Yoga Styles

The Different Styles of Yoga

Although various styles have developed over the years, the basic difference between the major styles is more on the degree to which you do it rather than how you do it. So the major differences are the on things like how you align your body, what kind of breathing method you follow and how it is coordinated with your movements, how you stay on a posture and how you shift from one posture to the next. In the next section of the article we will try and discuss some of these styles in detail.


This particular style was developed on the basis of the teachings of the reputed yogi B.K.S Iyengar. The major emphasis of this style is on bodily alignment. One of the most critical aspects of yoga, the alignment of body is basically the position you hold while performing the asanas. This alignment decides how effective each of the asanas would be. What Iyengar suggested was that it was important to hold a pose for a long period of time to maximize the effects of the asana. He was not a believer in rapid changes from one to the next posture. In fact, he even advocated the use of props such as the yoga blanket so that it was possible to hold on to a posture for a longer period of time.


This style was developed by K. Pattabhi. Astanga is a Sanskrit word which means “eight limbs”. This style is quite the opposite of the Iyengar style, at least in terms of the speed with which the asanas are performed. The emphasis here is on speed. The routines are generally quite intense and demand a lot from the practitioner as he moves from one posture to another continually. Astanga has been subsequently developed into the more modern Power Yoga. This latest form of yoga borrows heavily from astanga the peed and flow of the routine, although the asanas may vary from the ones that Astanga prescribes.

This style of yoga was developed by T.K.V. Desikachar who was the on of the renowned yogic guru Krishnamacharya. The emphasis in this form of yoga is on the breathing techniques and how you coordinate your breathing with your bodily movements. A much gentler style of yoga when compared to the Astanga, it however has similarities with Astanga when it comes to the flow from one posture to another. Viniyoga is in a sense Astanga in slow motion. The body gets enough time to focus on each of the postures and also regulate the breathing. The stress is far less and the pace considerably reduced. Viniyoga teaches its students the methods of using the various tools that are available in yoga such as the pranayama that tells you how to control your breathing, chanting, asana, and meditation. So it has a very holistic approach to yoga unlike many of the modern derivatives. Today Viniyoga is increasingly gaining in popularity and is thought to be the style most suited for beginners.

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