There are many forms of Yoga classes practiced here in Phuket and all over Thailand. Our Yoga classes in Phuket are run from our camp Thailand Camp and we have received much praise from our practitioners. These are some of the main types of Yoga practiced and a bit about them.
Iyengar Yoga is a style of yoga was developed over 60 years ago by a master named B.K.S Iyengar. The goals of this practice are to develop strength in an individual, build their endurance, balance, and their flexibility all through the use of controlled breathing techniques and a series of poses which require precise positioning of the individual’s body. Typically these poses are held significantly longer than within any of the other yoga styles. The practice requires that the student transition slowly into a pose and then when it is attained, it must be held for around a minute or so. After the minute is up, the student is allowed to rest for several breaths before transitioning into the next position. One of the things that sets Iyengar yoga apart from other yoga styles is the fact that it allows practitioners to make use of different props including blankets, cushions, straps, and blocks which allows individuals who are less flexible to take part. Nothing is lost in this practice however, because all of the traditional yoga poses from the Hatha tradition are still performed, but with the addition of the props, anybody, even the sick and elderly, are able to participate if they wish. This is a perfect yoga form for anybody who is trying to recover from an injury due to the slow pace of it, the use of props, and the precise attention to details. Iyengar is one of the more popular varieties of yoga being taught currently.
Hatha yoga is one of the easiest forms of yoga to learn, and due to that fact, it has become one of the most popular styles of yoga within the United States. When you look at the many different varieties of yoga, you will find Hatha at the foundation with the incorporation of all of the basics including meditation, asanas or postures, controlled breathing or what it is known as pranayama, as well as kundalini all balled up into a single system that allows an individual to attain a sense of enlightenment, or a better knowledge of who they are and where they fit the world (self-realization). In America, it has commonly been used by individuals to relieve and manage stress, as well as for physical fitness. To get the most out of practicing Hatha yoga poses one needs to begin with a sense of peace and tranquility inside. It is necessary to quietly meditate for a little while, and then start into the series of moves. This is a slow procession in which the practitioner needs to use both grace and control, and focus on all their body is going through while transitioning through the various poses in the session. If you are participating with others, it’s important to remember that this is not some sort of competition, so there’s no need to overdo it. It’s important just to feel your body, relax, and enjoy the movement.
Bikram (Hot) Yoga
Bikram (Hot) Yoga provides the participant with a complete full body workout which leaves nothing out when it comes to fitness. It effectively builds the strength of your muscles, your muscles endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and is great for losing weight. It was founded in 1963 by a former Olympic gold medalist weightlifter by the name of Bikram Choudhury who spent a good number of years discipling under Bishnu Ghosh who is the brother of the famed Paramhansa Yogananda. One of the things that sets this yoga practice apart from the others is that it requires the environment to be heated up to 95 to 105°. One of the reasons for this is to help the participants gain more flexibility, work up a better sweat for detoxifying purposes, and to reduce the chance of injury.
Ashtanga Yoga is often referred to as Astanga rather than Ashtanga, was originally developed and taught by Sri K.Pattbhi Jois. It is quite demanding both physically and mentally, and requires the participant to synchronize their breathing with a continuous progression through different postures that are so demanding that they create a profuse sweat within the participant which works to purify and remove many of the toxins that have been stored up within the organs and muscles. The benefits of taking part in Ashtanga yoga include such things as increased stamina, flexibility, enhanced blood flow, a peaceful thought process, and a leaner stronger physique. Due to the athletic nature of Ashtanga yoga, it is not meant for beginning yoga enthusiasts.
Kali Ray TriYoga
Kali Ray TriYoga was developed in 1980 by Kali Ray, and makes use of a series of movements that are dance like in nature and flow smoothly through the series. The practitioners are also taught to make use of different breathing exercises as well as meditation. The only studio that practices Kali Ray is the TriYoga center which she operates in Santa Cruz California.
Ananda yoga focuses in on postures that are very gentle in nature, and which are designed to help an individual prepare themselves for meditation by drawing up and moving all of the bodies energy to the brain. The typical Ananda yoga class will place emphasis on controlled breathing, and keeping the body in proper alignment.
Kundalini Yoga is a practice where the individual works on awakening the stored up energy that lies at the base of the spine, and draws that energy upwards. Kundalini yoga classes will consist of controlled breathing exercises, sessions of meditation, chanting, and of course the use of various yoga poses.
The developer of White Lotus yoga is an individual named Ganga White, and is simply a modified version of Ashtanga which makes use of a combination of different meditation and breathing techniques.
Anusara yoga has only recently been developed, and the principles behind it are focused on a playful attitude and keeping the body in perfect alignment. All of the postures in this practice are quite difficult, so it might not be for the beginner, but the main focus is upon opening up the heart in order to establish a connection with your divine inner nature as well as the divine in others.
Integral Yoga is one the more traditional varieties of yoga which combines a variety of different elements including meditation, prayer, chanting, controlled breathing, postures, and a devotion to the selfless service of others.
Sivananda Yoga is similar in nature to integral yoga, and makes use of a variety of different postures, controlled breathing exercises, restrictions on diet, study of Scriptures, meditation, and chanting. If you are familiar with the yoga teacher on TV named Lilias, you might be interested to know that her roots of yoga began with this form.
Power Yoga has developed into an American variety of Ashtanga yoga which makes use of controlled breathing, strength training, and stretching exercises. Rather than the slow pace of Ashtanga however, power yoga kicks up the pace big time, and in actuality it more closely resembles callisthenic exercises. The poses are all quite basic in nature, and consist of such things as push-ups, toe touches, side bends, and handstands, which might really sound quite easy until you factor in the pace, which is where power yoga really starts to produce the sweat and muscles. Power yoga doesn’t make use of any pauses between the different poses, and quickly flows from one to the other which provides an incredible aerobic workout.
Kripalu Yoga is deemed the consciousness yoga. All of the poses are quite gentle in nature, and the students are encouraged to peacefully examine their inner selves while holding poses. This is supposed to enable the practitioner to overcome any spiritual or emotional blockades that they might have built up. Students are never encouraged to strive towards any goals, and the precise alignment of their bodies isn’t as highly regarded as in many of the other practices. Kripalu yoga has three primary stages that a student progresses through as they develop their skills. The first phase has a focus on exploring the abilities of your body, and mastering all of the different postures. The second stage consists of training your body to hold these postures for extended periods of time, while centering your focus and concentrating on your inner self. The third stage is where the individual has mastered the yoga form and moves through all of the different postures in an unconscious and spontaneous manner in a meditative state.
ISHTA was developed by a practitioner and teacher named Mani Finger. His son Alan brought it to the United States where it has gained popularity. It places an individual’s focus on such things as opening the body’s channels of energy by the use of a variety of different postures, meditation, and visualization techniques. ISHTA stands for integral science of Hatha and Tantric arts.
Jivamukti Yoga was developed in 1986 by a couple of people by the name of Sharon Gannon, and David life, who wanted to focus more on the ethical and spiritual aspects of yoga that many of the contemporary varieties of have ignored or deemed irrelevant. Jivamukti Yoga is a very strenuous and intense form of asana yoga that places a lot of emphasis on vegetarianism, pacifism, meditation, study of Scripture, Sanskrit chanting, and devotion to God. It also places a large focus on integrating music into the practice of yoga. Today, Life and Gannon have a very popular studio that they run in the city of New York.
Viniyoga is the yoga style that is commonly used for therapy among individuals who have gone experienced injuries, or have undergone surgery. It is quite gentle in nature and will slowly grow and develop with the individual in order to meet the changes of their body.
Restorative Yoga is a practice of yoga that has more of a focus on relaxation than building up a sweat. Typically one of these classes will have you spending long periods of time lying on yoga bolsters, blocks, and blankets while focusing on muscle relaxation.
Svaroopa Yoga is the one that new students find to be much more approachable than many of the other styles. Typically the classes will begin with some of the more comfortable chair poses, and will help to transform an individual and promote healing within the body.
Vinyasa is a very physical form of yoga which places a lot of emphasis on coordinating ones breathing with all of the different poses. It was made popular by Pattabhi Jois who learned it from the developer Krishnamacharya.