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Ashtanga A system of hatha yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois that synchronizes the mind, body and spirit with the breathe. Through a series of physical postures or asanas, the practitioner generates a purifying sweat that detoxifies the muscles, joints and internal organs. The asanas also develop strength, internally and externally. Emphasis is placed on core strength through the cultivation of bandhas, or energy locks in the body. Deep ujjayi breathing is absolutely a fundamental part of the physical practice because it stimulates the adrenal glands in a very particular manner to produce the profuse sweat that ashtanga is known for. Each posture heals a specific area of the physical and energetic body. The ashtanga series is a specifically designed set of poses that works on multiple layers in the yogi's body. The specificity of the poses targets a very deep level of consciousness over time. The practice is cumulative, meaning that the true benefits are only realized after some time of committed practice. After the initial soreness wears away, a new found strength and flexibility will fill both the practitionerâs life inside and outside the yoga practice. As the body's flexibility increases, a new sense of openness and freedom is gained. The internal, energetic practice of mind-body awareness is the key to the meditative state that is the real yoga practice. Through regular yoga practice, the energy or prana in every human soul is rejuvenated. A light body, strong spirit and calm mind are the benefits of long term practice. Hatha Hatha yoga is considered the mother of all yogas and is the most widely practiced form of yoga in America. This system concentrates on physical health and mental well-being, and uses bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana) with the goal of bringing about a sound, healthy body and a clear, peaceful mind. There are nearly 200 hatha yoga postures, with hundreds of variations, which work to make the spine supple and to promote circulation in all the organs, glands, and tissues. Hatha yoga postures also stretch and align the body, promoting balance and flexibility. The origins of hatha yoga have been traced back to the eleventh century A.D. The Sanskrit word ha means "sun" and tha means "moon," and thus hatha, or literally sunmoon yoga, strives to balance opposing parts of the physical body, the front and back, left and right, top and bottom along with the mind and spirit. Iyengar A study of hatha yoga based on the teachings of BKS Iyengar. The Iyengar approach to hatha yoga makes frequent use of different kinds of props. These are objects like blocks, chairs, blankets and belts that help you adjust yourself to the different postures so that you can work in a range of motion that is safe and effective for you. Learning how to do this will increase your body awareness. The Iyengar method places special focus on developing strength, endurance and correct body alignment in addition to flexibility and relaxation. Standing poses are emphasized in this system of yoga. They build strong legs, increase general vitality, and improve circulation, coordination and balance. Iyengar hatha yoga is meditation in action. As students do hatha yoga postures the mind is focused on the actions of the posture and the movement of the breath. Bikram Bikram Yoga method is a series of twenty-six specific and unchanging postures that works out the entire body for a period of ninety minutes from the inside out, using every system of the body. It stretches and strengthens every single muscle, ligament and joint in the body. The sequence is designed so that every posture warms up the muscles and joints needed for the next posture, in addition to working the organs, glands, and nervous system in a systematic and profound way. The room temperature is ideally set 105 degrees and about 60% humidity. By heating the room, students protect muscles to allow for deeper stretching, detoxify the body (open pores to let toxins out), thin the blood to clear the circulatory system, increase heart rate for better cardiovascular workout, and improve strength by putting muscle tissue in optimal state for reorganization. Kundalini Kundalini yoga in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan, who brought the style to the West in 1969, focuses on the controlled release of Kundalini energy. The practice involves classic poses, breath, coordination of breath and movement, meditation. Power Yoga Power Yoga is commonly referred to the western version of Astanga yoga, but really has developed its own identity over the years by taking key components from other styles of yoga. Astanga yoga is known for its fast paced movements in which postures flow from one to another (this flow is called vinyasa). Iyengar yoga involves precise alignment and symmetry. Viniyoga uses the breath along with movement and is slower paced. Although Power Yoga moves faster than viniyoga it does incorporate meditation, breathing along with movement, and encourages the students to listen to their bodies. The last component of Power Yoga comes from Bikram. Bikram yoga is done in a room where temperatures are set between 100 - 110 degrees allowing the body to stretch deeper into poses, prevents injury because the muscles are warm, and detoxifies the body. In Power Yoga the room is set to a degree of 80 - 85 degrees for the same benefits as above but with less heat. Pilates Although not considered a style of yoga, Pilates derives many of its movements from yoga and is based on the teachings of Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates was a gymnast, boxer and circus performer and was also a student of Eastern philosophies such as yoga and karate. He combined gymnastic and yogic principles that would strengthen the body. Many of the exercises in Pilates focus on the powerhouse - the wide belt around the middle of your body. Essentially, Pilates is a series of exercises or poses that are connected in a particular way to increase circulation and flexibility and strengthen specific areas of the body.