Different Styles of Yoga
- Mysore-Style Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga originated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, however it was an Indian yoga teacher from the 20th century named Krishnamacharya developed the Ashtanga Yoga that we know today. He lived & taught in Mysore, a city in Southern India in the state of Karnataka & hence the name Mysore style yoga.
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was an Indian yoga teacher, Ayurveda healer and scholar & is referred as “the father of modern yoga,”
He taught a sequence of asanas with breathing that was adapted to suit the individual. To perform asana properly in Ashtanga yoga, one must incorporate Risthana – refers to the union of three -action/posture, systematic breathing and places of attention/viewing point. This was practiced for the refining of body, nervous system and mind. 3 stages were adopted based on the difficulties involved in postures – they were primary, intermediate & advanced stages.
Each student, under this yoga style, would practise their yoga sequence every day at their own pace but under the guidance of their teacher. Gradually Krishnamacharya would introduce them to more difficult postures as they grew in strength, Stamina and suppleness.
Read Yogasana – Part 1
- VINYASA YOGA
Pattabhi Jois was a student of Krishnamacharya used “vinyasa” yoga. These are yogic postures or physical activities often performed one after the other with flowing sequences, called Vinyasas, accompanied by breathing exercises or pranayama and ending with a period of relaxation or meditation. Some of the Vinyasa style exercises are surya namskara, Chandra Namaskar, Guru Namaskra etc.
- Power yoga
In modern days, the pace of Vinyasa yoga is made faster by giving rise to a new kind of yoga style called Power Yoga.
Leaping / jerking were introduced to move from one posture to other. The holding on each asana is stopped & one would move from one asana to other in rapid speed. Only body movement was taken into consideration, other aspects of yoga like breathing, relaxation & meditations, which are part and parcel of traditional yoga, had lost its prominence. This became popular in young generation as their main agenda was to improvise their body.
- IYENGAR YOGA
Iyengar Yoga named after and established by B. K. S. Iyengar, is a form of yoga that has an emphasis on precision and alignment of body parts in yoga postures. Here poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga. Another trait of Iyengar style of yoga is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, chairs and blankets. Props are used to teach the student to move into a posture properly.
B. K. S. Iyengar was also one of the students of Krishnamacharya & was sent to Pune by his guru to teach Yoga. He has authored many books like – Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Pathanjali and Light on Life. He was the one who was responsible for popularizing yoga in the entire world.
- BIKRAM YOGA
This Yoga classes run for 90 minutes & comprises of a fixed sequence of 26 postures, , specifically 24 asanas, one pranayama (breathing exercise), and one shatkarma (a purification) in a fixed sequence.
This was practiced in a room where the temperature & humidity are adjusted to 105 °F (41 °C) & 40% respectively. The room is tailored with carpets and mirrors are enclosed in the walls. The practitioner/student is expected to adopt himself slowly to the condition & was free to adjust his posture & improvise slowly by looking into the mirror.
- Latest Hatha Yoga
Below are the practices which would involve in modern day Hatha yoga class
- Starts with a prayer – This would help our body & mind ready for the yoga practice
- Shithial Vyamaa / loosening practices – helps in loosening the joints & other body parts which eases the movement of body parts for yoga postures
- Sthoola Vyama – Yoga Posters which also includes one Vinyas style
- Pranayama – Helps in nadi shuddi / cleansing of lungs
- Relaxation – Helps in relaxing mind & body
Today’s yoga session would be mostly a mixture of all the above said styles. However all the above said styles are still practiced separately & student could choose the style which suits them the best.
Yoga room, now, is fitted with carpets and the walls are covered in mirrors. Students are expected to see their mirror reflection & adjust themselves slowly & steadily.
No matter what style of yoga you pick to practice, you would probably see improvements in many areas of your health
YOGA AND ITS BENEFITS
The purpose of yoga is to strengthen body & mind. The Coordinated breathing and movement in the asanas heats the blood, which helps in easy blood circulation. This in turn relieves joint pain and disease from the body organs. The sweat generated from the heat removes the toxins from the body. The body becomes healthy, light and strong. Systematic breathing purifies lungs & helps in easy intake of oxygen. Mediation & relaxation postures calms down/relaxes the mind.
All in all, Yoga builds cardiovascular health, increases flexibility, detoxify organs, removes anxiety and depression. Increases energy levels & lung capacity, improves respiratory function and heart rate. It also boosts blood circulation, builds muscle, and decreases inflammation.
I conclude by saying – ‘Yoga is a today’s mantra for addressing many issues of life’.
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