The Yoga Dictionary 1.0

“To a yogi, the body is a laboratory for life, a field of experimentation and perpetual research.” BKS Iyengar

I am often asked about the different systems, methods, and kinds of yoga and which one would be best to practice or try? Yoga is highly personal and a self-driven practice. When yoga is practiced with integrity and consistency it becomes irrelevant what variation or system you choose, because the results are all transcendental. Within a few short weeks of a regular practice you could notice reduced stress, increased flexibility, better stamina, maybe an increased sex drive, perhaps a change of body scent, as you detoxify overall and increase your energy and happiness.

As asana came West, some of the oldest and most traditional forms of yoga evolved into the more trendy styles we see today. This short list is a grouping of Yoga styles 1.0; the most popular and available today. They are physically intense programs, also enlisting the mind to be spiritually penetrated by the journey of yoga.

Vinyasa: In this flow of constant movements from one sequence into the next, the focus is on coordination of movement and breath integration. It is an evolution of the Ashtanga series that is often set to music and is high energy.

Ashtanga: This style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronizing the breath with progressive and a continuous series of postures. This system produces intense internal heat and purification as our sweat detoxifies muscles and organs. There are three major series that are comprehensive and intense.

Hatha: An easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the West. Hatha is the foundation of all yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation, and chanting. It’s gained popularity as source of exercise for stress management.

Power Yoga: This is a fusion style of Ashtanga and vinyasa yoga. These classes take the traditional poses combined with sequences that resemble basic calisthenics with arm balances and inversions. The power is in the pace as each move flows into the next, making it an intense aerobic workout.

Restorative Yoga: In these classes you spend long periods of time passively resting the body generally supported with props like blocks, blankets and bolsters. This practice is often beneficial in times of menstruation, lowering blood pressure and or for building immunity. The restorative sequence was derived from the Iyengar methodology.

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Yoga is not a sport. It is not meant to be competitive nor limiting. As we evolve as practitioners and grow as human beings we need may tools in our shed to protect us from disease, assist in times of trauma, and support the needs of other with our empathy and compassion. Yoga too needs to evolve not without paying homage and dedication to the more traditional and pure Yoga methods.

Watch for my next blog post on Yoga styles 2.0 for the purest and more traditional styles, their benefits and lifestyle habits. Namaste

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