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FAQ II - About Yoga

An extraction from The Yoga Society of Hong Kong Journal (Namaskar) on hatha yoga styles that sprawls around the world; Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Ananda Yoga, Jivamukti, and others…

 

What is Hatha Yoga?
Hatha Yoga, which includes postures and breathing, is actually part of Raja Yoga, the path of self control. The path most followed in India is thought to be Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion. Within Hatha Yoga there are many styles, such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Integral, Kripalu and Jivamukti, to name a few. All these types of Yoga belong under the heading Hatha Yoga; the only difference lies in how and in which sequence the postures and breathing techniques are taught. Many yoga instructors simply refer their yoga style to Hatha Yoga which represents the eclectic blend of the many styles they have learned.  Below are just a few of the more popular styles of Hatha Yoga:

Ashtanga Vinyasa
K. Patthabi Jois, a student of Shri Krishnamacharya, developed this style of Hatha Yoga, sometimes referred to as Power Yoga, which requires a certain degree of fitness. In its prescribed series are included the Sun Salutation series and a strong focus on posture/breathing integration. Ashtanga Vinyasa is not identical with Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga, but it is, like all other Hatha Yoga styles, firmly rooted in Ashtanga Yoga.
More information at: www.ashtanga.com

Integral Yoga Hatha
Swami Satchidananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, is the author of Integral Yoga Hatha which focuses on the integration of postures and breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation.
More information at: www.yogaville.org/index.html

Iyengar Yoga
Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar, a well-known student of Shri Krishnamacharya, did Yoga a great service when he began to teach in the West. The focus in his style of yoga is on the correct execution of the postures. His innovative use of props helps also less flexible Yoga practitioners to reap the maximum benefits of the Hatha Yoga postures.
More information at: www.iyengaryoga.com

Power Yoga
Founded by Bender Bich in 1995, Power Yoga is aimed to popularize the powerful method of Ashtanga Vinyasa in creating heat and energy flow by using a more ‘friendly name’ to the style.  The practice is built around rigorous work out in flowing asanas.
www.poweryoga.com

Kripalu
Amrit Desai, who studied under an Indian Guru Kripaluvananda in 1970, focuses his teaching into three stages of practice; willful practice (alignment, breath and consciousness), willful surrender (holding the postures to the level of tolerance, concentration and focus on the internal thoughts and emotions), and meditation in movement.
www.kripalu.org

Ananda Yoga
This is a more gentle type of Yoga developed by Swami Kriyananda, a disciple of the famous Paramahansa Yogananda. It involves directing the body energy to various parts of the body and is meant to get students ready for meditation.
More information at: www.ananda.org

Sivananda Yoga
It is named after the famous Swami Sivananda by his disciple, Swami Vishnudevananda, is widely practiced in the West. Aside from the standard postures, Sivananda Yoga also includes the Sun Salutation series, breathing exercises, chanting, and relaxation.
More information at: www.sivananda.org/index.shtml

Viniyoga
This style of Yoga was developed by Shri Krishnamacharya and his son, T.K.V. Desikachar. Viniyoga is a sequential style of Yoga (vinyasa krama) that is unique in that it focuses more on the need of the practitioner than on achieving a perfect posture.
More information at: www.viniyoga.com

Bikram Yoga
This style of Yoga is named after Bikram Choudhury, a well-known teacher of celebrities in the US. It comprises a specific series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises conducted in a heated room to warm up muscles and joints. The sequence works every muscles group, gland and major organ of the body.
More information at: www.bikramyoga.com

Jivamukti
David Life and Sharon Gannon opened their first studio in 1986 and teach a vinyasa based yoga combined with chanting, meditations, music, readings and affirmations.  The Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York City is visited by more than 2,000 people weekly.

There are numerous other schools of Hatha Yoga, and there are many teachers who simply teach Hatha Yoga. All Hatha Yoga classes, regardless of how they are prefixed, are beneficial for Yoga practitioners provided they are taught by qualified instructors. New students should not hesitate to ask questions about their teachers' qualifications.

Courtesy of Ming Lee, the Chairman of Yoga Society of Hong Kong (Namaskar), www.yogawithming.com

 

 

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