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.
- 2/25/2012 8:38:37 AM