So many styles of yoga.

Yoga has shifted, changed, and developed over the years, and there are now countless different styles of yoga.  It can be confusing to know the differences.

From the dynamic movements of Power and Vinyasa to the meditative stillness of Yin and Restorative and the spiritual awakening of Kundalini, the world of yoga is a tapestry of diverse styles. Each one offers a unique experience, catering to different needs and preferences.

How are you supposed to know the difference between all of these types?  Which type is right for you?

The origins of most modern yoga can be traced back to one man—yes, that’s right—one man. His name was Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. He is known as the Father of Modern Yoga. He inspired all of the major branches of yoga that have developed over the last 50 years and died in 1989 at 101.

From one comes many.

So, from one man comes MANY different yoga styles.  How can so many styles develop from one person?  Each person who studies yoga has their own opinions on what is correct or better, and each person who studied with Krishnamacharya added their own views.  As this happened, they developed their own slightly different versions.

This addition of new opinions has continued over the years, and now we have countless ‘styles’ of yoga.

In my 18+ years of yoga practice, I’ve crafted my own unique style.  It’s a fluid creation that evolves as I delve deeper into the practice.  What remains constant is my curiosity and openness to learn from the diverse styles of yoga.  I pick and choose elements that resonate with me, weaving them into my tapestry of practice.

Woman practicing tree pose on a beach at sunrise.

What has stayed the same is my favorite yoga practice.

So, what is my favorite yoga practice?

It’s not Vinyasa, Restorative, or Yin, although I do love all of those styles. I’ve taken bits and pieces from each to develop my own version of yoga, but none of them is my favorite.

My favorite yoga practice is the one where I listen to my own body.

I practice yoga for at least 10 minutes and usually much more every single day. When I step on my mat, I often have an idea of my energy and goals for the day. What is always fascinating to me is that the moment I start to move my body in a physical yoga practice is the moment that I really begin to know what I need for that day.

I start out with an idea of what I need from my thinking brain, but my body will quickly tell me if I’m moving too fast or too slow.  My body already knows what I need & it will tell me that it needs a certain pose or sequence.  Sometimes I need to simply move my body as I release some energy and sometimes I need a lot of stillness in order to heal or refresh myself.

Either way, I will only get my practice right if I listen to my body!

From years of experience, I know that if I try to force a practice into a shape or look that isn’t right for that moment, I won’t leave my mat feeling supported by my practice. And if my yoga practice isn’t supporting me, then why am I doing it?

Those days that I step on my mat & do a completely different yoga practice than I expected are the days when I really honor my own body’s needs.  They are the days when I feel supported and know that my practice is helping and not hurting me.

How do you practice this way?

I talk about awareness a lot, and that’s what you need to practice yoga this way.  Deeply listening to your body means that you are aware of those little things.  Your ankle feels a little different when you move a certain way.  Your breath is more shallow than usual.  Your back is tight in a spot that is usually loose.  All these small awarenesses help you tailor your practice to suit you now.

Awareness is a skill that you develop the more that you practice it.  It’s that awareness to what is happening right now that helps me to get my yoga practice ‘right’.

A yoga mat and yoga props ready for yoga practice.  The shadows of the sun cross the mat.

How is my practice lately?

With all that is going on right now, there is a lot more anxiety in our world.  The uncertainty has us all on edge & I feel it, too!

Lately, my practice has been slower and deeper. My body needs the time to let go of the deep tension that builds up while listening to the news, talking with others, or simply trying to figure out life right now. I need that time to rest and regenerate so that I can face life with more ease.

Even though I’m craving a lot of slow practices lately, I still have those days where my body says it’s time to move and I end up doing a lot of Sun Salutations.  Those days are good too!

I don’t believe there is just one right yoga practice out there.

I do believe that there are MANY yoga practices out there that can be supportive and helpful.  Finding what works for you in the moment is the real key.

If your yoga practice isn’t supporting you as it used to, it might be time to listen more closely to your body. Ask it what it needs right now. Ask how you can support it. Listen inward so that you can hear the messages that your body is trying to send you. Only then can you create your own favorite yoga practice.

Set up a free chat with me if you want help customizing your yoga practice. It’s fun to explore on your own, but a little bit of assistance is good too!

Becky is a Yoga Therapist & has been teaching yoga since 2006. She loves to match people with a yoga practice that helps them to feel better every day & believes that there is a yoga practice for everyone. Click here to sign up for her mailing list & get all of the important news & tips first!

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