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Ashtanga, Anusara and Iyengar yoga are all forms of Hatha yoga.
With so much buzz around yoga, you may find it challenging to keep tabs on the different styles. Although the focus in Western yoga tends to be on physical asanas, or poses, an experienced teacher will incorporate all eights limbs into one class, whether you realize it or not. They are: Yama -- ethics, Niyama -- self-discipline, Asanas -- postures, Pranayama -- breath, Pratyahara -- internalization, Dharana --concentration, Dhyana -- devotion and Samadhi -- union.
Bikram and Kundalini
Regardless of what system you decide to pursue, the intention is to harmonize your mind, body and soul as well as the energy around you. Bikram Choudhury is the creator of the 26 Hatha yoga posture sequence called Bikram yoga. This style is typically performed in a heated room of 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. It focuses on removing toxins and improving circulation. Kundalini yoga was created by Harbhajan Singh Puri, known as Yogi Bhajan. In 1968 he came to the states bringing with him Kundalini yoga. This form primarily uses meditation and breathing techniques to balance mind, body and soul.
Ashtanga and Anusara
Ashtanga yoga translates into "eight-limbed" yoga. It was modernized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and includes various series of Hatha yoga poses synchronized to breath. The goal is to detoxify muscles and organs through sweat to improve circulation and cultivate a strong body and calm mind. Anusara yoga was created by John Friend. The main intention is to align the physical body with the energy of the universe through the practice of Hatha yoga postures. Anusara classes follow heart-oriented themes, incorporate Tantric philosophy and embody alignment and adjustments.
Sivananda and Iyengar
Swami Vishnudevananda was the first in the West to develop the Sivananda Teacher Training program. This method of yoga uses meditation, breathing exercises and 12 basic Hatha yoga postures to reach the state of union where the mind, body and soul are one with the divine. Iyengar yoga is B.K.S. Iyengar's technique created from his personal practice. This system uses props such as belts, blocks, blankets and bolsters to achieve perfect alignment in each Hatha yoga pose. The intention is to integrate mind, body and emotions.
Kripalu, Jivamukti and Viniyoga
Kripalu Yoga is the interpretation of Swami Kripalu's teaching by Indian-born Amrit Desai. Attention is paid to holistic health and self-discovery through the practice of yoga and Ayurvedic practices. Jivamukti Yoga was founded by Sharon Gannon and David Life. This methodology uses yoga poses and five core tenets to teach that everything is connected and can live in harmony. Viniyoga is a style of yoga that implements adaptations and modifications to practitioners based on their individuals needs. Chanting, movement and breathing techniques are incorporated into the poses. In this system function precedes form.