Although yoga is truly an ancient practice whose carvings have been found on stone reliefs dating from the very beginnings of Indo-European civilization, yoga practiced today is mostly a cluster of modern styles created in the 20th century.This occurrence is actually a natural process of evolution that circumvents almost nothing, from organisms and species to technological solutions all the way to ideas and concepts. In case of yoga, when a large number of different people, with quite different historical, geographical and cultural backgrounds become engaged in one activity, this activity becomes adapted or altered by the circumstances surrounding it. Therefore, over the years that followed the “adaptation” of yoga to western societies, different practical approaches styles of yoga have formed. Some are dynamic, fast-paced and intense. Others are slower, gentle and relaxing. How to recognize and choose the style that best suits you? Here is a short wrap-up that might help.
Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic style of yoga characterized by transitions between different poses (asanas) through a specific sequence of movements (vinyasas). Although this style is considered as advanced, it may be appropriate for beginners, if the class or specific asanas are tailored to the capabilities of the group. Vinyasa yoga is great for active people looking for creative and physically challenging ways to explore their bodies.
This is also a dynamic and rather demanding yoga style, but as in the previous style, it is often customized for the beginners. As for the traditional rule, the Ashtanga sequence is a precisely determined and practitioners always perform the same set of asanas. These asanas are hierarchically arranged so mastering one or previous is a prerequisite to move on to the next. Ashtanga Yoga is an excellent choice for you if highly rate structure, (self)discipline and order.
Hot yoga/ Bikram yoga
Hot yoga is another challenging yoga style, characterized by high temperatures (from 38 to 40 degrees) and a high percentage of humidity as a result of heavy sweating during the classes. Because of the high temperatures, the style is less dynamic and is more based on holding asanas longer, which can be performed more efficiently due to the increased warmth of muscles and joints. It is also a pre-established sequence of poses.
Yin yoga is more passive, revitalizing and relaxing yoga style. It aims at gentle stretching and strengthening of deep, often rigid tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and muscular wraps. This is achieved by long body retention in specific positions with the concentration on the breath. While the physical practice is passive, the mind is very active and focused. Yin yoga brings a mental and emotional calmness and it is great preparation for meditation.
It is an international practice which follows the same format worldwide. The teachings have survived unchanged and are practiced as originally formed by Swami Sivananda in 1936 in India. The typical Sivananda yoga class consists of 12 basic asanas, regular periods of relaxation in between asanas and yogic breathing techniques or pranayama. Sivananda Yoga is a complete healing system designed to help the body maintain a natural healthy state through systematized, naturally paced body and breath movement.
So there you have it. When you identify a style that looks appealing, get out there and give it a try. But have in mind, it is about coming to the mat to feel not to accomplish, it’s not about touching your toes but what u learn on your way down.