So many styles of yoga.
Yoga has shifted, changed and developed over the years so that there are now countless different styles of yoga. It can be confusing to know the differences.
Hatha, Power, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hot, Yin, Restorative, Kundalini, and the list goes on & on…
How are you supposed to know the difference between all of these types? Which type is right for you?
It helps to know that most modern yoga can be traced back to one man. Yes, that’s right, one man. His name was Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. He is known as the Father of Modern Yoga. He inspired all of the major branches of yoga that have developed over the last 50 years and died in 1989 at the age of 101.
From one comes many.
So, from one man comes MANY different yoga styles. How can so many styles develop from one person? Each person who studies yoga has their own opinions on what is right or better, and each person who studied with Krishnamacharya added in their own opinions. As this happened, they developed their own slightly different versions.
This adding in of new opinions has continued to occur over the years & now we have countless ‘styles’ of yoga.
In my 16 years of yoga practice, I’ve developed my own style as well. It keeps shifting as I take more yoga trainings and as I dive deeper into the work. Something that doesn’t shift for me though is this desire to learn from the different styles of yoga. I find little bits and pieces that work for me & add them into my own style of practice.
What hasn’t changed is my favorite yoga practice.
So, what is my favorite yoga practice?
It’s not Vinyasa, Restorative, or Yin. Although I do love all of those styles. I’ve take bits & pieces from each of them to develop my own version of yoga but none of them is my favorite.
My favorite yoga practice is the one where I listen to my own body.
I practice yoga at least 10 minutes & usually much more, every single day. In my practice, when I step on my mat, I often have an idea of my energy and goals for the day. What is always fascinating to me is that the moment I start to move my body in a physical yoga practice is the moment that I really begin know what I need for that day.
I start out with an idea of what I need from my thinking brain, but my body will quickly tell me if I’m moving too fast or too slow. My body already knows what I need & it will tell me that it needs a certain pose or sequence. Sometimes I need to simply move my body as I release some energy and sometimes I need a lot of stillness in order to heal or refresh myself.
Either way, I won’t get my practice right if I don’t listen to my body!
I know from years of experience that if I try to force a practice into a shape or look that isn’t right for that moment, then I won’t leave my mat feeling supported by my practice. And, if my yoga practice isn’t supporting me, then why am I doing it?
Those days that I step on my mat & do a completely different yoga practice than I expected are the days when I really honor my own body’s needs. They are the days when I feel supported and know that my practice is helping and not hurting me.
How do you practice this way?
I talk about awareness a lot and that’s what you need to practice yoga this way. Really listening to your body means that you are aware of those little things. Your ankle feels a little different when you move a certain way. Your breath is more shallow than normal. your back is tight in a spot that is normally loose. All of these small awarenesses help you to tailor your practice in a way that suits you in the moment.
Awareness is a skill that you develop the more that you practice it. It’s that awareness to what is happening right now that helps me to get my yoga practice ‘right’.
How is my practice lately?
With all that is going on right now, there is a lot more anxiety in our world. The uncertainty has us all on edge & I feel it too!
Lately, my practice has been slower and deeper. My body needs the time to let go of that deep tension that gets built up listening to the news, talking with others or simply trying to figure out life right now. I need that time to rest and regenerate so that I can face life with more ease.
Even though I’m craving a lot of slow practices lately, I still have those days where my body says it’s time to move and I end up doing a lot of Sun Salutations. Those days are good too!
I don’t believe there is just one right yoga practice out there.
I do believe that there are MANY yoga practices out there that can be supportive and helpful. Finding what works for you in the moment is the real key.
If you’re finding that your yoga practice isn’t supporting you in the way that it used to support you, then it might be time to listen more closely to your body. Ask it what it needs right now. Ask it how you can support it. Listen inward so that you can hear the messages that your body is trying to send to you.
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I’d love to hear what your favorite style of yoga is. Drop a comment and share it with us!
Love & Hugs,