Yoga comes in many forms. Here are some descriptions to expand your awareness and pique your interest.
Iyengar yoga (named after the late B.K.S. Iyengar, Father of Modern Yoga) examines the precise musculo-skeletal alignment of each posture. A trademark of Iyengar Yoga is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets, which are used to accommodate injuries, tightness or structural imbalances, as well as teach the student how to move into a posture properly.
Viniyoga refers to an approach to Yoga that adapts the various means and methods of practice to the unique condition, needs and interests of the individual. Created by T.K.V. Desikachar, and popularized by Yogis like Gary Kraftsow, the goal is to give the practitioner the tools to individualize and actualize the process of self-discovery and personal transformation through a customized Yoga program.
Integrative Yoga Therapy* (IYT)
Integrative Yoga therapy* brings together Asanas, Pranayama, Mudra, Yoga Nidra, Mantra and Meditation into a complete package where the combination can be utilized therapeutically. Founded by Joseph Le Page in 1993, IYT was an attempt to create a training program with the focus on yoga as a healing art, and has designed programs specifically for medical and mainstream wellness settings – including hospital and rehabilitation centers.
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga in which poses are held for five minutes or longer. Even though it is passive, Yin Yoga can be quite challenging due to the long holds especially if one’s body is not accustomed to the practice. The purpose is to apply moderate pressure to the connective tissue, tendons, fascia and ligaments, with the aim of increasing healing potential in the joints and improve one’s flexibility.
It was founded and first taught in the U.S. in the late 1970s by martial arts expert and Taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink. Yin-style yoga is now being taught across North America and in Europe, due in large part to two of the more prominent instructors, Bernie Clark, Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers.
Restorative Yoga is a gentle, relaxing, passive form of Yoga that allows students to relax and release the body into a gentle stretch that is held for as long as 10 minutes. This style makes use of a wide range of props, including bolsters, blocks, straps and blankets. The intention is to provide support and comfort in each pose making it easier to completely let go and restore.
Hatha Yoga covers a broad spectrum of modalities. It is a system that includes the practice of asanas (Yoga postures) and pranayama (Yoga breathing exercises) which brings peace and equanimity to the mind, strength and flexibility to the body, and prepares you for deeper spiritual potential.
Today, the term, Hatha, is used in such a broad way that it is difficult to predict the style of a class . In most cases, however, a Hatha class should be great for beginners or students who prefer a more relaxed style that’s moderately paced. Hatha styles can vary a lot so it is a good idea to contact the studio before attending a class to make sure it suits your ability level.
Vinyasa Yoga typically indicates flowing the postures continuously. It essentially means movement synchronized with breath and is a more vigorous style of Yoga when compared to Hatha, Iyengar and Yin. A lively flow through sun salutations may be performed. If you find getting up from the floor challenging, this might be a modality you’ll need to work up to. You may also see a Vinyasa Yoga class referred to as a Flow class indicating a continuous flow from one posture to the next.
Hot Yoga and Bikram
Hot Yoga is a flow (Vinyasa) class and/or a power class that’s done in a hot room typically ninety degrees or more. Hot Yoga is meant to flush toxins, manage weight, detoxify and allow students to move more deeply into poses with the help of heat.
Bikram, a form of hot Yoga, is the same no matter where you go. It consists of the same (copyrighted) twenty-six postures and two breathing techniques in the same order for ninety minutes in a room heated to 105°F (40.6°C), with a humidity of 40%.
Ashtanga is a system of Yoga that was brought to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. If you attend an Ashtanga class at a studio you will be led nonstop through one or more of the Ashtanga Primary/Secondary series while the breath is counted as you move from pose to pose. Each series is a set sequence of Asanas always conducted in the same order. It is a vigorous and physically challenging practice.
There are six series in total increasing in difficulty. Even though a typical class moves at a steady pace, most Ashtanga studios also offer Mysore-style classes, which allow students to work at their own pace while guided by a trained teacher.
Power Yoga is used to describe a vigorous, vinyasa-style Yoga class. It originally closely resembled Ashtanga but tailored to make Yoga more acceptable to Western students. It differs, however, in its creativity since there is no set sequence of postures to follow.
Two American yoga teachers, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest, both of whom studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, are most often credited with creating and popularizing Power Yoga. Power Yoga’s popularity has spread around the world and is now taught in countless studios.
*Please be advised – Yoga does not claim to treat or diagnose any mental, physical, or physical health conditions, injuries or illnesses. Because Yoga styles can vary, it is recommended that you consult with studio or individual instructor before attending a class, and check with a physician before beginning any exercise regime.