“Meet this transient world with neither grasping nor fear, trust the unfolding of life, and you will attain true serenity.” – Bhagavad Gita
Hello SOTCG community,
Those new to yoga may be surprised to discover that there are many different ways to practice, from hot power to Bikram to restorative. Here, I illuminate eight of the more popular types of yoga to help aspiring yogis and yoginis find the right flow for their practice.
American yogi John Friend developed anusara yoga in 1997. Anusara uses the practice of physical yoga to help students open their hearts and tap into their intrinsic goodness. Classes are specifically sequenced to explore one of Friend’s “Universal Principles of Alignment,” challenging the body and mind. For more, click here [http://www.anusarayoga.com/].
While based on ancient yoga teachings, Pattabhi Jois popularized ashtanga yoga in the West in the 1970s. This rigorous style of yoga follows a set sequence of asanas (poses) that are also linked by breath, similar to vinyasa yoga (see number 8 below!). For more, click here.
Bikram Choudhury developed this type of yoga approximately 30 years ago. Classes are heated to over 100 degrees and students flow through a set series of twenty-six asanas. Bikram is controversial (Choudhury trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted so-called Bikram studios that do not teach the correct series) but also wildly popular. For more, click here.
“Hatha” is a generic term for any type of physical yoga that teaches asanas. Almost every yoga class taught in the West is hatha and includes a gentle introduction to the most basic asanas. Hatha classes leave students feeling looser, longer, and relaxed. For more, click here.
- Hot Yoga
While also taught in a hot and humid room, hot yoga is not the same as Bikram yoga! Classes are typically heated to between eighty and ninety-five degrees (not to over 100) and sequences are more like vinyasa yoga (not limited to the same set series of twenty-six asanas). For more, click here.
B.K.S. Iyengar developed and popularized Iyengar yoga, a meticulous style focusing on proper alignment. To find the proper alignment in each asana, an Iyengar class will use a wide array of props (e.g., blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, and bolsters). Despite the lack of flow between asanas, holding poses is still physically and mentally challenging. For more, click here.
Restorative yoga relaxes the body and soothes frayed nerves. These classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to support students in passive poses, allowing the body to experience the benefits of the pose without exerting any effort. A good restorative yoga class can be more rejuvenating than a nap! For more, click here.
Vinyasa (Sanskrit for “flow”) yoga incorporates fluid, movement-intensive asanas. Teachers choreograph classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. While the intensity of vinyasa practice reflects that of ashtanga, no two vinyasa classes are the same! For more, click here.
If you are curious about trying a yoga class for the first time or exploring a new style, fear not! There is a yoga style out there for every practitioner, and with some experimenting, you will find the perfect one for you.
Are you ready to try something new? What might be holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.