Yoga on 7th:
One of the questions we're most frequently asked is: what is hatha yoga,and
how does it differ from Iyengar, Ashtanga and power yoga?
Our best stab at an answer so far is what we call the Kleenex/facial tissue
Hatha yoga is the yoga of body and breath, of asana and pranayama. The generic
category hatha includes any yogic path that uses poses and breathing
techniques to integrate body, mind and spirit. To say hatha is like
saying facial tissue.
Iyengar, ashtanga, power, kundalini, Bikkrams, Svaroopa, Kripalu,
Integral and all of the other asana systems are the equivalent of Kleenex,
Scotties and Facelle Royale. Behind the brand names, they are all hatha
As with most analogies, you can1t take hatha yoga and facial tissue too
far before it begins to shred. No matter how much advertisers try to convince
us that their brand of facial tissue is extraordinary and unique, we all
know that what comes out of the box will be more or less the same: bigger,
smaller, softer, coarser it1s all facial tissue in the end.
While all styles of physical yoga are, indeed, hatha in the end, the
differences between them are far more marked. Each style emphasizes
different postures and breathing exercises, and introduces them on a
different timetable. Ashtanga, for example, begins with sun salutations
and spends comparatively little time on inversions. Iyengar yoga focuses
first on standing poses and moves towards long holdings in inversions, beginning
with halasana (plow pose) and shoulder stand.
focus solly on postures, while others incorporate yoga history and philosophy.
3Classical Hatha,2 a slow, meditative form taught in North America longbefore
the yoga explosion of the last 30 years, is what many people think of when
they hear the word "yoga" - and imagine lying around on the floor,
breathing. But depending on the level and the tradition in which the teacher
trained, a hatha class can be as physically challenging as a class in any
The only way to know for sure which one suits you is to try it out.