Those who are new to yoga (and those who’ve been practicing for a longer duration), there are a lot of different yoga styles to understand what they are. Read further to understand a bit more about the different styles and what benefits they can offer you, so that you can understand the know how’s of what’s what in a class. Remember, each style will be different depending on the teacher so it’s also great to try a few until you find the teachers and classes that you love.
Try to understand that Yoga is not about clicking pictures while posing, but its an internal practice to prepare your body for meditation.
The Great enlightened master Patanjali was the great inner scientist of the inner world and founder of the system of yoga. Patanjali codified, or compiled in a systematic way, the art and science of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras succinctly outlines the art and science of Yoga for Self-Realisation. Patanjali is known as the ‘Father of Yoga’ because every yoga system, in the thousands of systems that are available today all over the world have their roots in Patanjali’s teachings.The methods described in the Yoga Sutras were being practiced as early as 3000 B.C.
In yoga, we need to bring our attention to the breath and focus inward. It is essentially an exercise connecting the breath to our mind and physical movement (body ) and the spirit. The Asanas ( postures) and postures such as sun salutations are evident across all styles. If you haven’t yet done yoga, then its always better to join classes of each styles and then asses what works for you the best. Try to attend a class for at least 12 sessions to understand and feel the changes within you. Because remember ‘ Once is not enough’ ( read the article to understand why )
Hatha yoga is the perfect practice to start with. It is a series of simple and gentle asanas which are more static than some other styles such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa. These lengthen and strengthen the body and are designed to open physical self, improve flexibility, build self-esteem, release emotional turmoil and expand your sense of self-awareness and connection with your body. In this amazing stye of yoga, eyes can be kept closed to reduce distraction and help you be present in the moment. You can Get in touch With Namratha @Nikaya Yoga. We host this style of yoga @ 1000 Petals, Indiranagar, Bangalore.
Vinyasa Flow classes flow continuously through basic yoga poses. The style is flowing and fluid. It connects the breath to movement and is designed to improve flexibility, strength and mindfulness. Vinyasa is the perfect style to choose if you have been practicing Hatha yoga and are looking for something more energetic. The difference between Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga is that Vinyasa Flow doesn’t follow the same sequence of postures while Ashtanga does.
In Yin yoga, you move slowly through the asanas (postures) holding them for extended periods of time. By doing so, you turn your focus inwards, breathing deeply and meditating in pose. Yin yoga classes often use props such as blocks and blankets to support you in your poses. It’s the perfect choice to de-stress, reduce anxiety and recharge. Our Yin classes always finish with a short meditation to restore your focus and leave you feeling refreshed and in tune with your mind and body. Get in touch with our friend Sanjana at Nikaya Yoga to book yourself a class at Smriti Nandan, Palace road Bangalore.
Ashtanga is a faster practice of set postures flowing from one to another with strength and grace. The original flow practice from India, other similar styles, such as Vinyasa Flow (above) and Power Yoga are influenced and inspired from this traditional method. Ashtanga follows a fixed number of postures, carried out in the same order, focusing on connecting the breath (pranayama) to the movement (vinyasa). Due to the fast-paced nature of the style and the deep focus on the breath, it can be a challenging practice for those not familiar with it, however, it’s incredibly rewarding and improves your strength and stamina.
Iyengar – Based on the teachings of the Master Yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits and avoid injury. Iyengar practice usually emphasizes holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps, in order to bring the body into alignment.
Sivananda – The first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center was founded in 1959 by Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda. There are now close to 80 locations worldwide, including several ashram retreats. Sivananda yoga is based upon five principles: Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular); Proper breathing (Pranayama); Proper relaxation (Savasana); Proper diet (Vegetarian); Positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (Dhyana). Get In touch with our friend @alk Esh to understand more about the same.
Power Yoga – is a general term used in the West to describe a vigorous, fitness-based approach to vinyasa-style yoga. Though many consider it to be “gym yoga,” this style of practice was originally closely modeled on the Ashtanga method. The term came into common usage in the mid-1990s from USA born Bender Birchin, a qualified Ashtanga yoga teacher, to make Ashtanga yoga more accessible to western students, though, unlike Ashtanga, power yoga does not follow a set series of poses, so classes can vary widely. With its emphasis on strength and flexibility, power yoga brought yoga into the gyms of America, as people began to see yoga as a way to work out. (Please understand that you should be practicing this style only after 6 months of traditional yoga practice)
Restorative yoga is a gentle and slow-paced style with a focus on helping you relax, recharge and restore your mind and body. Incorporated within the style is deep breathing, relaxation techniques and light poses. It’s a beautiful style to help you de-stress and achieve a sense of balance. You’ll come away feeling calm and light in both mind and body.
The yoga styles we’ve outlined are the most prevalent styles. The most important tip is just to start. Book into a class and discover how the experience feels. You’ll experience the greatest benefits when practicing consistently. So don’t give up after one class, continue on with your practice to really understand how it can improve your everyday life and overall wellbeing.
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