There are many different lineages of yoga. The practice of yoga is an umbrella of different styles and varieties. It is important to understand the different lineages and their origins when delving into our practice in order to show proper respect and be informed on what the different lineages have to offer. Below, we dive into some of the more popular lineages of yoga, their origin and style of practice.
Baptiste yoga is considered to be power yoga, a style of yoga that moves at a fast pace and is meant to increase the heart rate and challenge the practitioner physically. Baron Baptiste, influenced by Ashtanga Yoga, created this style of yoga. You may know Bapstiste yoga simply as power yoga, a popular form of yoga in the west that can be easily found at most yoga studios.
Pattabhi Jois founded ashtanga yoga. It is a style of yoga that has a predetermined set of poses divided into the Primary and Secondary series and moves at a rapid speed which quickly builds heat and strength. Ashtanga is a set and sturdy style of yoga in which is practiced the same way every time and students can progress from one series to the next with practice. The swift pace and set poses makes it a very meditative style of yoga, not leaving much room for your mind to wander. It is a less popular style of yoga in the west and can be a bit more difficult to find a studio to practice, but is well worth creating your own practice.
Hatha yoga encompasses all of the physical asana styles of yoga. It is the yoga of maintaining balance of the mind, body and spirit through breath, movement and meditation. The word “hatha” translates directly to “force”, which alludes to a system of physical techniques, or asana.
Founded by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga aims to replicate the climate of India, the origin of yoga. The studio where bikram is practiced is hot (topping 100o) and very humid which is meant to allow the muscles to loosen and induce sweat in the student. Bikram has a predetermined set of poses, 26 of them, which are never altered in any way or it is no longer considered to be bikram.
Founded by Yogi Bhajan, kundalini was brought to the west in 1969. Kundalini uses a series of postures, dynamic breathing techniques, bandhas, chanting and mantras, meditation, and mudras, students perform to move energy into the higher chakras. It is aimed to allow kundalini shakti to unfurl from the base of the spine to the crown of the head to expand one’s consciousness. Kundalini encourages practicing a particular kriya for 40 days straight to experience the full range of benefits that this style of yoga has to offer and to uplevel your energy, mindset and spirit to a higher vibration.
Gabrielle Marches is a certified yoga instructor.