Friday, September 10, 2010

Types of Yoga

Ah, the eternal question. What is yoga? You mean, there is more than one kind?

Yep. In fact, I (and others too) would argue there's the potential for 6.7 billion (is that our world population nowadays?) modalities out there. Whose right is it anyways to compare one practice to another or put a fixed label/meaning on anything? Yoga is supposed to be non-judgmental and non-conformist, right?

Of course, I'm sort of teasing. (Sort of.) There are established disciplined schools of thought and plenty of teachers to help you find what works for you so that you can develop and refine your own practice. You've got many to choose from, including: Hatha (think physical), Ashtanga (think fast & physical), Kundalini (think breath & meditation), Iyengar (think Dear God he's flexible & beautiful), Yin (think restorative/slow), Bikram (think hot and sweaty), Bhakti (think God), Jivamukti (think all inclusive), Power Yoga (think Santa Monica). And, behind each type is a fierce cadre of hardcore loyal believers, ready to die for it and for it alone (such love!). I know there are others that I haven't mentioned or of which I am not even aware. (I apologize if I left yours off.)

Yoga is hard to describe. I happen to think that's partly because, for die hard followers, it's more than just something you do, it's something you are (or strive to be.) And, how can you commit words to something that changes all the time? Even one's own practice and relationship to yoga changes so much that I look back on my own experience and wonder now what the heck I must have been thinking back then...

My first practice was 14 years ago but I can honestly say that my recollection of yoga back then had something to do with Jane Fonda. It's only been about two years now that I've developed a committed relationship with yoga and I'll be the first to state that I am not sure which type I even prefer quite yet, committed or not. They all have something to offer and something to teach that you can't get elsewhere. The point is, commitment is key, no matter the style, because, in the immortal words of the Vinyasa guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, "Do your practice and all is coming."

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