Aug 11, 2012

Beginner's Guide to Yoga (Styles, Schools, Traditions) by Elise Espat


 I'll be honest.  My first official yoga classes were with Jane Fonda on a VHS tape in my living room.  When I eventually mustered up the courage to find a teacher, I had no idea what to look for, or even that there were different styles.  Overwhelmed, I made my decision based on 2 factors: location and price.  I ended up at a great place with some wonderful teachers.  I was really lucky.  This was years ago when there were maybe three places from which I could choose from in my area...and I was living in New York City!  Now, it is impossible to walk down the block in NYC without running into at least one yoga establishment.  While the vast number of options might feel overwhelming at first, consider yourself lucky.  More options mean more possibilities of finding something that really works for you.

Most yoga schools, shalas, studios, gyms, church basements, etc. offer Hatha yoga.  While the teachings might overlap some of the other systems such as Raja, Bhakti, or Karma, the foundation will be a physical practice with a combination of asanas (body positions) and breathing.  

Some popular practice styles and terms:



Ashtanga / Mysore
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, R. Sharath Jois, Saraswathi Jois
Website: http://kpjayi.org/
Sample:  http://youtu.be/VGrGRBi0u28


Bikram
Bikram Choudhury
Website: http://bikramyoga.com/
Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDWJos7PA-4


Dharma Mittra
Sri Dharma Mittra
Website:  http://www.dharmayogacenter.com
Sample:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kud7naxGiT4








Jivamukti
Sharon Gannon and David Life
Website: http://www.jivamuktiyoga.com/
Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlbwCQ7pejQ&feature=related


Sivananda
Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda
Website: http://www.sivananda.org/
Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rzY4zkYNVw&feature=related


Vinyasa
Various
Website: various
Sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LPLwC4pRzk


Part 2 coming soon.

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