Ashtanga yoga is named after the term given in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for the eight-fold path of yoga, or ashtanga, meaning “eight-limbed” in Sanskrit. It was Sri K. Pattabhi’s belief that the asana “limb” of yoga must be practiced before the others could be mastered. The practice was developed in Mysore, India where Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught and set up the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. There are several key principles that underlie the practice of Ashtanga yoga:
Breath: It is recommended that postures are held for five to eight breaths or more, if possible.
Drishti: For every posture in the series, there is a set of drishtis, or gaze points.
Vinyasa: This is the breathing system that connects every movement in the series with the breath.
Bandhas: The practice should be carried out with the bandhas, or “body locks,” engaged in order to ensure that the breath is also correct. Daily practice: A six-days-per-week practice is encouraged, with Saturday as the rest day. The days of the full and new moon should also be taken as rest days, and women may also refrain from practicing during menstruation.
Ashtanga yoga classes are often taught in the “Mysore style.” In this style, practitioners are encouraged to memorize the sequence they are working on, then individually work through the sequence during the class. The teacher then comes around to adjust and support, rather than guiding the individual’s practice. Thus, the students set their own pace consistent with their ability, but practice in the company of other students and with the encouragement of their teacher. They should master each pose in the sequence before they move on to the next.
Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice and, as such, is more suited to students who want a dynamic and rigorous yoga practice.
Flow yoga is a term given to a style of yoga where the practitioner moves gracefully from one pose to the next and the class, or practice, becomes almost like a dance.
Generally, each movement in to or out of a posture is made on an inhalation or exhalation, so the yoga unites the breath with the movement in a choreographed sequence. The flowing movements may be combined with some longer holds of certain postures.
Flow yoga is also called Vinyasa Flow yoga.
Classes of Flow yoga will usually begin with gentler movements to warm up the body, then into progressively more challenging flowing sequences. These may include balances, inversions and peak poses. It may end with calmer, deeper stretches, and often floor-based asana practice.
Flow yoga classes are perhaps some of the most popular yoga classes in the West. This may be because of the physical workout they can provide. Often, the room will also be heated to add to the intensity. However, depending on the teacher, they may also be much slower and gentler.
The breath synchronization of Flow yoga is said to maximize the positive benefits of the practice, making it like a moving meditation. The breath works by:
Maintaining the pace of the sequence, preventing rushing through postures Keeping the body temperature consistent Giving a greater mental focus Helping block out distractions Assisting in finding the proper form of postures Many styles of yoga incorporate Flow yoga including Ashtanga, Anusara, Bikram and Power yoga.
Vannac What Is Alignment?
Alignment is the word we use in yoga when we talk about the ideal way that a pose should be done. “Listen to your body” is something you hear over and over again in yoga classes. For many students, it’s a tough directive to follow, especially when the same yoga teachers that are telling you to listen to your body are also coaching you into uncomfortable positions and encouraging you to stay there longer than you’d like. So which is it? Are you supposed to do it your way or their way?
Kundalini Yoga is said to be the yoga of awareness, and each exercise is to deepen the experience of concentration and awareness of body and mind. Kundalini Yoga is different from other styles of yoga on offer in Cambodia as it combines breathing, movement, mantra and meditation in a continues class flow. Common yoga asanas are the basis for many of the movement exercises. Movements, as well as the use of mantra, may also be part of breathing exercises and meditation.