February 2010

Know Your Yoga Styles

Yam

September / October 2009

Although most yoga practices have common roots and adhere to the eight limbs of yoga, different styles of yoga may emphasize different things.  Here are some common yoga styles: 

Hatha Yoga is the classic yoga that promotes the body/mind connection and connects breath with the postures.  Most other yoga styles are derived from Hatha yoga.

Ananda Yoga uses postures and breath to awaken, experience, and control the subtle energies of the body.  Gentle and inward, it also uses silent affirmations while in the asanas.

Ashtanga Yoga is physically demanding as participants move through a challenging series of poses, jumping form one posture to another to build strength, flexibility and stamina.

Iyengar Yoga is noted for great attention to detail, posture, and alignment as well as use of yoga props like blocks and belts.  Teachers train for three years. 

Bikram Yoga or hot yoga is practiced in a mirrored room heated to 105 F and with 40 per cent humidity.  Twenty-six postures are practiced in the same order and each posture is generally performed twice during the 90-minute practice. 

Moksha Yoga combines the foundation of traditional yoga with hot yoga and adds community, environmental awareness, and meditative components.  A structured series of forty postures is taught in a fluid style in 60 or 90-minute classes.

Yin Yoga offers a deep stretch of the connective tissues, frequently of the hips, pelvis, and lower spine; postures are often held longer that in other yoga practices.

Zen Yoga combines the gently flowing movement of Tai Chi, the energized breathing of Qigong, the deep stretching of yoga and the calm serenity of meditation.