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Teachings and Traditions

Yoga can sometimes seem like alphabet soup. Ashtanga, Kundalini, Anusara, Sivananda, Jivamukti, Hatha, Bikram -- the list goes on. However, the ultimate goal is all the same. Here is a breakdown of a few of the different styles you will find on a class roster.


Popularized by spiritual leader Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga practice focuses on awakening the energy held at the base of the spine. Chakras are energy centers throughout the body. The poses, breathing and meditations in the Kundalini practice are designed to make each center dynamically alive with the full potential of energy. A Kundalini class usually involves faster breathing and movement.


Swami Sivananda and his successor Swami Vishnudevananda brought yoga to the West in the 1950s. The Sivananda method is a traditional Hatha yoga which operates on the raja yoga system. A Sivananda class will start with pranayama (breathing excercises), followed by a series of sun salutations and poses. There is usually intermittent relaxation moments between poses, and a deep relaxation at the end.


Ashtanga, literally "eight-limbed", is a classical yoga system based on Patanjali's eight practices. Modern-day spiritual leaders Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar and Desikachar are well-known proponents of the Ashtanga style. A full class includes sun salutations, standing poses and inversions. Ashtanga yoga also comes in the form of Vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa usually denotes a non-stop flow of poses in a class.

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