Types of yoga
The word yoga comes from sanskrit – Yuj – and means to unite. A union of body and spirit, Yin and Yang, heaven and earth – and potentially man and God.
“Everything lies in the middle way” – Buddha
” Any practice can bring you awareness” – Unknown
What we recognize as yoga today, has its foundation in ancient India and was a whole set of rules directing people in regards to diet, exercise, sleep, medicine, morale and ethics. In old scripts by Patanjali, the so called Yoga Sutras, there are described 8 steps. The third step is the one we know as yoga; the physical practice or asanas – which means poses.
At Yogafactory balance, energy and focus is always part of the practice – and the 8 steps is the foundation for all our teachings. In this space you will, at all times, sense the dedication to the original scripts, tales and wisdom given to us, by the teachers that came before us.
Hatha yoga might be the most original type of physical yoga asana practice, that we know of. Hatha yoga is described as early as 1500 in the book called Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Yogi Swatmarama. Hatha meaning sun and moon, which can be interpreted as working towards balance, and the acceptance of the need for opposites. In Hatha yoga you work separately on each classic yoga pose, finding calm and balance as you work the physical body, preparing for meditation. This practice holds a foundation of finding calm and grounding, essentially preparing us for meditation.
With a classic Hatha Yoga approach this practice is leaning up against the restorative yoga practices. There are more seated and lying poses, finding release on both physical as emotional and mental levels through twists and stretches. Awareness is also placed strongly towards the practice of pranayama and meditation.
Astanga has its roots in the 8 steps of the Yoga Sutras, and has been taught and described by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois or as he respectfully was called; Guruji. The practice of Astanga yoga is physically demanding, working gradually through different sequences of Asanas of increasing complexity. The practitioner starts out with the Primary Series and after getting skilled in it moves forward to the next level. The Primary Series consists of 5 Sun Salutation A and 5 Sun Salutations B and is followed by several standing poses and then a sequence of seated and lying stretches and twists. It creates a strong physical body and the combination of the poses is believed to be detoxing and rejuvenating for body and mind. Working strongly on focus, concentration and balance, with the goal of obtaining a calm mind and relaxed body.
Unnata® Aerial is a young yoga type. Creative, New Yorker cool and energetic is descriptive of this type of yoga. The asanas are done in hammocks hanging from the ceiling and the body weight used to get deeper into classic poses. Unnata meaning upliftet in sanskrit gives a clear idea of what Aerial Yoga is, as it is uplifting for both the body and mind. In this type of Aerial Yoga we are dedicated to the original Hatha Yoga practice, using the hammock as a prop. However the hammock can also be useful building core strength and a better balance – and can obviously also provide support in some fun, challenging – and maybe new – yoga poses. An Unnata® Aerial Yoga practice can also be deeply calming and nurturing.
Anusara is also a newer type of yoga, invented by the American John Friend in 1997. Anusara meaning to follow the divine or to dance with grace. Hatha yoga is the foundation, the form is creative and flows are used in an almost dancelike mode. It is challenging and fun, and builds stamina, strength and balance. It is super popular in the US as it is demanding on a physical level, but at the same time provides the practitioner with tales and wisdom from ancient traditions, especially from the hindu culture. At Yogafactory Anusara is part of the practice in a subtle way, almost all the teachers have done trainings in the Anusara tradition and they bring the ideas and beliefs from this practice with them into their own teachings.
Iyengar is based on the writings of B.K.S. Iyengar and has its foundation in Ashtanga, the 8 steps and The Yoga Sutras. Iyengar wrote many books to allow people insight to yoga in general and how to practice safely in particular. Iengar is generally focused on the correct alignment of each pose and uses lots of props and long period of times in the poses. This practice is also a subtle foundation for several of the teachings at Yogafactory, the very alignment focused attention is noticed in almost all the practices. It is part of making the poses safe og the benefits big.
Yin Yoga is a slow paced practice, where the poses are held for longer periods of times in developed by Paul Grilley as a way to create more balance in hectic life styles of modern day. Yin targets the connective tissue, fascia and tendons and works on a deeper physical level. It is an amazing compliment to more dynamic and muscular practices of running, spinning, swimming and yang types of yoga. In general yoga works with the idea of opposites, and the yoga practice most of us know is the yang type, it is fast paced and works the muscle tissue and the cardio vascular system. Yin yoga works on cooling the system down, stretching into areas that are difficult to get to and which requires time, patience and determination. Through the stillness and the long held poses, space and freedom is created within the body – and essentially the mind.
Kundalini was introduced to the west by Yogi Bhajan and became very popular in the USA where there are a huge group continues to be dedicated followers. People in Europe have been more reluctant to take in this approach to yoga as it can easily be perceived as a bit extreme in its form. However Kundalini yoga is regarded by many as the mother of all yoga, classic Hatha Yoga poses with an added emphasis on breathing exercises, hand seals and chanting. All of this to lift the energy believed to be dormant at the base of the spine. The practice is challenging on a physical level, but also cleansing and calming.
At Yogafactory we also invite the children into this universe of wellbeing, strength, mobility and focus. It is the classic Hatha Yoga that is the foundation but the focus is on playfulness and joy. The groups are divided into appropriate age groups in order for all to develop cognitive skills, better balance, strength and calm minds at the right pace and within a safe space. There are maximum 12 children in each group for the teacher to be able to see and hold each child.
Hatha yoga with a focus on rebuilding the body after pregnancy and birth. With a calm approach allowing each new mom time to both practice and nurture their baby, this is yoga that is for the benefit of both mother and child. The focus is on strengthening the core and the pelvic floor but also on releasing tension from the upper back, shoulders and neck and to find some relaxation.