Yoga Styles pt 3 anusara, restorative, prenatal, yoga fusion

Hatha yoga, Iyengar, Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Naked Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, um, can I just take a yoga class? With all the different schools of yoga it can be really confusing to know what’s what. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular yoga styles. We’ve done all the digging and all the research to bring you the best “Yoga styles Breakdown” list on the Internet. 

Anusara:

New kid on the block, Anusara was started in the late 90’s by a sometimes, too friendly yogi, John Friend (see what I did there?). Friend has been at the center of a sex scandal that cast a negative light on this style of yoga, causing many to stop calling themselves Anusara devotees. However, the fundamentals of this style are still pretty rad.  Based in the Hatha style and heavily influenced by Iyengar Yoga, it emphasizes alignment and the self. Anusara teachers wont be coming around and adjusting you in and out of poses, instead they give very clear verbal cues focusing on certain feelings within the body so that the yogi will self-correct their alignment based on their own body. Derived from Tantra yoga, Anusara believes that all beings are inherently good and emphasizes bringing the lessons learned in yoga into every day life. These classes are usually light hearted, fun and challenging as they focus on alignment and a Vinyasa style flow.

 

Kundalini:

Using meditation, pranayama, mantra chanting, and asana, Kundalini seeks to awaken the Kundalini energy that lies within us all.  Kundalini is a Sanskrit word meaning “coiled up” or “coiling like a snake” that’s why you will frequently see a serpent in context with this style. It seeks to raise the prana, or energy, lying dormant in our root chakra located at the base of our spine upward through the seven chakras. The goal of this style is to build physical vitality to increase consciousness. This won’t look like your regular class and it doesn’t feel like one either. Yogis frequently speak of having a “Kundalini experience” and likening it to a body orgasm. Sound intense? It is, and it is important, like in all forms of yoga, to find a qualified practitioner to lead you. Just as a Vinyasa teacher can hurt your knees or back if they don’t know what they are doing, so too can an unqualified Kundalini teacher mess with your more subtle energy. If you are interested in taking your yoga practice to the next level and exploring more than just physical asana, Kundalini is a great place to start.

 

Prenatal:

Specifically designed for the expectant mother, pre-natal yoga is great for those with an established yoga practice or for those new to the game. These classes are gentle and restorative but also build strength in the body to aid in post partum recovery. Prenatal classes can ease the pain and discomforts associated with pregnancy and are a place to feel a bonding, not only between you and baby but also between your fellow comrades in future momma-hood

 

Restorative:

Restorative yoga is what I imagine heaven to be like. Making use of props like blocks, bolsters, straps, and blankets, these strategically placed aids are used to hold up and cushion the body for the length of the pose allowing gravity to do all the work. Restorative is all about relaxing the mind and the body. In this passive style each pose is held for extended periods of time (up to twenty minutes) and in one class you may only get into three or four poses.  Many times teachers leading the practice will guide you in a meditation or visualization so that you don’t fall asleep, a tempting unproductive way to spend your time here. You leave this practice feeling calm, relaxed, and restored- hence the aptly named moniker.

 

Yoga Fusion:

Yoga fusion studios and classes are popular these days and just as fusion cuisine can be fun and exciting, so can fusion yoga bring a breath of fresh air to the scene. With so many people getting dogmatic in their yoga practice, sometimes it can be a bit daunting to the new, or even seasoned, practitioner. A reminder that yoga can be anything so long as it’s done with breath, intention, and focus, yoga fusion classes blend yoga with many different activities. Each bringing it’s own twist to the ancient practice.

Acro yoga: Combining yoga and acrobatics is done with two people- One base, and one flyer. The base holds the flyer while they do yoga in the air forgoing a mat for the base’s legs, feet, arms, or hands. Challenging, fun, and intimate this style of yoga requires a lot of trust between teams. Great for couples, friends, or family members to build confidence and strength all while practicing and reaping the benefits of yoga.

Naked yoga: pretty much a self-explanatory style, yoga… in the buff. But just as the nudism movement has more at it’s core than naked people, so does this style emphasizing freedom from all things, clothes included. 

Aerial yoga: practiced on silks suspended from the ceiling instead of sticky mats, this style blends aerial acrobatics with traditional yoga poses

 

Whatever yoga you choose to practice, know that all styles are just different roads to the same end. Yoga Asana is traditionally used to prepare the body for meditation. It is a tool we can use to work out our issues physically so that we may get to the next level. No one style is the “right” way to practice yoga, tailoring your practice to your specific needs ensures that you follow what is right for you. I encourage you to try as many different classes and teachers as you can, even once you find a practice that speaks to you. You never know what you will and won’t like and you never know when you will and won’t like it. Good luck on the journey

 

Namaste, friend

 

Yoga Styles Pt. 2, Iyengar, Bikram, Yin

Hatha yoga, Iyengar, Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Naked Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, um, can I just take a yoga class? With all the different schools of yoga it can be really confusing to know what’s what. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular yoga styles. We’ve done all the digging and all the research to bring you the best “Yoga styles Breakdown” list on the Internet. 

Iyengar:
Based on the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar, this style focuses on alignment and uses blocks, straps, incline boards, blankets etc. to get the student into perfect alignment. These classes emphasize actively holding poses for extended periods of time so that the yogi can feel and engage in every single subtlety that is required for each pose. These classes are challenging for the body but also for the mind as not may poses are practiced - you won’t be flowing in this style. With it’s focus on proper alignment and use of props these classes are actually very good for people with injuries as they teach the student how to work with their bodies and limitations.

Continued from a previous post

 

Bikram:

Bikram yoga is the style of yoga made specifically for westerners by Bikram Choudry. Bikram is a set of 26 postures performed in sets of two and 2 pranayama (breath) exercises practiced in a heated room for 90 minutes. Every single Bikram class is practiced exactly the same. They use a script made by Bikram himself and it is very strict in terms of verbiage. This style of yoga is very popular in the west and it is relatively easy to find a Bikram studio in many cities around the US. Since Bikram yoga is strict about their teachers, a class can only be called Bikram yoga if they have taken the training with Bikram or at his school in California. Many studios get around this by labeling their classes “Sequence” classes. If you see this on a yoga schedule it usually means you’ll be doing the trademarked 26-posture sequence with slight variations made to avoid copyright infringement.

This class is HOT, insanely hot, I’m talking 105 degrees 40% humidity hot. If you will be attending a class make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day not just a few hours beforehand. Bikram is hot yoga but not all hot yoga is Bikram; remember Vinyasa and even Yin yoga can all be practiced in a hot room. The selection of poses themselves are not very difficult but anything done in a high heat, high humidity room becomes challenging. Most yogis have tried a Bikram class at one point or another and if you ask for their opinion on it, you will get a million different responses. Try it for yourself and see if this style works for you.

 

Yin:

Yin yoga is a passive style of yoga where poses are held for five to ten minutes at a time. Don’t worry yogis, this doesn’t mean you’ll be holding triangle pose for seven minutes, the class is completely mat based, meaning, no standing poses allowed. The emphasis is on the lower half of the body- legs, hips, and lower back. Focusing on letting gravity take you deep into a pose, staying present, and navigating the inner landscape. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper connective tissue, fascia, and joints. Yin is great for people with any sort of pain, injury or those wishing to gain more flexibility from their practice. But just because this class is labeled as “passive” does not mean it is easy! The journey inward can be hard in a culture where we are always moving and go-go-go. Yin classes teach the body and mind to relax and facilitate awareness to the present moment. Yin is a great compliment to any physical practice, be it yoga, crossfit, running, baseball, or anything that is physically demanding.

Yoga Styles Pt. 1 Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa

Styles of yoga

 

Hatha yoga, Iyengar, Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Naked Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, um, can I just take a yoga class? With all the different schools of yoga it can be really confusing to know what’s what. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular yoga styles. We’ve done all the digging and all the research to bring you the best “Yoga styles Breakdown” list on the Internet.

 

Hatha:

Hatha is what most people do when they do yoga. It is a general label that encompasses a broader style of yoga. For example, categorizing alcohol, I can say I enjoy beer. There is light beer, IPA’s, Hefeweizen, Porter, Stout, etc. but they are all under the general broader label of “beer”. In this instance, Hatha is the beer.

Hatha Yoga is practiced as static poses that flow into each other where each movement is synchronized with breath. Since the term is so general it can be hard to understand what is meant by a “Hatha class” when you see it on a schedule. Generally, hatha classes are good for all levels, they will be gentler, have a strong focus on breath and alignment, and will be practiced in a non-hot room.

 

Ashtanga:

Ashtanga yoga is considered “Classical” yoga in the west.  Brought here by Sri Patthabi Joyce in the 1970’s, it consists of six separate series of specific poses. Each series builds upon the one before and originally one could only advance to the next series or even the next pose until the teacher deemed them ready, the theory being that doing them consistently was the way to eventually master them. Luckily you don’t have to spend an hour doing Mountain pose before your guru says you can advance anymore. Ashtanga always performs the same poses for the same amount of breaths, and a class is 90 minutes long. Ashtanga classes build heat and are physically demanding. This practice is deep and encompasses more than just the physical set of poses, or asana. It starts to delve into Bandhas- or energy locks within the body, Pranayama- breathing exercises used to manipulate energy within the body, and mantra recitation. A practice rich in tradition, many people find comfort in the routine.

 

 

Vinyasa:

Vinyasa is a word that gets thrown a lot when describing yoga. If you’ve done yoga you may have even heard your teacher say “Take a Vinyasa”.  This refers to Sun Salutations that can be seen in almost every single one of these classes.  Vinyasa yoga is a part of the broader, Hatha yoga and Ashtanga Yoga styles.  

If you see this class advertised it usually means a fast to moderately paced flow class where breath is a constant that ties all poses together. Expect to hold poses anywhere from 1 -5 breaths depending on the pace of the class. Most Vinyasa classes focus on getting the body heated up. There is no set sequence but most poses come from the Ashtanga series. 

 

Next up,

Iyengar, Bikram, and Yin