Yoga: Now and Then…

yoga article

The Yoga Guide:


Looking for a low to moderate way to wind down your week? Yoga might be the answer. 

Yoga is known to provide a calming experience and health benefits to help manage stress, increase self confidence and manage musculoskeletal health. Yoga is defined as “union or integration” of mind and body disciplines which stem from Buddhist, Jain and Hindu practices throughout Asia. There are six branches of yoga: Inana, Karma, Mantra, Tantra, Raja and Hatha. 

There are so many forms of yoga available, so here is a list of programs available so you can chose according to your needs (*note, your gym may have a variety of names according to a variety of adaptations which have stemmed from the following practices.) 

Classical programs which were designed over 200 years ago include:

-Tai Chi  and Qigong – Known for assisting in improved balance, decrease in blood pressure and overall psychological well being.

Tai Chi styles include:

Chen Style – Known as the original form, embracing jumping, leaping, bouncing and other quick movements ; suitable for a broad range of levels.

Yang Style – a graceful  of flow of martial arts and chi. 

Chang Style – Developed in the 1930’s with over 100 movements and modifications to the yang style.

Wu Style – An easy adaptation with use of small steps and movements involving the legs and knees. 36 postures are used in this practice.

Sun Style – Created in the 1800’s, the sun style draws from the Wu and Yang styles and uses  lively, easy to learn steps; simple for older people and a variety of fitness ranges.

-Hatha – A more physical yoga with use of postures and asanas in various movement patterns like twisting, bending  and use of resistance) 

Contemporary programs which have evolved and landed in many of our gyms and studios today include: A variety of Hatha forms:

Restorative – Appropriate for beginner’s, this form of yoga uses props and elementary poses in an easy and relaxing format to work on stress, fatigue and weak points.

Shivananda – Classic yoga with 12 poses such as the popular sun salutation to encourage breathing, relaxation. The method can be adapted for beginners or those with low functioning capacities as well as adjusted for the fit. The common goal is to improve posture, coordination and muscular endurance. 

Lyengar – Encourages awareness of precise anatomical alignment and uses isometric  contractions  to attain body alignment, breath and props to help achieve correct spinal alignment.

Ashtanga – Groups of poses from moderate to intense , emphasizing strength, flexibility and mental and physical stamina.

Anusara – Created by John Friend to focus on attitude, alignment and action and awareness of body weight or where the most force is placed.

VIniyoga – A therapeutic application of asanas or poses with emphasis on breathing and breath movement. Typically taught one-on-one. 

Kripula – Three stages of postures, body alignment and breath movement intended to improve mental concentration, internal awareness and energy.

Integral – A strengthener approach to stretching and calming the body with postures, relaxation and breathing practices.

Bikram – A vigorous, 26 pose series designed to warm up and stretch muscles, ligaments and tendons. Typically performed at 32 – 41 Celsius. 

Kundalini – Known to awaken or stir up energy with use of postures, breath control, chanting and meditation.

Somatic – A moderately intense form of yoga drawing on the Alexander technique and Feldenkrais Method; emphasizes contracting and relaxing chosen muscle groups.

Pilates – Developed by Joseph H. Pilates in the early 20th century and makes use of a slow, controlled system of movements that require focus and attention. The focus is on the core muscles to keep the body balanced. 

Feldenkrais Methods – In 1904 Moshe Feldenkrais developed the Awareness Through Movement, non strenuous exercise to target the nervous system  (a group technique) and the Functional integration (a one-on-one inspired approach) educational methods. Directing the efficiency, coordination and grace of one’s movement.

Alexander Technique – Created by Frederick Alexander in the late 19th century, the movements consist of correcting unconscious habits of posture and movement to prevent injuries. This technique is useful for people with disc trouble, sciatica, low back pain, shoulder/arm pain, neck pain and arthritis or for athletes who wish to move with a higher degree of coordination and ease.

Whether you choose yoga for stretching, coordination, stress relief or to build your way up to a more intense routine, there are so many options to choose from; you’ll never run out of fresh moves and ways to maintain your mind, body and soul. Now get moving!