Available in : Vietnamese
When you want to start yoga, you can quickly be overwhelmed by the number of different practices existing. However, it is important to find the style of yoga that suits you, as yoga not only works on the alignment of bones and muscles, but also improves blood circulation, boosts the lymphatic system, increases our lung capacity, slows down the flow of incessant thoughts, and calms the mind. From Hatha yoga and Kundalini to Ashtanga, here are the different forms of yoga existing today to help you choose the one that suits you best.
Origins of yoga
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline that originated in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit language and means “to connect” or “to unite.” It is then up to the yoga practitioner, known as a “yogi,” to connect the various parts of his being: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual, and to find balance and harmony not only within himself but also with its environment.
In Sanskrit, “Hatha” means “strength”, “perseverance”, or even “tenacity”. Originally, Hatha yoga focused on mastering the physical body to stop the flow of thoughts. The goal is to reconnect with yourself and take a moment to listen to the body’s needs. Hatha-Yoga can be a series of very simple to more complicated postures. It can be practice by people of all ages, but is especially beneficial to the elderly. Different levels are depending on whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner. Unlike a gymnastic sequence, the postures must be held for a sufficient amount of time: approximately 3 minutes per posture, combined with breath control and concentration.
Restorative yoga arose from the pioneering work of B.K.S. Iyengar, who developed it in the twentieth century to work with people who were unable to engage in more dynamic physical practice due to chronic illnesses. This type of yoga consists primarily of lying postures on the back. Accessories such as bolster, cushions, blankets, or bricks that hold the body in position to promote relaxation are frequently used to support the body. Staying in these assisted postures for an extended period helps to relieve chronic muscle tension, and support the body’s natural relaxation, to enjoy a sense of well-being.
Kundalini yoga’s primary goal is to awaken the kundalini or original energy coiled at the sacrum level. This vital flow, which is the source of all creation, must be able to flow as freely as possible down the spine to the top of the head. Through a series of postures, the approach focuses on meditative awareness. Master Yogi Bhajan developed and disseminated this technique in California in the late 1960s intending to help a whole generation of Westerners awaken their consciousness.
Ashtanga yoga, developed by Pattabhi Jois in India, consists of a fixed sequence of six sets of postures with increasing difficulty, beginning with standing postures and ending with sitting postures. It is a very dynamic and physical yoga that is generally practiced without music or accessories and is distinguished by the synchronization of the breath with rapid sequences of increasingly difficult postures. The goal is to relax and strengthen the body and improve the cardiovascular system. Ashtanga is great to improve endurance.
Integral yoga, developed in the 1960s in the United States, offers a balanced integration of postures, breathing, meditation, and relaxation. This practice style is based on the precision of body alignment, bringing together physical awareness with the mind, the emotional, and the intellectual, with the goal of uniting soul, body, and spirit. Integral yoga removes both physiological and mental barriers, reduce feelings of stress, and restore emotional balance.
Iyengar yoga will not meet your expectations if you are looking for dynamic yoga with a lot of movement, but if you want a disciplined and rigorous class where the emphasis is on the alignment of the limbs and, most importantly, the spine, this yoga is for you. This type of practice, developed in India by B.K.S. Iyengar, focuses on aligning the body in each posture. Accessories are frequently used to assist in this situation. Iyengar yoga is an effective and enjoyable practice for all levels.
Kripalu yoga is a form of Hatha yoga developed in the 1950s by Amrit Desai (Gurudev). Learning Kripalu yoga consists of three steps: when practitioners become aware of their body and breathing, they can hold the postures (sanas) for longer periods of time, eventually reaching the stage of moving meditation. Kripalu yoga places a premium on breathing techniques and particularly promotes the cardiovascular, digestive and nervous systems.
“Nidra” is a Sanskrit term that describes the state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. It is often translated as “yogic sleep.” The sequence starts quite dynamically and then guides the body into a deep state of relaxation while maintaining full awareness until the final relaxation posture. Thanks to its calming effects on the nervous system, this yoga is ideal for people who have problems with insomnia or stress.
Vinyasa / Yoga Flow
Vinyasa yoga is a series of postures derived from Hatha yoga practice. It is a very dynamic yoga that emphasizes fluidity, with each movement linked to the breath. Vinyasa yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on relaxing and strengthening the body in order to improve the cardiovascular system. It is recommended to balance this active practice with a gentler practice, such as restorative yoga, if you are tired or stressed.
Anusara, which is based on Hatha yoga postures, is also similar to Iyengar yoga in that it emphasizes alignment and movement on a firm foundation. Anusara yoga honors divine nature and encourages students to move with grace and serenity. This method is ideal for those who want to work on their natural alignment, strengthen themselves, and develop their compassion.
The Forrest Yoga was created by Ana Forrest and is inspired by Hatha yoga postures. The sequence includes a variety of standing postures as well as muscle-building exercises, particularly abdominals. Students are encouraged to hold the positions for an extended period of time by using so-called full breathing. They are also encouraged to work with their pain and limitations in order to develop effective methods of dealing with emotional difficulties.
This is a slow and gentle class in which students hold the postures for one to five minutes. They can relax their muscles and focus on opening up the connective tissues of the joints with the help of accessories such as cushions, straps, and bricks. Yin yoga can become quite intense very quickly, but with awareness of the limits, concentration, and the duration of the postures, the results can be very restorative. This practice is particularly suitable if you have spent the day sitting behind a desk or if you travel a lot.
The Rocket / Power Yoga
Developed by Larry Schultz in San Francisco in the 1980s, Rocket Yoga is a derivative of the Ashtanga and Vinyasa. If you are looking to strengthen yourself, the Rocket yoga is for you.
Jivamukti Yoga, founded in New York in 1984 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, is a Vinyasa-based practice based on the Ashtanga sequence. Jivamukti’s classes are organized around a specific theme that refers to Indian philosophical texts and focuses on the development of compassion in all aspects of life. Mantras (sacred chants), meditation, breathing exercises, and readings are all part of the course. Jivamukti yoga is a very comprehensive course for body, mind, and soul.
Sivananda or Vedanta yoga
Only the Sivananda organization offers the courses in its own centers. Sivananda yoga emphasizes breathing and relaxation, positive thinking, meditation, and food with a strong spiritual component throughout the exercises and postures. The unique feature of Sivananda Yoga is the intermediate relaxation that occurs between each posture. As a result of it, the body takes the time to assimilate all the benefits of each previously performed asana.
Created by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the beginning of the 80s, Sudarshan Kriya yoga means ‘proper vision by purifying action. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is a unique breathing practice that involves cyclical breathing patterns that range from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating. In Kriya yoga, you take control of your breath, which positively affects your immune system, nerves, and psychological problems. This yoga is particularly effective on anxiety and depression.
Prenatal yoga is a course designed specifically for pregnant women’s needs. The instructor then selects specific exercises (postural and respiratory) to assist them in overcoming the challenges of pregnancy, facilitating the stages of childbirth, and promoting the return to body balance after birth.
Available in : Vietnamese