As is evidenced by its use amongst such celebrities as Madonna, Sting, Russell Simmons and Evander Holyfield to name a few, 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.
Upon a closer inspection of this style it is apparent that this method uses asanas (poses) and pranayama (Breathing Exercises) to arouse the more or less subtle energies that lay within us. It is differentiated from most other systems in that it uses silent affirmations while in the pose.
This folks is a relatively new style and is grounded in a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. Owing to the differences in each student’s abilities and limitations, instructors are usually more honoring and respectful to students need. Then again ALL yoga instructors usually are anyway.
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. It’s not for beginners or anyone who’s been taking a leisurely approach to fitness..
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.
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.