When someone says what style of yoga they are usually referring to the modern stylistic forms of yoga that have flourished in recent years. Styles refer to things like “Flow Yoga”, “Bikram(hot) Yoga”, “Yin Yoga”. It is probably more appropriate to refer to these as brands or trademarks. Trends even.
Paths of Yoga
It is often a good idea to consider the various paths involved in Yoga as they are laid out traditionally:
Practices that purify the body. Usually through Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing) but also meditation is a form of purifying the mind. We are practicing the techniques of hatha yoga each week in class.
Discipline and selfless work to achieve the state of yoga. Working hard and working for the benefit of others is a way of practicing this kind of Yoga.
The use of devotional chants to achieve the state of union (yoga). Traditionally this involves the use of the various names for God. Many people also practice Bhakti Yoga by taking an appreciative and heart felt. This is Kirtan which Inner Journey’s hosts once a term and you are welcome to come along to.
The science of controlling the physical and mental states of being. This is done through asana (physical practices), pranayama (breathing) and dhyana (meditation). We are doing this when we practice Yoga but we soon discover that gaining control over the body and mind are not as simple as we thought and this takes discipline and comitment.
The yoga of knowledge and understanding of the self. This is a more philosophical path. It can be helped by reading and learning, but also by overcoming the narrow stereotypes that we have formed for ourselves or that have been formed for us by others.
Traditions of Yoga
There are also many traditions of Yoga. In the beginners course you are learning from a tradition called Satyananda Yoga. This tradition encompasses a wide range of the yogic paths listed above. I enjoy it because it has such a range of different ways of working towards the same goal which is realising our highest potential and being complete and content with ourselves.