John Tunney, Yoga Site, http://www.yogasite.com/yogastyles.html
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.
All of the styles share a common lineage. In fact, the founders of three
major styles -- Astanga, Iyengar and Viniyoga -- were all students of
Krishnamacharya, a famous teacher at the Yoga Institute at the Mysore
Palace in India. Two other styles, Integral and Sivananda, were created
by disciples of the famous guru Sivananda. No style is better than
another; it's simply a matter of personal preference. More important
than any style is the student-teacher relationship.
AstangaIyengar and Viniyoga -- were all students of
Krishnamacharya, a famous teacher at the Yoga Institute at the Mysore
Palace in India. Two other styles, Integral and Sivananda, were
created by disciples of the famous guru Sivananda. No style is better
than another; it's simply a matter of personal preference. More
important than any style is the student-teacher relationship.
Ananda Yoga is a classical style of hatha yoga that uses
asana and pranayama to awaken, experience, and begin to control the
subtle energies within oneself, especially the energies of the
chakras. Its object is to use those energies to harmonize body, mind,
and emotions, and above all to attune oneself with higher levels of
awareness. One unique feature of this system is the use of silent
affirmations while in the asanas as a means of working more directly
and consciously with the subtle energies to achieve this attunement.
Ananda Yoga is a relatively gentle, inward experience, not an athletic
or aerobic practice. It was developed by Swami Kriyananda, a direct
disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography
of a Yogi.
Anusara (a-nu-SAR-a) means, "to step into the current
of Divine Will", "following your heart", "flowing
with Grace", "to move with the current of divine will."
A new style developed by John Friend, Anusara yoga is described as
heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, yet grounded in a deep
knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. Each studentís various
abilities and limitations are deeply respected and honored.
AshtangaFor those who want a serious workout, Ashtanga may
be the perfect yoga. Developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga is
physically demanding. Participants move through a series of flows,
jumping from one posture to another to build strength, flexibility and
stamina. It's not for beginners or anyone who's been taking a
leisurely approach to fitness. The so-called Power Yoga is based on
Bikram Choudhury's yoga is hot, hot, hot, so be prepared to
sweat, sweat, sweat. In class, they crank the thermostat up high, then
perform a series of 26 asanas, sometimes twice, that is designed to
"scientifically" warm and stretch muscles, ligaments and
tendons in the order in which they should be stretched. Founder Bikram
Choudhury studied yoga with Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa
Developed by Swami Satchidananda, the man who taught
the crowds at the original Woodstock to chant "Om," Integral
classes put almost as much emphasis on pranayama and meditation as
they do on postures. Integral yoga is used by Dr. Dean Ornish in his
groundbreaking work on reversing heart disease.
IyengarEver think standing was just a matter of keeping
your body on top of your legs? It's hard to appreciate how involved a
simple thing like just standing can be, how much concentration and how
many subtle movements and adjustments it takes, until you take an
Iyengar yoga class. Of course, the point is that you're not just
standing. You're doing Tadasana, Mountain pose, and in yoga in the
style of B.K.S. Iyengar, Tadasana is an active pose. B.K.S. Iyengar is
one of the best-known yoga teachers and the creator of one of the most
popular styles of yoga in the world. His style of yoga is noted for
great attention to detail and the precise alignment of postures, as
well as the use of props such as blocks and belts. No doubt part of
Iyengar's success is due to the quality of teachers, who must complete
a rigorous 2-5 year training program for certification.
Kali Ray TriYogaKali Ray TriYoga, founded by Kali Ray, brings
posture, breath and focus together to create dynamic and intuitive
flows. The Tri Yoga flows combine flowing and sustained postures that
emphasize spinal wavelike movements, economy of motion, and
synchronization with breath and mudra. The flows are systematized by
level and can be as gentle or as challenging as desired. Students may
progress from basics to advanced as they increase their flexibility,
strength, endurance and knowledge of the flows.
KripaluCalled the yoga of consciousness, Kripalu puts great
emphasis on proper breath, alignment,coordinating breath and movement,
and "honoring the wisdom of the body" -- you work according
to the limits of your individual flexibility and strength. Alignment
follows awareness. Students learn to focus on the physical and
psychological reactions caused by various postures to develop their
awareness of mind, body, emotion and spirit. There are three stages in
Kripalu yoga. Stage One focuses on learning the postures and exploring
your bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures for an
extended time, developing concentration and inner awareness. Stage
Three is like a meditation in motion in which the movement from one
posture to another arises unconsciously and spontaneously.
KundaliniKundalini yoga in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan, who
brought the style to the West in 1969, focuses on the controlled
release of Kundalini energy. The practice involves classic poses,
breath, coordination of breath and movement, meditation.
Sivananda is one of the world's largest schools of yoga.
Developed by Vishnu-devananda and named for his teacher, Sivananda
yoga follows a set structure that includes pranayama, classic asanas,
and relaxation. Vishnu-devananda wrote one of the contemporary yoga
classics, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga. First published in
1960, the book is still one of the best introductions to yoga
Developed by Rama Berch, Svaroopa Yoga teaches
significantly different ways of doing familiar poses, emphasizing the
opening of the spine by beginning at the tailbone and progressing
through each spinal area in turn. Every pose integrates the
foundational principles of asana, anatomy and yoga philosophy, and
emphasizes the development of transcendent inner experience, which is
called svaroopa by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. This is a
consciousness-oriented yoga that also promotes healing and
transformation. Svaroopa is not an athletic endeavor, but a
development of consciousness using the body as a tool.
ViniyogaViniyoga is not so much a style as it is a
methodology for developing practices for individual conditions and
purposes. This is the approach developed by Sri. T. Krishnamacharya,
teacher of well-known contemporary masters B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi
Jois and Indra Devi, and continued by his son, T.K.V. Desikachar. Key
characteristic of the asana practice are the careful integration of
the flow of breath with movement of the spine, with sequencing,
adaptations and intensity dependent upon the overall context and
goals. Function is stressed over form. Practices may also include
pranayama, meditation, reflection, study and other classic elements.
Personal practices are taught privately. Given the scope of practice,
the inherent therapeutic applications and the heritage of the lineage,
the training requirements for teacher certification are extensive.