By Jenny Park
What are modern yoga types? In this case, we’ll consider modern to be a style which has come into existence within the past 100 years. As yoga continues to gain ground and popularity, we can look forward to seeing more variations and interpretations of the basic ancient wisdom we have come to love and respect. The following are four modern yoga types with their own unique approach, focus, methodology, and philosophy. Each type has a different following, because all of them are unique.
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. Some teachers used to say: At its heart, power yoga is simply a branch of Ashtanga yoga. However, Ashtanga is composed of specific series, which is like a lesson plan template. There are no surprises in a specific Ashtanga series of movements. The primary series is the same in Florida or India. However, Power yoga sequences vary wildly from one studio to the next due to the fact that it doesn’t follow a particular set of specific poses. Additionally, Power yoga teachers can come from Ashtanga, Vinyasa, or Hatha lineages. Hatha flowing classes have become commonplace and teachers often plunge into the Power yoga pool after taking a Power yoga intensive for teachers.
If power yoga occupies one end of the physical spectrum, restorative is on the opposite side. Many 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. While students relax and let gravity do a significant amount of the work, the muscles go into deep stretch mode, which draws tension from the body and mind.
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 poses can last one to five minutes for practitioners depending on experience levels. Advanced practitioners might hold postures more then five minutes, which can lead to less posts in a class. 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 has slowly evolved toward the use props for alignment and comfort. Originally, yin was a prop free modern yoga type. Gravity is embraced as part of the practice, but soft props allow the body to gradually open up.
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 was developed by Swami Satyananda Saraswati who mastered many ancient yoga methods and was also the founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. Today, a typical Yoga Nidra class consists of 10-15 minutes of preparatory asanas and stretches followed by laying down in Savasana for an extended period of time. The goal during a Yoga Nidra session 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. Yoga Nidra is also great for problem solving situations. A Yoga Nidra class can last for 30 to 75 minutes and meet the needs of all students.
Each of these uniquely modern yoga types offers students a specialized experience that meets their individual needs and challenges. What would the ancient yogis say about this evolution of yoga? I think their options would differ, much like the master teachers of today. Yogic methods continue to evolve toward the needs of students. In some ways, change may be more like a circular path than a linear staircase.
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