By Amruta Kulkarni
Researching the many different Yoga styles can be confusing. Most Yoga teacher training programs spend a fair amount of time deciphering the differences. It takes time to realize the subtle differences between these classical styles of Yoga. The most common form of Yoga is Hatha.
Sivananda, Bikram, Iyengar, Kripalu, Restorative, Viniyoga, and Yoga therapy are branches of the Hatha Yoga tree. Even Vinyasa can be a combination of Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is one of the physical branches of Raja. Raja is the mother of modern day Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa.
The main Yoga styles are: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Yantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and Raja Yoga. The Yogas and their specific path may be different, yet their techniques may be intertwined into each other in any non-specific yoga practice.
For example Jnana Yoga guides the Yogini towards seeing her true self, through meditation similar to Raja Yoga, which teaches awareness of the mind through concentration. Bhakti Yoga teaches loving kindness towards one’s self, allowing you to combine it with Karma Yoga, not focusing on the rewards or results of kindness towards all sentient beings, expanding Bhakti (love) outward.
Your practice can deepen by utilizing the techniques of Mantra Yoga, reinforcing the “oneness” through chanting, to your self (in silence) or out loud. Creating awareness of the self, the mind, through sight, could be defined as Yantra Yoga, while performing the postures of Hatha Yoga, incorporating Laya and Kundalini Yoga and their breathing techniques. In other words: It’s hard to be a purist and mixing Yogic techniques has been in practice for thousands of years.
A similar methods in Yoga practice is taking energy from the lower part of the spine all the way up to the mind and Sahasrara chakra. Ending with the same drawing of energy through the chakras as in Tantra Yoga, which gives us the awareness of the “factors” that influence our thinking, the WHY? Tantra Yoga, as traditionally taught in Tibet is one of the paths to Brahman and the absolute (truth).
© Copyright – Amruta Kulkarni / Aura Publications
Amruta Kulkarni is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.
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