I noticed you didn't mention yin yoga. I've tried to do yoga several times over the years and due to my weight and lack of flexibility, I always gave up. Then when I was doing physical therapy for back problems, my massage therapist (who teaches yoga and understood my problems) suggested I look into yin yoga. I found some great videos on-line and bought a book the therapist suggested and the results have been wonderful. I am gradually seeing my muscles loosen up and now at age 65 I see the possibilities of trying one of the other yoga styles mentioned in this article!
2/25/2012 8:38:37 AM
I notice this article was written some time ago but I just read it yesterday for the first time. I have some serious issues with the author's descriptions of the different styles of yoga.
Ashtanga yoga is NOT referred to as Power Yoga. These are two very different systems of practice. Ashtanga yoga is the yoga of Pantanjali as laid out in his Yoga Sutras. It is a very traditional form of yoga modernized by Pattabhi Jois. It has a specific set of sequences and is learned in a special way between teacher and student, one-on-one. Ashtanga means "Eight-limbs"; it is an all-encompassing yoga practice far extending the physical asanas (poses).
Power Yoga was pioneered by Beryl Bender Birch. It's a system of yoga based on Ashtanga (as is Vinyasa yoga) but is completely different. Using set sequences, asanas are held longer to develop strength and flexibility. Power Yoga has also been further popularized by Baron Baptiste.
Hatha yoga is not well described as a general term. It refers to raja yoga which means the practice of physical asanas in order for the body to reach a state for meditation to occur. Classically, Hatha follows a set of 6 limbs (or paths) in its practice. However, since it is known as raja yoga, many different systems of yoga can be considered Hatha (like Ashtanga, Power, Bikram, etc...).
Iyengar yoga is not the most popular form of yoga practiced in the United States. Most people have no idea what it is or that it's named after the man who designed the system. It too is a specific form of practice highly focused on alignment.
Vinyasa yoga is probably the most popular form of yoga because it's the one most people have heard of. It does not necessarily focus on more aggressive stretches. It simply means you're moving with your breath in a flow. It can be a gentle flow or if it's an advanced class then it will be more aggressive. It depends on the level of the class. While you may see sun salutations as part of the practice, it is not its defining feature. However, sun salutations are an integral part of Ashtanga and Power yoga.
I've been practicing yoga for 12 years and I also teach. It's important for people to learn about the various styles and which might be most suitable for them as a physical workout, but the author does a disservice by glossing over the details to such a degree. I had to speak up.
Ha! Ha! I don't consider myself hippie-ish at all, but I wear Birkenstocks frequently, ate vegetarian for five years and love yoga (even though I rarely do it). It cracked me up to see the teaser that made me sound like a hippie! LOL! Thanks for the laugh!
I would be interested in restorative yoga techniques (while dealing with lumbar stenosis) and yes, yes- videos please
11/24/2011 10:53:10 AM
Thank you Salty for clarifying. All asana practice is Hatha yoga........Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram etc are all just adaptations of the Hatha yoga practice. A great book to read to for an educated and entertaining understanding of Yoga is Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope.
I started practicing yoga 11 years ago when I found out it would help with my rock climbing. It's still one of the best decisions I've ever made. I learned things that have benefited every other activity I've tried, from running to weight lifting--how to breathe, focus, line up my body for maximum benefit and safety, have patience during the hardest times--and of course the physical bonuses of increased flexibility and joint strength--those two things alone have enhanced all my other workouts. One caveat: I've seen a lot of great yoga DVDs, but taking a good class was essential to correctly learn the postures and techniques. Positioning of every limb and joint, even how you breathe as you execute the postures, can have minute details DVDs just can't cover, and certaily can't correct if you're doing them incorrectly. Also, my instructors were always able to give modifications if anyone in my classes were coping with an injury or just couldn't do the poses--DVDs also can't give you that. After getting a hang of the basics, I got a lot more out of all the postures in DVD yoga routines even if I hadn't yet learned them in class.
Just one more thing, Bikram yoga and hot yoga are not the same thing. You must go to a certified Bikram yoga studio to get a true Bikram yoga class. A class labeled as "hot yoga" is not the same and should not be called Bikram. To find a true Bikram yoga studio go to www.bikramyoga.com and click on "Class FInder". All certified Bikram studios will be listed there. Now, that's not so say that Hot yoga isn't good, it just should not be called Bikram.
Actually, all physical yoga is considered Hatha yoga. I like Bikram yoga because it gives you an incredible workout and there is no chanting and NO "spiritual" stuff attached. All to often people try to turn yoga into a religion, which it is not. I don't "salute" the sun.
Yoga fusion is the only perfect fit for a formerly obese person such as myself. Possibly very MIND-body like Integral, Kundalini I guess, where the effects are spiritual and psychological.
Neither are the styles I'm dealing with now ... the second one comes close ... !
My chip on my shoulder hadn't even been a prerequisite for the relationship I'd had with my first and former yoga studio - NO, they helped create it in me ...
They'd urged me to stay out of the Open Yoga classes, which could have reintroduced me to the CARDIO benefits of the kind of home practice I used to have, because they were more in the business of training budding acrobats...
Not really knowing this very well, I had not passed their"halo effect" test of looking like I nearly minored in modern dance in college. They have recommended Open classes to women in their 40's or 50's-like me-but without seeing first how they move, just because they wore a single digit dress size. I had seen them run out of there asking for their money back. I saw it with my own eyes. And more than once!
I never once asked for my money back (they clearly saw to that ... with attitude I wish on NO ONE). But what's more important is, I got my life back, at another studio without their nose in the air ... !
1/24/2010 10:38:44 AM
DITTO! "I too would love to see some demos on yoga stances and have some set up in a 20 - 20 min exercise routine. If Coach Nicole could do that, that would be awesome!!!!!!" Even still photos with names and comments of poses would rock! Maybe a tracker on "Track My Fitness"? I added it to my "other goals". I have been doing yoga on my Wii, but not allways easy to pry son and husband from it. Cant allways find on tv(LOVE NamasteYoga on FitTV) @ "my" times. would be nice to be able to log on whenever I have the time:)OH PLEASE! email me if any one has found someting like this..
I too would love to see some demos on yoga stances and have some set up in a 20 - 20 min exercise routine. If Coach Nicole could do that, that would be awesome!!!!!!
11/24/2009 11:22:01 PM
I wouldn't underestimate the cardio "value" of vinyasa yoga - the intermediate classes I've taken have sequences with fast paced sun salutations and jump backs/jump forwards that definitely get my heart pumping as much as an aerobics class does. Like any activity, it can be more or less intense depending on the pace and style.
I practice 4-5 times a week (at a studio and at home), and it's been life-changing. My endurance is better, my muscle tone and strength is very improved and my stress level has been greatly reduced. You don't need expensive equipment or a lot of space. I can even practice when I'm traveling for work.
Thanks! I have been wanting to find some good free online sources for yoga. I have seen a few different types of yoga and wasn't sure which one to use. I want to use yoga to stretch my muscles after all the workout at the gym and DVD's.
11/28/2008 11:24:25 AM
I've wanted to start Yoga for a long time. I know in my heart that I would love it. How do I get up, register for a class, dress and show up???? Haven't figured it out yet. I feel so inadequate saying this but it is my reality today.
What I love about yoga is that the best you can do is perfect. Yes, you can have better form, but it's the succesive approximation that matters, not "competition." You get to be your own focus of achievement and sensation.
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