There are so many yoga styles out there right ? Just last week one of my friends was sending me a link to a video about this new crazy hype called Goat Yoga. Literally, Yoga in a goat enclosure. Yes, with goats. I mean they’re cute and all but what about puppies ? I would definitely be a huge fan of puppy yoga ! Although, there wouldn’t be much of yoga going on and lots of puppy petting !
In the first part of my Which yoga style is best for you ? we saw 3 types of yoga : Ashtanga, Hatha and Kundalini.
We will continue today, with 3 new yoga styles that are Bikram yoga, Yin yoga and Iyengar yoga. May it shed some light on your search for the perfect yoga practice.
What is Bikram yoga : Ever thought : ‘Hey, how about we do some yoga in a sauna ?’ No ? Well, Bikram Choudhury did. Bikram was born in India in 1944 and was introduced to Hatha yoga as a kid. At the age of 20, he had a serious weightlifting accident that left him injured in such a way that doctors told him he would never walk again. But, not about to give up, Bikram used his extensive knowledge of Yoga to create himself a sequence of 26 asanas combined with two breathing exercises and of course India’s stifling heat and ended up healing himself completely. Confident in the healing power of his yoga system, Bikram was ready to spread the good word to the world … and hopefully, make a lot of money in the process. In the 1970s, he immigrated to the United States where he opened various studios in California and Hawaii and introduced the Western world to his yoga style. To this day, Bikram yoga consists of a series of 26 poses derived from classical Hatha yoga that are performed in a cycle over an hour and a half in a hot and humid room.
Unfortunately, the eccentric, charismatic and narcissistic yoga guru Bikram has been faced with a number of lawsuits with accusations ranging from sexual violence, false imprisonment, sexual battery, fraud, sexual harassment, assault, racism, homophobia to fraud. Today, at the ripe age of 70 the fallen yoga guru has allegedly fled the United States after a judge in California issued a warrant for his arrest, with bail set at $8 million.
What to expect : Bikram yoga is all about performing a series of the same 26 selected asanas derived from classical Hatha yoga that were handpicked and designed by Bikram Choudhury to move fresh and oxygenated blood throughout every inch of your body. The classes take place in special rooms heated up to 41 degrees Celsius (105 F for my American friends) with humidity somewhere around 40% and last anywhere around one hour and a half. Why the heat you ask ? The heat and humidity were added to the practice to kind of mimic the climate of Bikram’s native India. To the asanas are added special breathing techniques that frankly are difficult for most beginners. But don’t despair, everything comes with time. All official Bikram classes are taught by Bikram-Certified teachers who have completed a nine week long teacher training endorsed by Choudhury himself.
Bikram yoga is for you if : Bikram Choudhury may be a highly controversial guru but his yoga style remains very popular and full of benefits. This type of yoga might be just right for you if you are looking for a good sweat that will flush toxins, help with weight loss, improve blood flow in the body and help oxygen to reach muscle tissue making you more flexible. If ever you decide to give Bikram yoga a try, please remember to drink plenty of water !
What is Yin yoga : Oh how I wish I had discovered Yin yoga sooner. It’s such a perfect addition to my practice. This type of yoga is slow paced and has a meditative approach based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang opposite and complementary principles in nature. (You know, the symbol everybody was getting tattooed in the 90s.) in which Yin represents the more stable, solid, passive, unmoving, introspective side of things while yang is all about the ever changing, moving, revealing side of life. This duality aspect is reflected in all things our bodies included. Our muscles and blood represent the yang while the more stiff aspects of our body like tendons, ligaments and connective tissues are more of the yin aspect. And so, a Yin yoga practice is going to be focused on these solid connective tissues which respond better to a slow and steady load. This style was created by martial arts expert and taoist yoga teacher Paulie Zink and introduced to the Western world in the 1970s.
What to expect : A Yin yoga practice is going to be very different from what you are already used to. Instead of a flow of asanas you will be introduced to a much more slow-paced style of yoga where each position is being held for longer periods of time ranging anywhere between 1 to 5+ minutes. While gently applying a moderate stress to the connective tissues by holding a pose for longer periods of time, you will increase circulation in the joints, improve flexibility all while the body reacts by making them a little longer and stronger.
Yin Yoga is for you if : In my opinion, everybody should add some sweet yin love into their regular yoga practice to balance the yin and yang aspect of our bodies and lives. But more precisely, if you are looking for a more meditative approach to yoga that aims at cultivating your awareness and inner silence, all while getting deep into your connective tissues, improving flexibility, stress and anxiety reduction and greater joint mobility, then yin yoga is a must for you. Just remember that Yin yoga is not a practice of itself, rather a complement to a more yang practice. It all comes down to balance.
What is Iyengar yoga : Iyengar Yoga is definitely for everyone. Nobody is too old, too stiff, too fat, too thin or too tired for this type of yoga that is based on the teachings of the yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. Born in Karnataka, India, Iyengar, started teaching yoga at the young age of 18 until his death at age 95. He is the man responsible of yoga’s popularity in the Western world, and is universally acknowledged as the world’s greatest yoga teacher. Iyengar Yoga, remains till this day one of the world’s most popular forms of yoga. Iyengar yoga puts a lot of emphasis on alignment which brings students to develop precision while building strength, stamina, balance, flexibility and eventually – a new sense of well being.
What to expect : Iyengar Yoga is taught by super qualified and rigorously trained instructors that will take you step by step through a safe and systematic progression of yoga postures. Beginners will typically start with standing yoga poses and as their practice progresses they will learn more postures such as forward extensions, twists, inversions, backbends and arm balance. What is really characteristic about Iyengar yoga is that it focuses a lot on body awareness and postural alignment in the execution of the asanas. Also, the students use many props to get the maximum benefits from each posture. This approach to yoga makes it easy for pretty much anybody independently of their age, levels of health and fitness to practice Iyengar yoga and enjoy the benefits a regular practice can bring.
Iyengar yoga is for you if : Iyengar Yoga is really for anybody no matter what gender, age, body type, health, religion and circumstances in life. One thing that distinguished Iyengar yoga from other branches is the use of props. Props have been introduced to yoga by Iyengar and although people may have mocked him for it initially, they have helped students of all ages and health condition to get into the pose and develop strength, flexibility and control. And so, if you are looking for a yoga practice that is accessible to anyone, emphasizes on precision and alignment, uses props and is taught by qualified teachers, then Iyengar yoga might be just what you had been looking for !
Alright tribe, this is all for this time. Now you have a better understanding of Bikram yoga, Yin yoga and Iyengar yoga. Stay tuned, in the next few days we will go through other types of yoga. There is much more to learn !
Tell me about your favorite yoga style in the comment section below !
Lots of Love