Types of Yoga
There are 8 limbs of Yoga: ethical principals (yama), rules of personal conduct, (niyama), postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), control of the senses (pratyahara), concentration of the mind (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and absorption in the Infinite (samadhi). Hatha yoga refers to asana practice and is what the general public thinks of as yoga physical postures.
Ananda or Kriya Yoga
Paramhansa Yogananda brought to America teachings and techniques specifically designed for spiritual awakening. He called his path Kriya Yoga, and it includes four major techniques: Energization Exercises, the Hong-Sau technique of concentration, AUM meditation, and the Kriya technique. For more information:www.expandinglight.org
Created by John Friend. Anusara yoga is an integrated approach with blends human spirit with the precise science of biomechanics. It differentiates itself from other hatha yoga systems by focusing on three areas: Attitude, the practitioner opens to grace and aspires to an awakening of her or his true nature. Alignment, each pose is performed with an awareness of inner and outer body alignment. Action, muscular stability is balanced with an expansive inner freedom.
For more information: www.anusara.com
Developed by yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga is series of postures in a fast-paced continuous flow. An athletic style of yoga featuring six series of asanas, which increase in difficulty. For more information: www.ayri.org
Bikram Choudhury designed this sequence of 26 traditional hatha yoga postures. Each class consists of the same sequence. It is often referred to as hot yoga, because it is done in a 100-degree room to warm muscles and flush out toxins. Dress light, and bring water and a towel. For more information: www.bikramyoga.com
Day Star Method
Day-Star is a gentler form of yoga, applying effort and rest equally. Emphasis is placed on experiencing the poses slowly, without pain, and with mindful breathing. A typical class incorporates a full menu of forward and backward bends, lateral and twisting postures, inversions and balancing poses, all done with attention to the breath. For more information, email:
Swami Satchidananda introduced this yoga. The philosophy is an easeful body, a peaceful mind, and a useful life. Integral is a gentler form of yoga balancing physical effort and relaxation. Classes include guided relaxation, breathing practices, sound vibration and silent meditation. For more information: www.yogaville.org
Integrative Yoga Therapy
Founded by Joseph Le Page to adapt yoga postures for gentler applications such as treating heart disease, physical rehabilitation, and AIDS. Instructors also use guided imagery and breath work to help patients become more internally aware and heal. For more information: www.iytyogatherapy.com
B.K.S. Iyengar is one of the most influential yoga masters. Iyengar yoga is done at a slower pace with great attention to precise alignment. Asanas are held for a long time so students can fine-tune their muscular and skeletal alignment. If you cannot complete a pose, the instructor will accommodate your physical limitations with props blocks, belts, blankets and chairs. For more information: www.bksiyengar.com
Jivamukti Yoga is a vigorous and challenging form of vinyasa asana practice (flowing postures), infused with an inspiring musical soundtrack, where original scriptures are cited, Sanskrit is chanted and meditation is part of every class. You can find out more about Jivamukti Yoga at www.jivamuktiyoga.com.
A gentler form of yoga focusing on prana or life force. Started by Amrit Desai, Kripalu yoga trusts the body’s wisdom and is sometimes called meditation in motion. For more information: www.kripalu.org
Kriya Yoga see Ananda
Brought to the west by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga incorporates postures, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation and chanting. Practitioners concentrate on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it up through the seven chakras. For more information: www.3HO.org
A rigorous workout derived from Ashtanga yoga. Classes create heat and keep students moving. The term Power Yoga is used often in health clubs. To determine what the classes are like, consult with the individual instructor. For more information: www.power-yoga.com
Based on philosophy of Swami Sivanada, which places asanas into a larger holistic emphasis. Sivananda yoga incorporates breath work (pranayama), meditation, vegetarianism, and relaxation, along with traditional asana practice. Classes consist of 12 basic hatha yoga postures, and include chanting, breath work and meditation. See www.sivananda.org for more info.
Viniyoga encompasses asana, pranayama, chanting, meditation and yoga therapy. Group classes and private sessions range from gentle to challenging depending on participants. Teachers are highly trained and appropriately adapt postures and sequences depending on students. In addition to these adaptations, Viniyoga is distinguished from other forms of yoga by its deep focus on the connection of breath and movement of the spine throughout the practice.
Vinyasa-Style/ Vinyasa Flow
This is a term for many yoga postures linked together in a continuous flow, with emphasis on the breath. These classes guide practitioners from one asana into another at slow or fast pace, and build strength and flexibility.
In a Yin Yoga practice the postures are gravity assisted and held for a longer period of time, inviting the muscles to relax and the fascia of the body to stretch and release. As the fascia lets go, tension melts and our inner “stories” dissolve. Yin asanas are almost entirely passive and do not usually include what would usually be classified as standing asanas or balance poses. Yin Yoga offers many nurturing and healing benefits to the body, mind and heart. Paulie Zink is known to be the founder of Yin Yoga. For more information see: www.theyinyogainstitute.com