Traditional Styles of Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga & + Mysore Style

Ashtanga Yoga is the practice of breathing: a central and highly stressed element during the practice, it all depends on the syncronization of it to our movement. It is also called the "daddy" of Vinyasa as it is a sequence of postures that are fluidly linked together through transitions. However, it is a fixed and very structured sequence that does not change according to the teacher. In fact, it is in some ways reassuring because wherever we go in the world, we'll always find the same sequence and the same words guiding us. 

There are 6 Ashtanga Series and each student must master each asana of the First Series before moving on to the Second and so on. The First Series begins with sun salutations, continues with a sequence of standing and then seated asanas, and ends with inverted (feet up and head down) and meditative postures.

It is highly recommended to start with a beginner course or a Mysore Style class, a silent class where the teacher gives the sequence to each student in different moments,  assisting personally their self-practice.

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Hatha 

Hatha Yoga is the oldest form of yoga from which all styles derive.

Basically, it's an ancient technique to dominate the cosmic energy (prana) which animates our bodies and manifested as breath. though these techniques we should achieve a secure control of the mind, always restless, always ready to get distracted and prone to suffering.

The state of flow, where the mind rest and we can simply be present in the now, is given by the synchronization of breath and movement, supported by a series of postures (asanas) linked all together in different sequences.  It is usually a gentle approach, ideal for those arriving to yoga for the first time, for those who love soft and slow flows and perfect for those who want to deepen the various aspects of postures because they are held a little longer. 

By combining asanas performed with care and sweetness, sometimes through the use of specific props, we bring the body towards intense work done in a state of abandonment and deep relaxation.

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Vinyasa

A Vinyasa Flow is modern practice, an evolution of Hatha and Ashtanga.

It is a focused of the flow between asanas and is combined with music. It a modern approach to practice born to meet Western cultural needs. It can last between 1 hour and 1 hour and 30 minutes and the sequence does not refer to a particular tradition, it is created by the teacher based on the message, intention or students who make up the class.

It's creation in action, so you need to be really focused and connected to the situation - it's also a good way to experiment many different postures.

 

In Level 1 you can learn the basics of many Vinyasa lessons, understanding and embodying the concept of breath, flow, asana and mudra. The sequence is a bit slower and is created by the teacher to introduce practitioners to the concepts of the practice.

 

In Level 2 it is better to already have some knowledge of breathing and to know some basics. The flow is dynamic and intense, a combination of postures and transitions from Ashtanga, Dharma, Krama and Kriya Yoga. Perfect for those who are not afraid to experiment and love to feel their body into a higher vibration.

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Pranayama

The word pranayama refers to breathing techniques that help energize, relax and heal the body. They increase and balance the functions of organs, hormones and circulation. Controlled breathing eliminates physical and emotional obstacles in our body for and therefore the flow of prana - life energy.

Breathing is the first and last thing we do in our life. The one constant we all have. Without breath there is no life, but we take it for granted and without even realizing it, our breathing can gradually become more superficial and faster.

A regular practice of pranayama can stimulate the parasympathetic system, counteracting the excessive stimulation that our bodies undergo during the fight / flight mode in which we are constantly to respond to the constant stressors of this hectic and hyper-productive life.

Controlling your breathing is directly proportional to controlling your heartbeat and mental activity: if we slow down our breathing, our thoughts also slow down and find space between them. This facilitates the process of meditation and therefore of liberation from the suffering created by our attachment to life as we are led to imagine it: limited, separated from the elements, aimed at acquiring rather than giving.

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Curiosity
 
The word Haṭha comes from
 
ha = Sun  - male, right, positive, diurnal, external, body, what is visible, front of the body, positive energy, rational left half of the brain;
+
tha = Moon  -  female, left, negative, nocturnal, inner, mind, that which is invisible, back of the body, the instinctive and intuitive right half of the brain.