• Claire M. Burnett

Western Yoga 101

With so many different styles of Yoga, let’s break this shit down!!

When you think of Yoga, you are likely thinking of Hatha Yoga. (The Top Dog, Umbrella Practice.)

According to philosophers such as Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali, yoga is a triad of the body, mind, and spirit. The ancient scriptures of Hinduism teach that in order to practice an effective yoga routine, you must combine yoga poses (or ‘asanas’) with meditation and deep thinking that will help you discover and understand yourself, as well as get closer to God.

In the modern world, yoga is just another exercise to get the body in shape, but in Hinduism, yoga is a journey of self-discovery and communion with God.

Hatha yoga is said to be the origin of where all branches of Western yoga come from.

The goal of this practice is to bring and balance our masculine and feminine energies together.

I teach Hatha in its Original format

because it is an All Level Flow. You won’t leave this class dripping in sweat. Instead you’ll leave class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed.

Hatha Yoga is a traditional system that includes the practice of asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises), which help bring peace to the mind and body, preparing the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation.

Here’s some Other Types of Yoga you may have heard of.


THINK: a TYPE of flow. Like hatha, vinyasa yoga is a general term that describes many different styles of yoga. It essentially means movement synchronized with breath and is a vigorous style based on a rapid flow through sun salutations. You may also see a vinyasa yoga class referred to as a flow class, which refers to the continuous flow from one yoga posture to the next.

For the record ...all the rest of these fall under the Hatha Yoga umbrella...but these are different STYLES:


THINK: Strict Movements & Rigorous. If you attend an ashtanga yoga class at a studio you will be led nonstop through one or more of the ashtanga series, while being encouraged to breathe as you move from pose to pose. Each series is a set sequence of asanas, always in the same order. It is typically fast-paced, vigorous and physically challenging. There are six series in total, increasing in difficulty as you move from the primary series on.


THINK: Ashtanga. But Less Strict. Power yoga is used to describe a vigorous, physically demanding, vinyasa-style yoga. It originally closely resembled ashtanga and was an attempt to make ashtanga more accessible to Western students. It differs, however, in that it is not a set series of yoga poses, but rather allows the instructor freedom to teach what they want.


THINK: Hot Yoga, Unchanging Routine. One thing you can be sure of when you attend a Bikram yoga class is consistency. Outside of the instructor, a Bikram class is the same no matter where you go, consisting of the same, copyrighted twenty-six postures and two breathing techniques, in the same order for ninety minutes, in a room heated to 105°F (40.6°C), with a humidity of 40%. You can also be certain that you will sweat; the room is hot and the class challenges you both physically and mentally. Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this form of hot yoga is meant to flush toxins, manage weight and allow students to move more deeply into poses. Bikram is a style of yoga most known for its"hot yoga" classes.


THINK: Power Yoga with Changing. David Life and Sharon Gannon created jivamukti yoga in 1984, and since then have studied with a number of teachers, including Swami Nirmalananda and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Their classes resemble ashtanga in the vinyasa-style flow through asanas. Each class begins with a standardized warm-up sequence unique to jivamukti and often teachers will incorporate weekly themes, chanting, meditation, readings and affirmations.


THINK: Meticulous AF. The trademark of iyengar is the intense focus on the subtleties of each posture. B.K.S. Iyengar teaches his classes from his home in Pune, India and has become one of the most influential gurus of our time. In a typical iyengar yoga class, poses are held much longer than in other schools of yoga, in an effort to pay closer attention to the precise musculoskeletal alignment within each asana. Another trademark of iyengar style of yoga is the use of props, such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets, which are used to accommodate injuries, tightness or structural imbalances, as well as teach the student how to move into a posture properly.


THINK: Relaxing. Restorative is a gentle, relaxing, passive style that allows students to relax and release the body into a gentle stretch that is held for as long as 10 minutes. This style makes use of a wide range of props, including bolsters, blocks, straps and blankets. The intention is to provide support within each pose, making it easier to completely let go and is less physically demanding than some other yoga styles.

You can practice multiple styles of Yoga. For example, I teach Hatha, and I take Power Yoga as a student. The style of Yoga you use should be dependent upon the results you're looking for.

Got Questions? DM me @MyTwistedTherapy


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