By Jenny Park
What are contemporary yoga styles? Contemporary refers to styles that are fairly recent in Yoga, in comparison to styles that were practiced thousands of years ago. The contemporary styles are like the new kids on the block, but they are making a big impact within the field. As you know, yoga is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years, but each yoga teacher adds his or her own spin and style to it during the teaching process. Sometimes, this leads to an entirely new style of yoga altogether. In this article, we will explore five contemporary yoga styles. The list of modern yoga styles is much deeper than five, but here is a fair sampling of the styles available today.
This is a variation of hatha yoga developed by John Friend which puts a heavy focus on both alignment and the heart. Anusara means “flowing with grace” and a typical class is positive, joyful and lighthearted. The central belief that this style of yoga promotes is that all living things are inherently good, and students are strongly encouraged to take what they learn during their yoga practice and apply it to the rest of their lives.
This is one of the popular vinyasa yoga styles created by Ana Forrest is a practice that puts a lot of focus on healing wounds from past hurts and abuse. The ancient art of yoga is paired with the healing practices of Native American cultures to produce a unique practice designed to heal and restore. In addition to healing, Forrest style is also known for being vigorous and detoxifying through the use of heat building asanas. Breathing and abdominal work is also emphasized.
This style of yoga practice is all about turning up the heat, both internally and externally. Hot yoga is practiced in 90-100 degree temperatures, and consists of flowing sets of asanas all meant to bring up the heart rate and provide warmth from within. The result is an extremely intense yoga practice that leaves even long time students drenched in sweat. Proper hydration before and after class is essential. People on high blood pressure medication should think twice before entering any kind of hot yoga class. Hot yoga can drain your potassium levels and the results of low potassium rates in your blood are dangerous to say the least. Consult your physician if you are on medication or have high blood pressure. Think about it and be safe.
This style of yoga is a combination of Ashtanga yoga and other spiritual beliefs. It is vigorous and lively, incorporating chanting, music and pranayama with intense vinyasa style yoga. A theme is focused on during each class, and students are encouraged to take what they learn from class and apply is to their everyday lives.
If you listen to Paul, “moksha” is the release and liberation from samsara. However, this is also another form of yoga done in a hot room, but this style puts a lot of focus on green living, sustainability and low cost classes. A typical class consists of working through a combination of 40 poses designed to be both accessible and challenging at the same time.
Branching out and trying contemporary yoga styles is a great way to deepen your overall yoga practice. If you just need a change from the traditional routine, trying a new style is a great way to try something new and enrich your practice in the process.
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