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I've started doing yoga a few months ago and absolutely love it. I normally do a basic hatha yoga class, but I recently did an ashtanga class and loved it.

 

Anyone else do different styles who would like to share opinions and benefits as I am really looking for a style?

 

Also, I have read that kundalini yoga can be dangerous, why is this?

 

Thanks

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Hi. I do Iyengar regularly and I just love it. I also do Astanga at home and in an occasional class.

 

I use the yoga bible: B.K.S. Iyengar's "Light on Yoga".

 

The style you want to do is a preference. I prefer the more meditative, quiet types because I have enough craziness in my life.

 

~ Adrienne

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I absolutely love yoga. I haven't heard anything about Kundalini, so I can't weigh in there. I started out in a Bikrams class that wasn't heated, did that for several years - lots of balancing postures that you hold for at least 10 seconds. I now do a combination. I can't find a Bikram class in the area (I've since moved), so I've been doing heated vinyasa, kripalu, and the occassional ashtanga along with just your standard hatha -basically, every class that my schedule allows, I'm there - probably 5 or 6 times a week!

 

Bikrams is great b/c it really tones you, you have to contract your muscles for so long. It's amazing for balance and concentration, too.

 

Ashtanga, for me, is just alittle too much. From an exercise stand-point, it's a good cardio and strength workout, but for me, you just don't stay in the postures long enough to explore them and breathe into them. If I went more (I'm trying to get adusted to heated classes, I still get lightheaded), I might get more efficient and feel better about it, in fact, I'm sure I would. I'm just not there yet.

 

Vinyasa and kripalu are more focused on breathing into the postures and being aware of your body - how you're holding the pose, how to open up a tight area. This is much more my style, I like to hold postures for a long time - I'm always the one that's behind everyone else in class b/c I'm staying in my posture, exploring, readjusting, breathing.

 

I've been doing yoga awhile, but I learn so much more about myself and my practice everytime I get on that mat. I've just recently cracked the code on the importance of breathing - how to breathe, when to breathe, and how that deepens a posture. It's something I always knew, but a lightbulb just came on, you know? Now I think about breath almost more than anything.

 

I have a great book called "The Essentials of Yoga" put out by the Omega Institute - very informative, a good basic knowledge book. A great chapter all about breathing, too!

 

My advice would be to do what you're doing - try everything you can get your hands on. You might find that different styles meet different needs in your practice and your life - you don't have to commit to just one.

 

Hope this helps!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been doing yoga for about 4 years now and I love it. I haven't been to a class in a while (money & time issues) but I practice regularly at home.

 

My preference is also for the more meditative styles (Hatha, Iyengar) because I really like to explore, breathe and deepen into the poses.

 

I've heard Kundalini can be dangerous because of the intense breathwork and meditation - if improperly taught I guess you can do damage? I took a couple Kundalini classes - it was very...different. The poses are held for extremely long times - not especially challenging poses, but they become challenging because of the length of time. It is definitely the most "spritual" of the forms I've run across. There is a great deal of pranayama and chanting involved - not so much movement.

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Hi! I started going to the gym about 6 years ago, and kept going for about 5 years. I lost 30 kilos or so in less than a year (I was fat) but I didn't get proper guidance and stop making progress. Then, I discovered ashtanga yoga, via some videos (no teachers where I live) and I decided to give it a try. I started experimenting with Pilates at the same time, but it was ashtanga that changed my life and my perspective of it. Any form of yoga will do you good, but ashtanga is much more physically demanding than others. Not only the fast pace will give your heart a workout, but holding the poses can help you gain muscle mass, too - and improve your flexibility, as well. Just don't forget that yoga pays the same attention to the mind and the spirit.

 

As for kundalini and its risks, I have to say that I don't have experience myself, so what I'm going to say next might not be 100% accurate. Your inner energy is supposed to be like a snake that's rolled up in the base of your spine, in the root chakra. With proper breathing, poses, and meditation, the snake unrolls itself and the energy starts to rise through your spine up towards your crown chakra. It is believed that this energy is very powerful and can damage the student if he or she is not prepared. That's why it's best to practise with a teacher. Some say they feel a strange itching sensation in their gums after a kundalini yoga session, and that's a signal that the energy has indeed flowed upwards.

 

This last thing might sound a bit unbelieveable or, at least, a little weird. Don't forget that yoga is a discipline that's been around for 5000 years or so. Science has evolved much since then, but there are still many things that, though simple, have no explanation yet.

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I LOVE yoga! I teach power vinyasa (Baptiste style), but really love aspects of a lot of different styles. I'm trying to explore more of those lately. I mostly practice power vinyasa, though, which is in a heated room and is very athletic! I was in the best shape of my life during my teacher training when I was practicing every day, sometimes 2x a day for 1.5 hours each time. Trying to get back to that, but it's hard to balance everything. I'm also doing an ashtanga training this summer with Manju Jois so I will be learning to teach the primary series. I'm really interested in all of the tradition behind ashtanga yoga, so I can't wait to get started. I have a library of yoga books, and I really think that Baron Baptiste's "Journey Into Power" is a great book for a more western approach to yoga. It's a great read and has a full practice outlined in the back. I am also reading a book called "Happy Yoga" which is GREAT! Anyway, had to weigh in with the yoga-love!

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One of my dreams is becoming an ashtanga teacher - I don't know if that'll ever happen, though. I'm studying Medicine and right now I'm training to become a Pilates instructor, which is much more affordable and "attainable", because I don't think I could study yoga here in Spain. These activities are already too much for me sometimes, so studying yoga is out of my reach at the moment. But, who knows, I might go to India someday and spend some months studying with Pattabhi Jois (the founder of Ashtanga Yoga, and Manju Jois' father).

 

If you want a good book on Primary Series, I wholeheartedly recommend you to buy David Swenson's. It's a bit pricey ($24 or so) but it's well worth it. He does a great job at breaking down the sequence (includes Second Series, too), it offers at least 1 modification for each and every pose and it's got a spiral binding that keeps it open on a flat surface, so you can practice with the book open next to your mat.

 

In addition to this, Desikachar's "The Heart of Yoga" is a fantastic book on the more philosophical aspects of the practice, which (unfortunately) are too often overlooked. Desikachar's father was Krishnamacharya, who was the teacher of both Iyengar and Jois, the world's foremost yoga teachers. They later developed two very different styles (Iyengar being more slow-paced, with a special focus on alignment & Ashtanga paying more attention to the link between breath and movement), but the root is common.

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Both are GREAT books, veganashtangi.

 

Good luck with getting to India to study with Pattabhi Jois someday! I couldn't believe that Manju Jois was going to be in my area, and there was no one signed up yet for his training! I am really excited for it, but in the meantime, am trying to learn more ashtanga in order to keep up once I'm there. I have until August, so I think I'll be okay!

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Both are GREAT books, veganashtangi.

 

Good luck with getting to India to study with Pattabhi Jois someday! I couldn't believe that Manju Jois was going to be in my area, and there was no one signed up yet for his training! I am really excited for it, but in the meantime, am trying to learn more ashtanga in order to keep up once I'm there. I have until August, so I think I'll be okay!

 

Wow! You mean NOBODY had signed for the workshop! That's quite surprising! What I wouldn't give for a chance like that! I'm already looking forward to reading your feedback on the training! (All those exclamation marks were indeed intended)

 

4 months is a reasonable time to build a solid foundation. How many times a week are you planning to practice? Do you have a teacher or are learning via books and videos?

 

Good luck!

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I have a library of yoga books, and I really think that Baron Baptiste's "Journey Into Power" is a great book for a more western approach to yoga. It's a great read and has a full practice outlined in the back. I am also reading a book called "Happy Yoga" which is GREAT! Anyway, had to weigh in with the yoga-love!

 

Thanks for the book recommendations, Nicole! I just picked up "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self" by Stephen Cope from Kripalu in Lenox, MA. You mentioned the western perspective, Cope offers that in this book as well, I'm about 1/2 way through, but I feel I've learned so much already! I'll have to check out the Baptiste book, I don't have many books that outline asanas yet!

 

It's funny how different areas seem to call yoga class different things. Like, I go to a "heated vinyasa," but I wonder how similar it is to the "power vinyasa" that you teach - is there a difference? That vinyasa class I take is pretty intense, hot, and can be fast paced (we warm up a bit first, then get cranking through usually a variation of sun or moon salutation towards the end). Then I go to "hot power yoga" that they were originally calling "ashtanga" but have since stopped, and it's quite different from the vinyasa class, faster paced for the most part, less focused on breath and alignment it seems, more so just banging out postures. (Yep, since my last writing I've gotten more used to the heat and have taken a stab at more heated classes). Then the Kripalu class that I go to is not heated, but can be very vinyasa-like, but sometimes not, sometimes it's much more gentle. Then, obviously, Bikram is Bikram, you know just what you're going to get everytime!

 

I'm considering maybe becoming a yoga teacher, too, but I think I have a long way to go. Any advice for a newbie like me?

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Both are GREAT books, veganashtangi.

 

Good luck with getting to India to study with Pattabhi Jois someday! I couldn't believe that Manju Jois was going to be in my area, and there was no one signed up yet for his training! I am really excited for it, but in the meantime, am trying to learn more ashtanga in order to keep up once I'm there. I have until August, so I think I'll be okay!

 

Wow! You mean NOBODY had signed for the workshop! That's quite surprising! What I wouldn't give for a chance like that! I'm already looking forward to reading your feedback on the training! (All those exclamation marks were indeed intended)

 

4 months is a reasonable time to build a solid foundation. How many times a week are you planning to practice? Do you have a teacher or are learning via books and videos?

 

Good luck!

 

No, not yet!! The training is in August and they said they are expecting only 10-15 people in the training! I think it's a GREAT opportunity to expand my yoga knowlege! It's a lot of money, and I'm taking a week off work for it, so there's my summer "vacation."

 

I'm currently practicing power vinyasa several times a week, but no ashtanga yet! I'm going to start to get into the primary series myself using David Swenson's book, since I already know a lot about the alignment, etc, just not the sequencing. I may take up some classes in a few weeks, but my schedule is already packed between working full time, teaching, and everything else!!! I also bought a cd of yoga chants, since I've heard that Manju Jois likes it when people know the ashtanga chanting. So, I intend to learn before then.

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I have a library of yoga books, and I really think that Baron Baptiste's "Journey Into Power" is a great book for a more western approach to yoga. It's a great read and has a full practice outlined in the back. I am also reading a book called "Happy Yoga" which is GREAT! Anyway, had to weigh in with the yoga-love!

 

Thanks for the book recommendations, Nicole! I just picked up "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self" by Stephen Cope from Kripalu in Lenox, MA. You mentioned the western perspective, Cope offers that in this book as well, I'm about 1/2 way through, but I feel I've learned so much already! I'll have to check out the Baptiste book, I don't have many books that outline asanas yet!

 

It's funny how different areas seem to call yoga class different things. Like, I go to a "heated vinyasa," but I wonder how similar it is to the "power vinyasa" that you teach - is there a difference? That vinyasa class I take is pretty intense, hot, and can be fast paced (we warm up a bit first, then get cranking through usually a variation of sun or moon salutation towards the end). Then I go to "hot power yoga" that they were originally calling "ashtanga" but have since stopped, and it's quite different from the vinyasa class, faster paced for the most part, less focused on breath and alignment it seems, more so just banging out postures. (Yep, since my last writing I've gotten more used to the heat and have taken a stab at more heated classes). Then the Kripalu class that I go to is not heated, but can be very vinyasa-like, but sometimes not, sometimes it's much more gentle. Then, obviously, Bikram is Bikram, you know just what you're going to get everytime!

 

I'm considering maybe becoming a yoga teacher, too, but I think I have a long way to go. Any advice for a newbie like me?

 

Oooh, maybe I'll pick that book up next! I am always looking to add to my yoga library! I really wanted to do a week/weekend at Kripalu this summer, but financially, and time-wise, I don't think it's going to happen for me this year! Maybe next year!

 

Yeah, the names for yoga styles gets very confusing! "Power Yoga" originally referred to ashtanga (hence, Beryl Bender Birch's books "Power Yoga" and "Beyond Power Yoga" - she is an ashtanga teacher... and an amazing one! I was lucky enough to do a continuing education workshop with her in December). While what I teach sticks pretty well to the Baptiste (power vinyasa) flow, I can't call my class a Baptiste class, because I wasn't trained by Baron Baptiste personally (my teacher was, however). It gets confusing because there's actually a lot of legalities and codes of ethics that come into the picture when you're a yoga teacher! I just got my official registration card from the Yoga Alliance today and it came with a code of conduct! I think those things are important, but they sure can complicate things!

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I'm considering maybe becoming a yoga teacher, too, but I think I have a long way to go. Any advice for a newbie like me?

 

Sorry, I skipped this part! I think the most important thing is really choosing a good teacher when you do your training. I love my teacher and I really feel confident in my abilities to teach people, thanks to him (and the other teachers at my studio who helped with my training). I don't know anything by any means, but I know that I can always go to him with a question, etc. It's nice to have that support. I still work in the studio where I did my training assisting with beginner yoga classes in order to gain more knowlege and experience. It's neverending!! Also, reading a lot, experiencing different types of yoga, different teachers... it all helps! I didn't know what kind of yoga I wanted to teach until I'd tried a few out.

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No, not yet!! The training is in August and they said they are expecting only 10-15 people in the training! I think it's a GREAT opportunity to expand my yoga knowlege! It's a lot of money, and I'm taking a week off work for it, so there's my summer "vacation."

 

I'm currently practicing power vinyasa several times a week, but no ashtanga yet! I'm going to start to get into the primary series myself using David Swenson's book, since I already know a lot about the alignment, etc, just not the sequencing. I may take up some classes in a few weeks, but my schedule is already packed between working full time, teaching, and everything else!!! I also bought a cd of yoga chants, since I've heard that Manju Jois likes it when people know the ashtanga chanting. So, I intend to learn before then.

 

It's great that you have a prior knowledge of alignment and all that. I think that's the main problem if you're a beginner to yoga and want to try ashtanga: the lack of a sense of how your different body parts should be placed in each asana. The fast pace of ashtanga makes this hard to learn and easy to forget, so knowing something about it beforehand is quite useful.

 

On the subject of chanting, I must admit I didn't start doing that until I had been practising for about a year (and that was not so long ago). Before that, I used to think it was quite ridiculous, taking into account that I practise on my own, at home. However, as I started to study the more philosophical and spiritual aspects of yoga, and became aware of the power and meaning of mantras, I slowly changed my mind. Nowadays, I chant both at the beginning and at the end of practice. My pronunciation might be awful, but I make sure I'm putting my heart into it.

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On the subject of chanting, I must admit I didn't start doing that until I had been practising for about a year (and that was not so long ago). Before that, I used to think it was quite ridiculous, taking into account that I practise on my own, at home. However, as I started to study the more philosophical and spiritual aspects of yoga, and became aware of the power and meaning of mantras, I slowly changed my mind. Nowadays, I chant both at the beginning and at the end of practice. My pronunciation might be awful, but I make sure I'm putting my heart into it.

 

I'll bet the opposite of yoga is true with chanting - in yoga, proper alignment and breathing are essential before you can progress "deeper" into a pose and have it be beneficial to you, but in chanting, I would think that putting your heart into it far supercedes having the textbook pronunciation down pat!

 

I've only done the tiniest bit of chanting myself - once in an all-day intensive at the studio I go to, and again at the Yoga Journal Conference in Boston last weekend, only about 10 minutes each time. I commend you for being able to do it at home alone, I think I might be horrified by the sound of my own voice! Do you have any favorites?

 

Thanks for the advice Nicole. Yeah, that makes sense - for awhile at my studio they couldn't have any Bikram's classes, even though the instructor herself was certified, the studio itself was not. They would say it was "hot power" but tip everyone off that the instructor was a Bikram's instructor so you might get alittle of that mixed in. Now, they offer a few actual Bikram's classes, so they must've got the legality stuff all squared away! It IS confusing! Looks like I'm on the right track so far - I go to all different classes and love to read about yoga (bought 4 books just at the conference!), we'll see where this takes me!

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Oooh, maybe I'll pick that book up next! I am always looking to add to my yoga library! I really wanted to do a week/weekend at Kripalu this summer, but financially, and time-wise, I don't think it's going to happen for me this year! Maybe next year!

 

Yes, pick it up, a good summer reading book, I think! Funny, though, I think most would find it way too deep to be a good summer book, but I'm pretty beginner, so some of it might actually read alittle slow for you - very interesting perspectives about eastern philosophy vs. western psychology...

 

Kripalu seems like an incredible place according to this book, it's making me think of trying to get there, too! There's always winter vacations, right?

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I'll bet the opposite of yoga is true with chanting - in yoga, proper alignment and breathing are essential before you can progress "deeper" into a pose and have it be beneficial to you, but in chanting, I would think that putting your heart into it far supercedes having the textbook pronunciation down pat!

 

Well said!

 

I've only done the tiniest bit of chanting myself - once in an all-day intensive at the studio I go to, and again at the Yoga Journal Conference in Boston last weekend, only about 10 minutes each time. I commend you for being able to do it at home alone, I think I might be horrified by the sound of my own voice! Do you have any favorites?

 

Mmm. I think it was a bit awkward in the beginning, but now I've got used to it, I actually like chanting. In Ashtanga Yoga we have an Opening Mantra and a Closing Mantra that we chant at the beginning and the end of every practice. Read them here.

 

Other than that, I love Gayatri Mantra and Om Asatoma Mantra. In addition to singing them myself, I enjoy listening to Deva Premal's versions, included in her album "The Essence".

 

 

Btw, which books did you buy in the conference?

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Mmm. I think it was a bit awkward in the beginning, but now I've got used to it, I actually like chanting. In Ashtanga Yoga we have an Opening Mantra and a Closing Mantra that we chant at the beginning and the end of every practice. Read them here.

 

Other than that, I love Gayatri Mantra and Om Asatoma Mantra. In addition to singing them myself, I enjoy listening to Deva Premal's versions, included in her album "The Essence".

 

 

Btw, which books did you buy in the conference?

 

Thanks for those links, those sound really nice, she's got a lovely set of pipes! That's the sort of thing I would need to start out, I think - I'd have to hear it AND read it!

 

I bought that "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self" by Stephen Cope, which I'm reading right now and have been glued to ever since I picked it up. It's just a smart book that flows like a story but is just full of huge insights, I can see myself re-reading it (maybe as soon as I finish!). Another is "Yoga Body, Buddha Mind" by Cyndi Lee. She actually taught the Intro to Vinyasa class that I took at the conference, so I bought her book because I liked her demeanor, you know? She just had this smart, everyday gal thing about her, a great sense of humor, just the kind of person you could relate to, I'm hoping her book is like that, too. Then I got Iyengar's "Light on Life" and "The Yoga of Breath, A Step by Step Guide to Pranayama" by Richard Rosen. Very excited to have so much good stuff to read!

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Thanks for those links, those sound really nice, she's got a lovely set of pipes! That's the sort of thing I would need to start out, I think - I'd have to hear it AND read it!

 

That album is fantastic. A fellow ashtangi and I are fond of saying it's haunting. The CD comes with a fantastic booklet with the words and translations and a quick background on the mantras.

 

 

I bought that "Yoga and the Quest for the True Self" by Stephen Cope, which I'm reading right now and have been glued to ever since I picked it up. It's just a smart book that flows like a story but is just full of huge insights, I can see myself re-reading it (maybe as soon as I finish!). Another is "Yoga Body, Buddha Mind" by Cyndi Lee. She actually taught the Intro to Vinyasa class that I took at the conference, so I bought her book because I liked her demeanor, you know? She just had this smart, everyday gal thing about her, a great sense of humor, just the kind of person you could relate to, I'm hoping her book is like that, too. Then I got Iyengar's "Light on Life" and "The Yoga of Breath, A Step by Step Guide to Pranayama" by Richard Rosen. Very excited to have so much good stuff to read!

 

I had not heard about the first and the last one before, but both "Light On Life" and "Yoga Body, Buddha Mind" seem to be wonderful books, according to some reviews I've read. Unfortunately, I let the chance to buy Iyengar's one last September when I was in London and now I'll have to buy it online grrr

 

I'm currently reading "Light on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra", Iyengar's comment on this text about yoga philosophy, which is my favourite of all of the ancient text. It's quite complex but very deep. It's amazing how those thoughts that are hundreds of years old are still true nowadays.

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Hey there ashtangi!

 

I still haven't finished "Light on Life" - to be honest, all those sanskrit terms overwhelm me sometimes, I wound up putting the book down for awhile. Iyengar references Patanjali so much that it makes me want to read his interpretation of the Yoga Sutra's as well. You're right - as a race, we're all still trying to learn the same lessons. It's truly amazing.

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