yoga teacher trainingBy Jenny Park 

As yoga continues to gain ground and popularity, we can look forward to seeing more variations and interpretations of the basic ancient wisdom. The following are four modern yoga styles with their own unique focus, methodology, and philisophy. 

Power Yoga

High energy and vigorous movement through the asanas often characterize this variety of yoga. Power yoga owes much of its popularity to the fact that it provides a strong workout, and as such as introduced many fitness minded individuals to the joy of yoga practice. At its heart, power yoga is simply a branch of Ashtanga yoga. Power yoga varies wildly from one studio to the next due to the fact that it doesn’t follow a particular set of specific poses. 

Restorative Yoga

If power yoga occupies one end of the physical spectrum, restorative is on the opposite side. Yoga props are typically used during every restorative class to deepen the relaxation achieved with each pose. These classes are not only popular with the stressed and the injured but the extremely active as well, who see it as an essential addition to their demanding routines. Poses are usually held for extended periods of time, making restorative yoga deceptively effective. 

Yin Yoga

This variety of yoga effectively stretches the delicate connective tissues surrounding the joints without injury. This is accomplished by holding a pose for an extremely long period of time. Yin yoga is the polar opposite of the vigorous styles of yoga that have gained the most popularity among fitness minded individuals. In Chinese philosophy, muscles are yang, while the connective joints and tendons are yin. Unlike restorative yoga, yin does not use props. Gravity is embraced as part of the practice instead of being counteracted. 

Yoga Nidra

Are you surprised to see that I listed as one of the yoga styles?  Hey – some classes only focus on nidra and it has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes this is thought of as only a technique, but this is a modern twist on the yoga nidra that has been practiced in India for centuries. A typical yoga nidra class consists of 10-15 minutes of preparatory stretches followed by laying down in savasana for an extended period of time. The goal during yoga nidra is to enter what is known as yogic sleep. The body rests while the consciousness remains awake and aware of any lingering sensations in the body. Hidden stresses are revealed during a yoga nidra class and may be effectively recognized and eventually dealt with, making it an ideal practice to combat post traumatic stress disorder. 

Each of these unique styles offers students a specialized experience that meets their individual needs and challenges.

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