is fun and playful while at the same time athletic and challenging. Anusara's Universal Principals of Alignment help students learn classic yoga postures in much deeper, more integrated way. To learn more, visit www.anusara.com
Indian yogi, B.K.S. Iyengar, is one of the most influential teachers of our times as his books and methodology influence nearly every instructor and practitioner worldwide. Iyengar-style classes primarily focus on the precise way in which the body should be positioned (often called alignment) in each asana in order to obtain maximum benefits and avoid injury. Props such as blocks, straps, and bolsters are often used, and asanas are usually held for long periods so that students can carefully and consciously experience their effects. To learn more, visit www.bksiyengar.com
Jivamukti means 'liberation while living,' and this school of yoga was founded by American yogis, David Life and Sharon Gannon in 1986. This distinct style integrates chanting, asanas, music, meditation and devotion into a vigorous physical practice. Jivamukti teachers incorporate these five tenets into each class:
- Scripture: study of the ancient yogic teachings and Sanskrit chanting.
- Bhakti: acknowledgment that God realization is the goal of all yoga practices.
- Ahimsa: a non-violent, compassionate lifestyle which emphasizes ethical vegetarianism and animal rights.
- Nada Yoga: the development of a sound body and mind through deep listening.
- Meditation: connecting to that eternal unchanging reality within.
For more information, visit www.jivamuktiyoga.com
Integral Yoga was brought to the United States in 1969 by Swami Satchidananda whose teachings and writings have had a huge impact on modern yoga practitioners. As the name suggests, Integral Yoga aims to integrate the various aspects of the body and mind through postures, breathing techniques, deep relaxation, and meditation. For more information, visit www.yogaville.org
Sivananda Yoga was founded in 1959 by the late Swami Vishnu-Devananda who was a student of Swami Sivananda in India. In Sivananda-style classes, traditional yoga postures are taught just as they have been practiced for centuries in the Himalayas. This includes a series of 12 postures, breathing, diet, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. For more information, visit www.sivananda.org
Developed by Kripalvananda and his disciple Yogi Amrit Desai, this gentle style of yoga encourages students to use poses to explore and release emotional and spiritual conflicts. Kripalu Yoga has three stages:
Stage 1: Initially, postural alignment and coordination of breath and movement are emphasized while postures are held for a short duration only.
Stage 2: Later, meditation is included and postures are held for prolonged periods.
Stage 3: Finally, the practice of postures becomes a spontaneous "meditation in motion."
To learn more, visit www.kripalu.org
The word "kundalini" means awareness, and its purpose is to awaken the life force which resides at the base of the spine and to allow that energy to flow through the body. Previously a secret practice, Kundalini was brought to the United States by Sikh master, Yogi Bhajan, in 1969. This style of yoga combines classic postures with breathing, chanting, and meditation. For more information, visit www.kundaliniyoga.com
Inspired by the teachings of yoga master, T. Krishnamacharya, and his son, T.K.V. Desikachar, Viniyoga adapts practices to meet individual students' needs and to help them along the path of self-discovery and personal transformation. To learn more, visit www.viniyoga.com