Choosing a Yoga Class That's Right For You - Page 2
Anusara: Each Anusara class has a heart-oriented theme that encourages students to cultivate a quality of mind or heart. This, combined with a specific set of alignment principles creates balanced action in each pose. As with many other types of yoga, in anusara, movements and actions are coordinated with the breath. Anusara is particularly suited for students who are looking for a class that uses creative imagery and concise instructions to help unite body, mind and spirit. It is also good for those who want an anatomical understanding of how to do each pose and people who are looking for an instructor who knows how to work with injuries. (full disclosure--I did my own teacher training at Viriyoga, an Anusara studio in NYC).
Ashtanga: Ashtanga often attracts those who are looking for a strong physical practice. Often loosely referred to as "power yoga," this style is a good fit for someone who is already very athletic, or looking for a very vigorous practice to streamline their body and discipline their mind. A traditional Ashtanga class combines intense movement with breath and features a set series of asanas (postures). Series range from beginner to advanced and moving up to a more advanced level usually requires permission/recommendation from the teacher.
Kundalini: Known as a more "mystical" type of yoga, Kundalini practice is rooted in tapping into energy (prana) at the base of the spine and awakening the chakras. Kundalini sequences, called Kriyas, consist of rapid, repetitive movements connected to intense breathwork. The combination helps release toxins and purify body and mind. Kundalini is rooted in the Sikh religion, and can be intimidating for students who are put off by a strongly spiritual practice. It speaks to those who are looking for an intense physical and mental challenge from yoga. It's a great practice for students who are interested in using a physical practice as a way to free their own spirit while building inner and outer strength.
Bikram: In this heated practice, students consistently do the same 26 poses in the same order, in a 105 degree room. Unlike any other style of yoga, Bikram is practiced in front of mirrors to bring practitioners face-to-face with themselves. Not for the weakhearted, students here are encouraged to stay in the room and eschew drinking water even when the heat is getting the best of them. A note: though this form of yoga sparked the current craze for "hot yoga," it's quite different from the other heated studios in several ways. Newer heated studios studios often feature an amalgamation of styles, and a more relaxed posture toward students who are struggling with the heat. Some people feel that doing heated yoga heat helps them get into postures more deeply and effectively, but three words of advice if you choose to do hot yoga: hydrate, hydrate hydrate.Continued on the next page