Hello from 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 analogy.

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 yoga.

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.

Some styles 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 other style.

The only way to know for sure which one suits you is to try it out.


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