Isn’t it confusing? All these different Yoga styles, one more complicated than the next? I’d really love to help people find out that Yoga is Yoga, and the essence of the practices are the same, regardless of how many modern modifications we might have these days.
In order for Yoga to be authentic, it must come straight from the source. “Source” in this case means Master, or Guru. We have many of them, like B.K.S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar Yoga), Pathabi Jois (Asthanga Yoga), Krishnamacharya (from which stem many different Yoga styles) and more. In my opinion it is important to stay as close to source as possible.
My own Yoga Teacher studied with many great masters herself, therefore was able to transmit those teachings. In the end my lineage was named Vijnana Yoga, as it is a deep and profound practice which focuses on inner knowing, awareness and awakening the Spiritual Light within. Vijnana Yoga originally came from the teachings of Krishnamacharya.
In collaboration with Latin Yoga Movement, I am giving an explanation on various Yoga Styles which exist nowadays:
#Iyengar Yoga – Straight from one of the great Masters, these practices are directly transmitted by the Guru. Very precise and alignment based teachings. Probably one of the best forms of Yoga out there.
#Acro Yoga – We can’t really call this Yoga, but more acrobatics with a Yoga twist. Not transmitted by masters, but a modern day variety on ancient teachings, which is fun, builds strength, flexibility and great for overcoming fears.
#Aerial Yoga – Again, a modern day variety which include some Yoga stretches flying in the air, but not really traditional Yoga. More for fun.
#Bhakti Yoga – Yoga of Devotion, as described as one of the way to liberation in the Bhagavad Gita. Generally chanting and other devotional practices are included as well.
#Bikram Yoga – Performance of a series of Yoga poses in a 40 degree room. Founded by Bikram Chaudhoury, who’s a very controversial teacher, accused of sex scandals and credit issues, therefore not one of my favorites, and neither do I feel the teachings are healthy for the human body. There’s a lot of danger for injury and overstretching of ligaments and muscles, so I would never recommend people to do Bikram Yoga regularly.
#Gentle Yoga – This is not really a Yoga form, but more a way to describe a certain way of practicing, being gentle and soft, longer holding of poses, and mindful, gentle movement.
#Hatha Yoga – Traditional form of Yoga which includes many different styles. Most authentic and traditional.
#Hot Yoga – Performing Yoga poses in a heated room
#Jivamukti Yoga – Founded by Sharon Ganon and David Life, a form of Yoga which presents classical yoga teachings as relevant to one’s life on and off the mat, supported by chanting, breath awareness, flowing Vinyasa sequences, alignment exploration, hands-on assistance, relaxation and meditation.
#Kundalini Yoga – A Yoga style focused on the awakening of Kundalini and spiritual enlightenment. Uses lot’s of fast movement and breath to awaken life force.
#Restorative Yoga – Therapeutic long holding of various Yoga poses to improve physical and emotional well-being
#Yin Yoga – Long holding of various Yoga poses for deep physical and emotional release
#Sup Yoga – Stand up Paddle Boarding while doing Yoga poses. All happens on the water. Pretty fun, but not a Yoga form taught by the masters.
#Vinyasa Yoga – Again, not really a Yoga form, but more a style of using traditional Yoga poses to create a fast flow of movement. Great for detoxification, physical fitness and strength.
#Tantra Yoga – Contrary to what people believe, Tantra Yoga is not some sort of occult sexual practice, but a powerful combination of Asana, Mantra, mudra, and Bandha (energy lock) and Chakra (energy center) work that you can use to build strength, clarity, and bliss in everyday life.
#Yoga Pole – We can‘t call doing stretches on a pole Yoga. We can call it doing stretches on a pole. Probably lot’s of fun, but it’s not Yoga.
As you might have noticed from the tone of my article, I much prefer to stay true to the source, and I feel the Yoga Industry is becoming more and more diluted. We have lost our respect for the guru, and are creating all these modern day varieties of practice. Probably none of them are bad, but we forget that Yoga was a system developed for purification and spiritual enlightenment, not merely for physical fitness. Therefore I’d encourage those interested in Yoga, to involve themselves with a more authentic form of Yoga, so they can experience the amazing benefits of this practice and lifestyle.
In my next article, I will write which lineages offer those kind of teachings! Keep an eye out on the blog.