Ashtanga means “eight-limbed,” and traditionally the term refers to a yoga practice that includes all eight limbs: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. This method, sometimes called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, is adapted from an ancient Sanskrit text called the Yoga Korunta.
Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice and, as such, is more suited to students who want a dynamic and rigorous yoga practice.
Hatha yoga is the yoga tradition most familiar to Western culture. The term is derived from the Sanskrit ha, meaning “sun,” and tha, meaning “moon.”
Practitioners of Hatha yoga use physical alignment and breathing control to achieve an equilibrium between the active body and its universe. The resulting harmony manifests itself as physical strength, physiological health and emotional well-being.
Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body. From the Sanskrit “to place in a special way,” vinyasa aligns a deliberate sequence of poses with the breath to achieve a continuous flow. Inhalation is usually connected to upward, open movements, while exhalation is often tied to downward movements or twists.
The continuous movement of vinyasa reflects the impermanence of all forms and the necessity of accepting change to achieve balance and completeness.
Yin Yoga has its roots in China, unlike the more popular and active yoga disciplines, which originated in India. It was founded on the Taoist theory of yin and yang – opposite concepts that, together, represent balance. Yin is stable and passive, while yang is changing and active.
Yin Yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative version of the popular physical and spiritual discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues (such as the ligaments) rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement
Thank you to Yogapedia for their help with explaining the different styles we have on offer.
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