WHAT TYPE OF YOGA IS FOR ME?
Different types of yoga for different types of yogis
Yoga is the grandfather of movement therapy. Over 5,000 years old, yoga was first used by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India. It was first cited in the oldest known texts in the world, the Vedas. Since then, and actually fairly recently, yoga has become a widely used mindfulness and physical practice around the world.
Some of the main yogic schools of thought are as follows (not exhaustive):
The trademark of Vinyasa is the flowing nature of postures. Your teacher might cue you to “flow through a Vinyasa” which means to move through a Chaturanga Dandasana (similar to a push up position) to an Upward Dog and back to a Downward Dog. You might not stay in each posture for longer than a few breaths. Those looking to sweat will appreciate Vinyasa.
Founded by yogic master K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga practice comprises a series of 6 different sets of postures that increase in difficulty as you move through them. It is a strenuous yogic practice that requires endurance, strength, patience and flexibility to move through in its entirety. Some Ashtanga classes are silent since the postures are a set and memorizable sequence.
Founded by Bender Birch in 1995, Power Yoga serves as an Americanized version of a yogic practice that is found in many gyms and studios across the country. Power yoga as offered by your local gym often demarcates yoga as a workout class more than a spiritual practice.
Founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon in the 1980’s, Jivamukti offers a broad yogic education that includes Vinyasa movement practices with mindfulness, meditation, chanting and spiritual study.
Focused on anatomical alignment and holding postures for a much longer time than other schools, Iyengar is all about attention to detail. In an Iyengar class you might find yourself using props such as blocks or straps to get your posture in picture-perfect condition.
Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this form of yoga is defined by its heated room (105 degrees F and 40% humidity) and its fixed 26 postures.
Kundalini Yoga combines yogic postures with mantras, chanting, and breathing (pranayama) exercises.
Since most of the practices listed above are actually technically Hatha-based practices, Hatha classes and teachers often combine a number of different yogic philosophies in their teachings.
Not all yoga is about working up a sweat. Yin or Restorative yoga focuses on holding relaxing postures for long periods of time (up to 10 minutes per pose). You wouldn’t be out of place if you even fell asleep in one of these relaxing classes!