Yoga Styles 2.0 – A Short list of Yoga Styles Being practiced today.
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 with any discipline, there are those who are more of a purist with a slightly different appeal for the more traditional practices. Long before the physical practice became the trend, meditation, visualization, spirituality and connection with the Divine, were the focus and desires behind the yoga practice. Humility too, is a trademark of ego-transcendence that is valued in traditional yoga. Here is another short list of Yoga styles 2.0 that outline the more traditional methods that are still practiced today.
Iyengar: Developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar, this system promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through breath and precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. Props are incorporated to make all poses accessible to all levels. Iyengar is the original restorative and therapeutic yoga.
Jivamukti: This style is a vigorous and challenging form with an emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play an integral part of the practice.
Kundalini: Here the concentration is on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises.
Yin: Sometimes referred to as yoga for the joints. Yin Yoga works the connective tissues of the ligaments, fascia, joints and bones. A significant characteristic is the long held, passive nature of the postures.
And with a slightly different appeal some of the more pure methods birthed styles in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Interestingly, these mid-century-modern styles, derived from Iyengar and Hatha yoga, lost some popularity likely due to the founding fathers being accused and involved with scandalous and unethical behaviours.
Anusara: A successor of a modern school of hatha, that pairs strict principles from the Iyengar teachings of alignment with a playful spirit. Postures can be challenging, but the real message of Anusara is to strive to connect with the divine in yourself and others. The founder John Friend was accused of sexual misconduct, fraud, and trafficking drugs, diminishing the popularity of this style significantly.
Bikram: This method of yoga is generally a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness. Based in a heated room, following a set sequence of 26 repetitions, this style of yoga challenges muscular strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health, flexibility, and weight loss. The founder, Bikram Choudhury, was a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963 and later charged for sexual assault, diminishing the popularity of this style significantly.
As asana came West, some of the oldest and most traditional forms of yoga evolved into the more trendy styles we see today. See last week’s short list of Yoga styles 1.0, the most popular and available methodologies today. These are physically intense programs, also enlisting the mind to be spiritually penetrated by the journey of yoga.