A Guide To The Styles of Yoga (part 1)

A Guide To The Styles of Yoga (part 1)

Article by Foras Aje

A Guide To The Styles of Yoga (part 1)

As is evidenced by its use amongst such celebrities as Madonna, Sting, Russell Simmons and Evander Holyfield to name a few, some Yoga’s popularity has increased in leaps and bounds. However, suffice it to say that just like Christianity that has several denominations but essentially at the core all the same, you may have to do some research to see what style fits your needs.

It is noteworthy of mention that although there are many styles of yoga, the differences are usually about emphasis, such as focusing on strict alignment of the body, coordination of breath and movement, holding the postures, or the flow from one posture to another.

Moreover, from a simple observation, it is safe to say all of the styles share a common lineage and it should be noted that no style is better than another; it’s simply a matter of personal preference. More important than any style is the student-teacher relationship.

That said, presented herewith in alphabetical, (not preference of efficiency) are some of the more popular yoga styles.

a. Ananda

This style of hatha yoga uses asana and pranayama to awaken, experience, and begin to control the subtle energies within oneself, especially the energies of the chakras.

One distinguishing factor of this system lies in its use of silent affirmations while in the poses as a means of working more directly and consciously with the subtle energies to achieve this attunement. Developed by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, Ananda Yoga is a relatively gentle, inward experience, not so much so an athletic or aerobic practice.

b. Anusara

This folks is a relatively new style and based on its name, Anusara (a-nu-SAR-a) which means, “to step into the current of Divine Will”, “following your heart”, “flowing with Grace”, “to move with the current of divine will.” and developed by John Friend, Anusara yoga is described as heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, yet grounded in a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment.

It is noteworthy of mention that each student’s various abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored.

c. Ashtanga

Okay, heads up, if you’re a newbie to Yoga or not very physically fit, er…this may not be the one for you! However, not to say it’s not a great style of yoga into itself but that would be like taking a class to dance like Michael Jackson if you’ve never danced in your life!

That said, the style was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, and is physically demanding. Moreover, the so-called Power Yoga is based on Ashtanga

Participants move through a series of flows, jumping from one posture to another to build strength, flexibility and stamina. It’s not for beginners or anyone who’s been taking a leisurely approach to fitness..

d. Bikram

Well, this style is unique for one defining property, the studio in which its practice takes place is HOT! So friends, if you choose this, be ready to SWEAT! Now, I have not taking this class before but from inquiries into it, I am told that in the studio, they crank the thermostat up high, then perform a series of 26 asanas designed to “scientifically” warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Sounds quite intriguing, needless to say BE HYDRATED before practice folks. Its Founder Bikram Choudhury studied yoga with Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda

Thus far we have discussed the Ananda, Anusara, Ashtanga and Bikram styles of Yoga, in part 2 of this series, we will go over some other styles that are commonly practiced.

About the Author

Foras Aje is an independent researcher and author of Fitness: Inside and out, a book on improving physical and mental health naturally. For more information on the latest health news and breakthroughs visit his site at http://www.bodyhealthsoul.com/

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