Photo: Diana Bagnoli

Nowadays there are many different styles of yoga like Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Anusara Yoga, Sauna Yoga, Goat Yoga, Beer Yoga… I have done yoga for myself in the sauna before. That’s quite nice. But yoga with goats? Not quite sure about that. And beer yoga? Maybe better a beer after yoga….

Below I present you our yoga styles. Styles of yoga styles that you can practice with us on the Gotta Yoga app. 

Anu Visuri – Nadi Shodhana (Pranayama) (Photo: Diana Bagnoli)

But first a few words about:

 

Pranayama

‘Prana’ means ‘life energy’; ‘yama’ is ‘control’. So, pranayama is control of life energy. Or, ‘Pran’ is ‘life energy’ and ‘Ayama’ is ‘expansion’. So, expansions of the life energy. You can decide for yourself which definition you prefer.

But, ist about breathing techniques. The yoga tradition distinguishes between Sahaja Pranayama and Anubandha Pranayama. ‘Sahaja’ means ‘natural’. So it is about our natural breath that we are born with. It leads and we follow it. When you observe and perceive your breath, you are practising Sahaja Pranayama. ‘Anu’ means ‘with’ and ‘bandha’ is ‘lock’. Anubandha Pranayama are the classical breathing techniques of Hatha Yoga, such as Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing) and Kappalabathi (fire breathing). Here you take control and the breath follows you. Both Sahaja and Anubandha are wonderful tools to centre and focus us.

Pranayama is a practice of Hatha Yoga and belongs closely together with the asanas and meditation. However, you can also practice the breathing techniques separately from asana and meditation. It is always a good idea to connect with the breath.

Check out the breathing techniques on the Gotta Yoga app!

Adélaïde Klarwein – Meditation (Photo: Lucile Pescadere)

And a little bit about:

Meditation

Meditation means sitting still. Not quite. There are many ways to meditate. Sometimes an asana practice can also be a type of meditation. Meditating is about connecting with our true essence. The breath can help us do this and that is why it is common to focus on the breath when meditating. A regular meditation practice does not mean sitting quietly with your eyes closed for a whole hour. A meditation can also be shorter, maybe 5 minutes at the beginning. You don’t have to sit, nor do you have to close your eyes. Think about when and where you feel completely connected to yourself in that particular moment. These moments are meditation.

If you feel like it, you can also meditate with us on the app!

Anu Visuri – Revolved Side Angle Pose, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Hatha) (Photo: Diana Bagnoli)

Hatha Yoga

The word ‘Hatha’ translated into English means ‘powerful, forceful’. Originally, it meant forceful exercises with the help of which the yogi could get further on his spiritual path. These exercises were yogic postures, breathing techniques, cleansing methods, such as nasal irrigation, various bandhas or activations of certain muscles in the body to keep the life energy in the body. The goal of the Hatha yogis was immortality. Quite literally. 

Hatha yoga is about the body. The body is the tool for liberation. Through the body, the yogi can unfold his essence. This means that all yoga that happens on the yoga mat is called Hatha Yoga. Today, however, many understand Hatha Yoga as a yoga style that focuses on the alignment of the body and is not necessarily super strenuous. The yoga I teach would fit into this category. I myself call my yoga ‘alignment-based hatha yoga’. 

So, all the yoga styles below are Hatha Yoga.

Valentina Amato – Cobra (Vinyasa) (Photo: Diana Bagnoli)

Vinyasa Yoga

The term ‘vinyasa’ derives from the Sanskrit term ‘nyasa’, meaning “to place”, and the prefix ‘vi’, “in a special way” – as in the arrangement of notes in music, the steps on a path to the top of a mountain, or the connection of one asana to the next. Vinyasa is often translated as flow. The movements follow the breath. Each movement is done together with the breath. 

The origin of today’s Vinyasa Yoga is in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga tradition (see below). Often the sequence ‘Down Dog – Plank – Chaturanga Dandasana – Cobra- Down Dog’ is also called a Vinyasa. 

So whenever you move together with your breath, it is vinyasa.

Gabriel Girard – Seated forward fold (Iyengar) (Photo: Auuna)

Iyengar Yoga

Iyengar Yoga gleicht Ausrichtung. 

B. K. S. Iyengar wurde im 1918 in einer armen, Tamil-sprachigen Priesterfamilie im südöstlichen Karnataka geboren. Als Kind war er oft sehr krank und litt u.a. unter Malaria, Typhus und Tuberkulose. Mit 15 Jahren zog er zu einer seiner älteren Schwestern in Mysore, die die Frau von Krishnamacharya (der Vater des modernen posturalen Yogas) war. Iyengar lernte Yoga bei Krishnamacharya nur anderthalb Jahre und begann dann Yoga zu unterrichten.

Da sein Körper seine Kraft in der Kindheit wegen vieler Krankheiten verloren hatte und er immer noch kränklich war, begann er langsam seinen eigenen Yogastil zu kreieren, der später seinen Namen bekam. Er ging davon aus, dass man Yoga als Körpertherapie verwenden kann und dass Yoga Krankheiten heilen kann. Wichtig für ihn war, dass die Yogahaltungen optimal für jedes Individuum durchgeführt werden. Ihm haben wir zu danken, dass wir heute ganz viele Yogahilfsmittel haben, wie Yogablöcke, Gürte, Bolster, Kissen, Decken usw. In einer Iyengar Yoga Stunde werden nicht unbedingt viele Haltungen gemacht, aber sie werden ganz genau mit einer optimalen Ausrichtung und vielen Hilfsmitteln geübt.

Also, wenn Dein Yogalehrer sagt, dass Du einen Block für eine Yogahaltung brauchst, verwende den Block. Es geht um Dein Wohlbefinden.

Giuseppe Panarello – Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Ashtanga) (Photo: Diana Bagnoli)

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

‘Ashtanga’ translated into German means ‘eight limbs’. The term comes from a philosophical text, Patanjali’s Yogasutra, which actually has little to do with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, K. Pattabhi Jois considered the text to be the source for his yoga.

K. Pattabhi Jois was born into a priest family in Karnataka in 1915. At the age of twelve, he saw a yoga-asana demonstration by Krishnamacharya (the father of modern postural yoga) and wanted to learn from him himself. From 1932, Jois studied yoga with Krishnamacharya and taught yoga at the Sanskrit University in Mysore. Like Iyengar, he was also a student of Krishnamacharya.

Most of Krishnamacharya’s students were young men, many still children. To create discipline and concentration in the boys, Krishnamacharya gave them physical exercises that burned a lot of energy, like jumping from one yoga posture to another. The movements were subordinated to the breath and the exercises were done dynamically. 

This way of teaching was adopted and further developed by K. Pattabhi Jois. In his Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga there are six series with different postures, all building on each other. The first series is practised most often, as it is usually felt to be the basic one.

Next time you jump from Uttanasana into Chaturanga Dandasana on your mat and your movements flow together with your breath, you are following the teachings of Krishnamacharya and K.Pattabhi Jois.

Kim Hurel – Frog Pose (Yin Yoga) (Photo: Bertrand Sinssaine)

Yin

The term ‘yin’ is Chinese and refers to the cool, passive energy. The opposite is ‘yang’, the warm, active energy. Yin yoga was thus inspired by ancient Chinese Taoist practices in which stretches are held for a long period of time.

The American Paulie Zink made the technique of long stretching known in the West in the 1970s. He combined it with elements of Hatha yoga. Among Zink’s students was the American Paul Grilley, who was also interested in Hatha yoga, martial arts and meditation. Soon Grilley began to develop Zink’s Taoist yoga, Hatha yoga and the Chinese system of meridians into his own practice. One of Grilley’s students, Sarah Powers, who emphasised a conscious and systematic breath during Yin Yoga practice, is the one who gave this type of practice the name ‘Yin Yoga’.

A typical Yin Yoga class lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. Not that many postures are practised. Each posture is often held for more than five minutes as students are encouraged to rest in a balance of effort and ease. In Yin Yoga, the connective tissues of the body are manipulated, stretched and elongated with long, slow postures. As Yin Yoga works deep into our connective tissues, we stretch not only the tissues themselves, but also our mind’s ability to be patient and calm.

Vanessa de Haas – Acro Yoga with Kids (Photo: Blandine Soulage)

Acro Yoga (Kids)

In 2003 Acro Yoga International was founded by Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klei in California, USA. They were the first to codify the Acro Yoga practice in 2006. Acro Yoga is a very modern style of yoga. It is a physical practice that combines yoga and acrobatics. Acro Yoga includes many types of partner and group acrobatics where at least one person is lifted up. 

Acro Yoga can teach us to make quick decisions. It also increases proprioception, which is the awareness of how one’s body moves in space. Acro Yoga trains self-mastery without rigidly clinging to external circumstances and reminds us that everything can change and throw us off our centres.

On the Gotta Yoga app you can find Acro Yoga with Vanessa and her children. Although it’s great fun with the kids, adults can also do Acro Yoga without kids. It will be fun!

 

This article was written by:

Anu Visuri

https://anuvisuriyoga.com/

Anu Visuri, yoga teacher and co-founder of Gotta Yoga

Certified Anusara® yoga teacher, Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500 & YACEP).

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