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. All of the styles share a common
lineage. In fact, the founders of three major styles -- Astanga,
Iyengar and Viniyoga -- were all students of Krishnamacharya,
a famous teacher at the Yoga Institute at the Mysore Palace
in India. Two other styles, Integral and Sivananda, were created
by disciples of the famous guru Sivananda. No style is better
than another; it's simply a matter of personal preference.
More important than any style is the student-teacher relationship.
Ananda Yoga is a classical style of hatha
yoga that uses asana and pranayama to awaken, experience,
and begin to control the subtle energies within oneself,
especially the energies of the chakras. Its object is to
use those energies to harmonize body, mind, and emotions,
and above all to attune oneself with higher levels of awareness.
One unique feature of this system is the use of silent affirmations
while in the asanas as a means of working more directly
and consciously with the subtle energies to achieve this
attunement. Ananda Yoga is a relatively gentle, inward experience,
not an athletic or aerobic practice. It was developed by
Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda,
author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.
(a-nu-SAR-a) means, "to step into the current of Divine
Will", "following your heart", "flowing with Grace", "to
move with the current of divine will." A new style 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. Each studentís various
abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored.
who want a serious workout, Ashtanga may be the perfect
yoga. Developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga is physically
demanding. 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. The so-called Power
Yoga is based on Ashtanga.
Choudhury's yoga is hot, hot, hot, so be prepared to sweat,
sweat, sweat. In class, they crank the thermostat up high,
then perform a series of 26 asanas designed to "scientifically"
warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons. Founder
Bikram Choudhury studied yoga with Bishnu Ghosh, brother
of Paramahansa Yogananda
by Swami Satchidananda, the man who taught the crowds at
the original Woodstock to chant "Om," Integral classes put
almost as much emphasis on pranayama and meditation as they
do on postures. Integral yoga is used by Dr. Dean Ornish
in his groundbreaking work on reversing heart disease.
standing was just a matter of keeping your body on top of
your legs? It's hard to appreciate how involved a simple
thing like just standing can be, how much concentration
and how many subtle movements and adjustments it takes,
until you take an Iyengar yoga class. Of course, the point
is that you're not just standing. You're doing Tadasana,
Mountain pose, and in yoga in the style of B.K.S. Iyengar,
Tadasana is an active pose. B.K.S. Iyengar is one
of the best-known yoga teachers and the creator of one of
the most popular styles of yoga in the world. His style
of yoga is noted for great attention to detail and the precise
alignment of postures, as well as the use of props such
as blocks and belts. No doubt part of Iyengar's success
is due to the quality of teachers, who must complete a rigorous
2-5 year training program for certification.
Kali Ray TriYoga, founded by Kali Ray, brings posture, breath
and focus together to create dynamic and intuitive flows.
The Tri Yoga flows combine flowing and sustained postures
that emphasize spinal wavelike movements, economy of motion,
and synchronization with breath and mudra. The flows are
systematized by level and can be as gentle or as challenging
as desired. Students may progress from basics to advanced
as they increase their flexibility, strength, endurance
and knowledge of the flows.
the yoga of consciousness, Kripalu puts great emphasis on
proper breath, alignment, coordinating breath and movement,
and "honoring the wisdom of the body" -- you work according
to the limits of your individual flexibility and strength.
Alignment follows awareness. Students learn to focus on
the physical and psychological reactions caused by various
postures to develop their awareness of mind, body, emotion
and spirit. There are three stages in Kripalu yoga. Stage
One focuses on learning the postures and exploring your
bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures
for an extended time, developing concentration and inner
awareness. Stage Three is like a meditation in motion in
which the movement from one posture to another arises unconsciously
yoga in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan, who brought the style
to the West in 1969, focuses on the controlled release of
Kundalini energy. The practice involves classic poses, breath,
coordination of breath and movement, meditation.
is one of the world's largest schools of yoga. Developed
by Vishnu-devananda and named for his teacher, Sivananda
yoga follows a set structure that includes pranayama, classic
asanas, and relaxation. Vishnu-devananda wrote one of the
contemporary yoga classics, The Complete Illustrated
Book of Yoga. First published in 1960, the book is still
one of the best introductions to yoga available.
Developed by Rama Berch, Svaroopa Yoga teaches
significantly different ways of doing familiar poses, emphasizing
the opening of the spine by beginning at the tailbone and
progressing through each spinal area in turn. Every pose
integrates the foundational principles of asana, anatomy
and yoga philosophy, and emphasizes the development of transcendent
inner experience, which is called svaroopa by Patanjali
in the Yoga Sutras. This is a consciousness-oriented yoga
that also promotes healing and transformation. Svaroopa
is not an athletic endeavor, but a development of consciousness
using the body as a tool.
is not so much a style as it is a methodology for developing
practices for individual conditions and purposes. This is
the approach developed by Sri. T. Krishnamacharya, teacher
of well-known contemporary masters B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi
Jois and Indra Devi, and continued by his son, T.K.V. Desikachar.
Key characteristic of the asana practice are the careful
integration of the flow of breath with movement of the spine,
with sequencing, adaptations and intensity dependent upon
the overall context and goals. Function is stressed over
form. Practices may also include pranayama, meditation,
reflection, study and other classic elements. Personal practices
are taught privately. Given the scope of practice, the inherent
therapeutic applications and the heritage of the lineage,
the training requirements for teacher certification are
Please send comments or questions
Yoga Site Inc.
Yoga Site is
trade mark of Yoga Site Inc.
YOGA TEACHER DIRECTORY