With so many different styles of yoga out there, how is a beginner yogi to choose which style is right for them? Vinyasa, Budokon, Ashtanga, Power, Kundalini – what do these all mean, and what is the difference? Let’s take a look at each of these five most popular styles of yoga, their history, and what they consist of so that you can decide which is the right style for your yoga journey!
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga yoga is a traditional form of yoga that can be traced back to the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript written by Vamana Rishi in the 15th century. The manuscript is said to be a compilation of asanas (yoga poses), mudras (hand gestures), and pranayama (breath work).
This text was said to be imparted to Sri T Krishnamacharya in the early 1900s by his guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Sri T Krishnamacharya is considered to be the father of modern yoga, as he was responsible for bringing yoga out of the ashrams and into the mainstream Western world.
Krishnamacharya was the first to teach Ashtanga yoga publicly, and his students included some of the most well-known yoga teachers of our time, such as Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar and Indra Devi. Pattabhi Jois is credited with codifying the Ashtanga yoga system that we know today. He established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in 1948, where he taught the Ashtanga yoga method to students from all over the world!
Now that we know a little bit more about Ashtanga’s background, what does the practice actually consist of? Ashtanga Yoga is a set series of postures that are linked together through breath. Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, referring to the eight-limbed path of yoga outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras:
- Yama: ethical standards
- Niyama: self-discipline and purification
- Asana: yoga postures
- Pranayama: breath control
- Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses
- Dharana: concentration
- Dhyana: meditation
- Samadhi: complete absorption in the object of meditation
The Ashtanga yoga method consists of six series, each progressively more difficult than the last. The first series, known as the primary series, is designed to cleanse and purify the body. The second series, known as the intermediate series, builds on the foundation of the first series and helps to increase strength and flexibility. The third series, known as the advanced series, is designed to challenge even the most experienced yogis.
If you are looking for a physically demanding and challenging yoga practice, Ashtanga may be the style for you!
Fun fact: Hot yoga, power yoga, and vinyasa were all created from the foundation of Ashtanga!
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient practice that can be traced back to 5000 BCE. It was brought to the West in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan, who is credited with popularizing Kundalini Yoga in the Western world. If you’re seeking a more spiritual practice, Kundalini is a great choice, as it emphasizes breath work, chanting, and meditation!
There are eight main series of Kundalini Yoga, each with its own focus and purpose:
1. Naad: The practice of sound as medicine.
2. Shakti: The practice of raising Kundalini energy.
3. Kundalini: The practice of awakening Kundalini energy.
4. Mantra: The practice of using mantra to elevate the mind and connect with the divine.
5. Meditation: The practice of stilling the mind and connecting with the true self.
6. Yoga Nidra: The practice of deep relaxation and conscious sleep.
7. Pranayama: The practice of breath control to purify the body and calm the mind.
8. Samadhi: The practice of complete absorption in the divine.
What is Budokon Yoga?
Budokon Yoga was created by Cameron Shayne in the early 2000s. It is a relatively new style of yoga but has quickly gained popularity in recent years. Budokon is Sanskrit for “way of the warrior”, meaning that this style of yoga is perfect for anyone looking to cultivate strength, power, and discipline.
Budokon Yoga is a combination of martial arts, calisthenics, and yoga. It is a practice that emphasizes breath control, focus, and concentration. Budokon Yoga is a great choice for those who are looking for an athletic and challenging practice.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
The Vinyasa style of yoga gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of Ashtanga Yoga, as Vinyasa and Ashtanga are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between the two styles.
In Ashtanga yoga, as we learned above, there is a specific sequence of asanas that are always done in the same order, while in Vinyasa yoga, the sequence can vary depending on the teacher. As well, Ashtanga yoga is also generally a more physically demanding practice than Vinyasa yoga.
Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic and flow-based form of yoga. It is characterized by its use of vinyasa, or breath-synchronized movement. Vinyasa means “flow” in Sanskrit, and these classes focus on linking breath with movement. The goal of a vinyasa practice is to move continuously through a series of asanas, or poses, and to let the breath lead the way.
Today, vinyasa yoga has evolved to include many different styles. Some classes focus on the traditional Ashtanga sequence, while others emphasize a more creative and flowing approach. No matter what style you choose, you can be sure that you will be linking breath with movement and enjoying a dynamic and challenging practice.
What is Power Yoga?
Let’s have a chat about Power yoga next, as it is a large part of Sun Rock’s Yoga Teacher Training, which you can learn more about HERE!
Power Yoga was created in the mid-1990s by American yogi Bryan Kest. Kest was influenced by Ashtanga yoga and sought to create a more accessible form of yoga that would be suitable for Western students. He developed a system of sunutations that could be done at any pace, making Power Yoga an ideal choice for those who are looking for a challenging and dynamic practice.
Power Yoga is a more vigorous and challenging form of vinyasa yoga. This yoga class usually include a faster pace and more challenging poses than other types of vinyasa yoga. A Power Yoga class is perfect for those who have a basic understanding of vinyasa yoga and are looking to take their practice to the next level!
Which Yoga Style Should You Choose?
So, what is the difference between these five popular types of yoga? As you can see, each type of yoga emphasizes different things. It is important to choose a practice that aligns with your goals and interests.
If you are looking for a challenging and sweaty practice, Ashtanga or Power Yoga might be right for you. If you are interested in a more spiritual practice, Kundalini Yoga might be the right choice. If you are looking for an athletic and challenging practice, Budokon Yoga could be a great option! Last but not least, Vinyasa yoga is a great choice for those who want to link breath with movement and enjoy a dynamic and flowing practice.
No matter which type of yoga you choose, you are sure to enjoy the many benefits that yoga has to offer!
Sun Rock Specific Vinyasa Yoga Classes
At Sun Rock Yoga, we primarily practice Vinyasa-style yoga! If you’re new to vinyasa yoga, we recommend trying one of our beginner’s classes such as Chair Yoga, Restore, or Mindful Flow. These classes are designed to give you a foundation in the basic principles of vinyasa yoga, and to help you feel comfortable and confident in your practice.
No matter what your level of experience, we have a vinyasa class that’s perfect for you!
What is Chair Yoga?
Chair Yoga is a gentle and restorative form of yoga that can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities. This type of yoga uses a chair for support, and can be done either seated or standing. Chair Yoga is a great way to get the benefits of yoga without having to get down on the floor.
If you’re new to yoga, or if you’re looking for a more gentle and restorative practice, Chair Yoga is a great option for you!
What is Restore Yoga?
Restore is a slower-paced class that focuses on deep stretching and the release of tension from the body. This type of class is perfect for those who are looking to wind down and relax after a long day.
Restore classes usually include longer holds in each pose, and the use of props such as blankets, bolsters, and blocks to help you get the most out of your practice. If you’re looking to de-stress and unwind, Restore Yoga is the perfect class for you!
What is Mindful Flow Yoga?
Mindful Flow is a slower-paced vinyasa class that focuses on linking breath with movement. This type of class is perfect for those who are new to vinyasa yoga, or for those who are looking for a more gentle and relaxing practice.
In a Mindful Flow class, you’ll be guided through a series of asanas, or poses, at a slower pace than in a traditional vinyasa class. This type of class is focused on helping you to connect with your breath and being present in the moment. If you’re looking for a more relaxing and mindful practice, Mindful Flow Yoga is the perfect class for you!
Yoga at Sun Rock Yoga in St.George Utah
No matter what your level of experience, we have a yoga class that’s perfect for you! Not only do we offer Vinyasa style yoga classes like Chair, Restore, Mindful, and Power, but we have an awesome variety of other yoga styles as well. Come experience a Yoga-Pilates or Barre-Pilates fusion class for a workout that will tone your whole body, or try a Yinasana class to focus on deep stretching and relaxation. Specialized yoga classes like Trauma-Informed Mindful Flow can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and trauma. Joints a little tender? Try a Standing Flow class that is easy on the hands and wrists!
In addition to our class schedule, we also offer a variety of workshops and events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to learn!
Our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for every body, no matter what your level of experience. If you’re looking for a great place to practice vinyasa yoga near you, no matter where you’re at in your practice, Sun Rock Yoga in St.George, Utah is the place to try. We can’t wait to meet you and help you on your yoga journey!