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What’s the difference? / Which one can I attend?

January 14, 2011

I’ve been ask time and time again, what’s the difference between the classes?  I’ve tried to keep my answer simple but if I’m passionate about something, I find it hard to limit  my words.  Hopefully this will help anyone who is interested. 🙂

Yin Yoga: This is a quiet, slow and relaxed way of yoga practice. We encourage the body to be completely relaxed as we hold the pose for an extended period of time (3 to 5 minutes).  Typically the targeted areas are the lower back, sacrum, hips, knees, and ankles; encouraging more opening and spaciousness in the joints.  Most of the poses will be executed in a supine, prone or sitting position.  (I wrote a longer FAQ on Yin Yoga or you can visit here for more information.)

Vinyasa Yoga: Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement”, which means we move from pose to pose with an inhale or exhale.  We also hold poses for a few breaths.  There are different mini series of poses in my class which flows from one pose to the next.  The sequencing of the class differs from teacher to teacher.  Breath work makes it easier for the body to transition to the next pose and helps detox the body.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga:  This form of yoga is dynamic, physical and athletic.  It is an ancient system of yoga led by K. Pattabhi Jois.  This type of yoga is a vinyasa (movement with the breath).  The main difference is that there is a set series of movement.  An Ashtanga class in studio A should be the same in studio B.  The practice makes use of Bandhas (body locks), Breath, and Drishti (focal point).  A LED Ashtanga class is where everyone moves together and the teacher guides the class into the next pose.  The main goal of this method of practice is to have a strong calm mind by purifying the body.  😉   For more information, you can check out this website.

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This is my take on how they are different or not so different from each other. 🙂

The difference would be the execution of the practice.  Yin is very slow and relaxed.  The challenge is to stay quiet, relaxed constantly and keep the pose for the 5 minutes (as compared to the typical 5 breaths only).  Vinyasa and Ashtanga are strength building, dynamic and fluid.  It’s almost a dance.  Yin Yoga and Ashtanaga Yoga are quiet and serious practice and their goal is meditation and eventually enlightenment.  Vinyasa yoga is where we can explore and have fun with different poses while keeping it safe and healthy.

First-timers, regulars and returning yogis are all welcome to all three of my classes.  If you are really out of shape and want an easy introduction into yoga, join the Yin Yoga class since it’s only 1hr and a relaxed type.  If you want to challenge yourself and gain strength, join the Vinyasa Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.

Each method/type of yoga practice varies and has different effects on a person’s body.  They may even have opposite philosophies but the main goal of yoga is to unite mind and body.

I hope this helps. 🙂 If you have any questions, suggestions, corrections, or reaction to what I wrote, feel free to email me. 🙂 Thanks.

Peace,

-Karen

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