To sum up, all asana-based practices done in the west come from the lineage of Hatha yoga. Depending on the sequence, speed and level of detail it will have a different name. These are the styles of yoga I teach and how I might describe them to you:
Hatha: Often taught as an eclectic blend of two or more of the styles described below. Depending on the needs of the student, poses may be held for a length of time or may move quickly from one pose to the next. Meditation, Pranayama are often included as well as other exercises to heat and move the body.
Ashtanga: Created by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, this system of standing and seated postures is linked with breath and vinyasa, allowing for a rhythmic, meditative flow. This is a dynamic practice designed to generate heat, strength and flexibility in the body.
Power / Flow / Vinyasa: Tend to use these terms somewhat interchangeably. Moving from one posture to the next in a continuous sequence all directed by the breath. Can be slow and meditative, or farily fast and aerobic.
Yin: This practice focuses on yielding and surrendering to gravity. These floor postures are held for a minimum of two to six minutes in an effort to target the fascia and connective tissue surrounding the muscles and joints. As a result of the long holds, the poses are held in a space of vigilance, where students learn to be still and quiet in the mind. Can be quite a challenging practice for body and mind.
Restorative: Rest and renew. This gentle practice uses supportive postures, deep breathing, and other “tricks” to enable the body and mind to shift. Think of the story Princess and the Pea and being taken care of by your mom. Emphasis is placed on Being, rather than Do-ing.
Kundalini: As taught by Yogi Bhajan. This was my first yoga training. A challenging practice, specific kriya sets are taught with a specific focus or goal in mind. Can be quite aerobic and a variety of breath techniques are taught. Most sets contain chanting from the Sikh religion from their two hymn books – the Jaap Sahib and the Japji Sab. One does not need to be a sikh to practice this.To be honest, I don’t really practice this anymore but it was a pivotal practice in my yoga journey. I have a sneaking suspicion that one day I will return to it.