Ananda yoga (uh-non-duh)
Originated in California with Swami Kriyananda (Donald Walters) who, in the 1960s, completed a period of intense yoga training aspiring to loftier goals than simply building a hard body. The practice includes gentle postures, gentle transitions, and self-awarenesswith Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi and guru to Bikram Choudhury.) Students use silent affirmations while holding a pose,
Anusara yoga (ahn-ooh-sar-uh)
Established in 1997 by John Friend of Spring, Texas. Anusara means “to step into the current of divine will” or “flowing with grace.” The unique emphasis is on the “Universal Principals of Alignment” which are Opening to Grace, Muscular Energy, Inner Spiral, Outer Spiral, and Organic Energy
Ashtanga yoga (osh-tong-uh)
Created by Pattabhi Jois, is a pre-determined set of poses divided into the Primary and Secondary series (advanced students learn as many as six series) and the movement is rapid, which quickly builds heat and strength. Use of sun salutations help touch each muscle of the body. Popular teachers include Richard Freeman; brothers from the Texas Hill Country, David and Doug Swenson; and Beryl Bender Berch.
Baptiste yoga (bap-teest)
Baron Baptiste, influenced by Ashtanga Yoga, created what he calls Power Yoga. Like Ashtanga, the movement is rapid and heat- inducing
Bikram yoga (beek-rum)
Founded by Bikram Choudhury, who now resides in posh Southern California. The key to Bikram yoga is its replication of yoga’s birthplace—India. The atmosphere within the studio is hot (topping 100o) and very humid which is meant to loosen tension from the body and remove toxins through sweat. Like Ashtanga, Bikram has a pre-determined set of poses, 26 of them, which are never altered in any way. If the practice is not exactly as prescribed by Mr. Choudhury, it is not Bikram yoga, no exceptions!
All physical yoga styles . It is the yoga of physical well-being, designed to balance body, mind, and spirit.
Created by Swami Satchidananda, who was a follower of Swami Sivananda, presented his philosophy of “an easeful body, a peaceful mind, and a useful life” in 1966. Integral yoga spends 30-40 minutes a day doing postures to get the body fit, followed by a deep relaxation, then a pranayama practice of rapid breathing to energize the body. The approach is gentle and meditative.
Therapy Joseph LePage developed Yoga Therapy in 1992 in San Francisco, California for hospitals and rehab centers. Therapeutic use of gentle postures, guided imagery, and breathing techniques are used to aid heart disease, AIDS, and psychiatric disorders
Iyengar yoga (eye-en-gar)
B.K.S. Iyengar is from Pune, India, studied under Krishnamacharya, and came to the United States in 1974. Intense focus is placed on the subtleties of each posture and includes detailed, slow, precise postures using props such as belts, blocks, chairs, walls, and blankets to accommodate special needs, weaknesses, or imbalances. The practice is very demanding mentally because of the attention to physical detail. Iyengar’s most popular teacher is Patricia Walden who has many books and videos available.
Jiva Mukti yoga (jee-vuh mook-tee)
Partners David Life and Sharon Gannon teach Jiva Mukti yoga in the heart of Manhattan. The practice combines Ashtanga, vinyasa, chanting, meditation, readings from sacred texts, music and affirmations, and courses in Sanskrit
Kali Ray Tri yoga
In 1986, Kali Ray established Tri Yoga in California. Flowing vinyasa movement and mudras (hand seals) are taught in a deeply meditative environment often accompanied to music. Tri Yoga renamed popular yoga poses to fit its needs: Down dog is called Mountain, Pigeon is called Swan, and when moving into standing forward bend the instruction is to “touch earth
Kripalu yoga (kri-pah-loo)
In the 1970s, Amrit Desai studied under the Indian guru Kripalvananda, who was a master of Kundalini yoga. Desai later founded The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, in Lenox, Massachusetts. The Kripalu Center is the largest yoga retreat center in North America, located in the Berkshire Mountains. The focus is self-discovery with three distinct stages of practice: willful practice, willful surrender, and meditation in motion. Practice- intensity ranges from gentle to vigorous.
Kundalini yoga (koon-duh-lee-nee)
Once a closely guarded secret practiced by a select few, Yogi Bhajan broke the tradition in 1969 and brought Kundalini yoga to the west. Using postures, dynamic breathing techniques, bandhas, chanting and mantras, meditation, and mudras, students perform to move energy into the higher chakras (energy centers.)
Pheonix Rising Yoga
A combination of classical yoga, breathing, and one-on-one psychology
Sivananda yoga (shi-vuh-non-duh)
Based on the philosophy of Swami Sivananda. In 1957, Swami VishnuDevananda, a follower of Sivananda, brought his teachings to the United States. He founded the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers (now totaling 80 world-wide), which teachers the 5-principle system of proper exercise (Sun Salutations and 12 basic asana), positive thinking, and meditation.
Means “transcendent inner experience,” developed by Rama Birch who was frustrated with teaching yoga and with students who seemed to be forcing the pose onto their body rather than allowing the pose to express itself from the inside out. Rather than just “learning” the poses, her approach is to feel the effect and the “opening” nature of the pose. The practice is generally very approachable, and accepts an ability to teach differently for the given situation. This led to the development of yoga for Dr. Deepak Chopra and his Center for Well Being.
Uses visualization, chanting, asana, and strong breathing practices to tap highly charged energy in the body called kundalini.
Created by T.K.V. Desikachar (son of Krishnamacharya), Viniyoga is a vinyasa-like approach to asana, occasionally intense, and also therapeutic. Poses are synchronized with the breath and the practice is determined by the needs of the students as they grow and change. The most well-known Viniyoga teacher is Gary Kraftsow who now runs the American Viniyoga Institute in Maui and leads workshops world-wide.
::COMING HOME TO WHO YOU ALREADY ARE ::
“In the many wisdom traditions throughout history, the body has been called a temple for the spirit. We prefer to begin with an image that is less grandiose than a temple. A temple is an awesome destination. To go to a temple requires that I come outside of my home and everyday life in order to come in contact with the presence of the sublime. Rather than a temple of magnificent marble columns and lofty spire, we are inviting you into an image of your body that is more personal, more like a cozy seat in front of a hearth, shared with your most trusted friend. And this trusted friend beside you is yourself – not the lofty teachings of an authority on mystical transcendence, but the wisdom of your own inner counsel.
Among the many views present in the work of yoga today, we hold a perspective that comes from an inquiry into who you already are. In our view, yoga is an inquiry that begins when you come to the questions of meaning an purpose in your life. Yoga can be a mirror for you to behold the power, beauty and wisdom that is bubbling inside of you. We sincerely desire that the time you invest in this inquiry will result in a deeper appreciation of the flesh and blood home of your own body. Nothing less than a homecoming to the cozy security of your home within. In contrast, yoga is often presented in the West as an austere and esoteric discipline, somewhat unattainable. The books, journals and media have produces image of perfect postures modelled by perfect people that become internalized as secret goal we long to achieve. These presentations can easily become more ways to separate ourselves from our in-born wisdom by glamorizing the technology of yoga and idealizing the authority special star yoga teachers. Yoga can appear as yet another way to look outside of ourselves for the peace and harmony we seek.
What if there were another way to a harmonious integration of body, mind and spirit that did not require you to leave the truth of your own inner wisdom and the comfort of your body as your home? What if you relaxed into a relationship with yourself in which you have the attitude of fascination, being so absorbed in the intrigue of your actual experience that you become interested in yourself as you are, interested both in the pleasure and the pain of being you? Is it possible that the environment of your body could feel like home – like a place you would want to be in which there were no goals you had to impose upon yourself to make your body different of better? To return to the vivid sensations of being at home in our bodies requires a new kind of journey that does not travel beyond ourselves as the source for self-improvement. To come home to ourselves, we are needing a return to the original creativity of spirit which allows us the freedom and benevolence to begin with ourselves as we already are.
Our sense of who we ar as individuals develops within the context of our culture’s wisdom, history, and traditions. But hidden in the nature of being identified within any group – be that family, religion, or culture – is the seductive force that homogenizes all idiosyncratic differences into the unifying characteristics of the group. To come to intimately know ourselves as individuals requires turning inside to identify personal meaning and fulfillment.
In looking to the historic traditions of yoga as a map for making the inner journey, I have discovered that unless I look to the early spirit of inquiry and creativity modeled in the origins of Yoga, I am likely to get caught up in the expectations inherent in the contemporary versions of yoga that are cycling through our culture at the moment. Many popular forms of yoga are offered with such fundamentalist zeal that personal inquiry is discouraged and experimentation with the traditional form is met with caution and fear. Routinized or formulaic approaches to yoga that do not vary with the individual or take into account the developmental needs that arise at different stages of life can become internalized as a substitute for genuine self-inquiry into what stimulates our evolutionary capacities toward growth and change.
We use the word “yoga” in a similar in a way in which the word “adobe” has become universal. The word adobe is not indigenous American or Spanish, as I had always thought. Adobe is an Arabic word that found its way into use throughout the world, from Africa to Israel, from India to Costa Rica, from Santa Fe to Peru. In all those places, adobe refers to huts and cottages that are constructed of mud bricks. In my estimation, the word yoga has similar universality. As I watch the word yoga enter mainstream culture, I appreciate its wide reference to a multitude of practices and modalities that share the foundational intention of bringing abut integration of all aspects of one’s being through a combination of physical and mental practices that both expand self-awareness and produce spiritual attunement.
Our bodies, like the clay we impress with the designs and shapes of our imagination, are infinitely malleable. We are the beings endowed with the ability to both shape and be shaped by the worlds we live in.
:: YOGA AS INQUIRY :: STAY CURIOUS
“As Yoga has entered into the mainstream culture, we have noticed that the word “yoga” has become a generic term which refers to a multitude of practices and modalities sharing the foundational intention of bringing about the integration of body, mind and spirit. By contexting yoga as interdisciplinary, we draw from the Eastern and Western traditions of body-mind culture to stimulate the creativity which makes it possible to have yoga come alive in today’s world.
A teacher and student who opens into an interdisciplinary inquiry of yoga is capable of participation with the evolution of yoga through the validity of their own experimentation and discovery. Ultimately, we view the goal of yoga to be an avenue to self-awakening. Traditionalists who prefer to keep yoga pure to the conventions of a particular school or historical past in India, are facing an erosion of support for a fundamentalist view that there is a true yoga. What are often being presented as historical records that strictly outline the do’s and dont’s of yoga are being revealed as contradictory, historically unverifiable and given widely differing interpretations. What is verifiable is that yoga in many forms has been practiced for centuries and is the result of a continuously evolving process of inquiry.
We do not view yoga as a 6,000 year-old-science or religion that must be historically related to be of use in our growth as human beings on the planet at this time. We do view yoga as an art – like the art of painting for example. If you want to learn to paint, you begin with the style and material of the teacher who introduces you the experience. You learn the basic of the approach and open into the wider field of experience by studying many artist, many styles and many traditions. But if your prematurely fixate on the style of one school of thought or expression, you will never find your own personal style. Each new teacher will give you a window to see your unique expression and contribution to the field.
In addition to yoga as an art, we also believe that you is a science, the truth of which is revealed through direct, personal experience and results. We believe that the archetypes of experience which are unfolded through various yoga posture and movements are open for a wide variety of experimentation and are revealed as meaningful in the life of every individual who take son the practice of yoga – in whatever form one is introduced to the experience. “
“Come home to who you already are!” In experiences of yogic inquiry, you will discover your ability to listen to your body through communication with your internal self. You will find that your body is a place of refuge, renewal and self-regenerations, as well as a source of intuition and wisdom. The energy that your receive is the energy of sensory awareness, An attunement to the pulse of your own inner being. You will come the sense that your body is not just a house that you enter from time to time, but a home – a place that is continuously being fashioned by you to fulfill your needs and to make deep contact with the unfolding layers of yourself.
After all, the story goes that God got his hands stuck in a lump of clay to fashion an image in his own likeness. If we are to participate with the creative force moving through all of creation, isn’t it possible that we must claim the power within our being to shape the world in which we live – from the inside out. “
“Consciousness is not something we learn or create, it is discovered through a process of unlearning habitual patterns which keep us locked into the past.”
:: ISN’T THAT INTERESTING? ::
Yoga provides a process of inquiry that leads to consciousness within ourselves. The immediate physical benefits are the results we experience. We have energy. With this new abundance of energy, we direct our attention back in to deeper and deeper levels of awareness, expanding into the domains of the primal programming in our biological organism. Yoga develops one’s ability to tap into the inexhaustible source of creative energy that keeps bubbling up when you stay open to learning form your own experience. The opportunity to teach you is a privilege in that our students draw out realizations that remain hidden to us until they are called forth. The relationship between student and teach is a direct connection to staying fresh and involved in the inquiry process.”