Sometimes I'm approached to explain why Yoga1's classes have different names than the yoga studio around the corner.
I try to explain that Yoga is ancient. It has many schools, with significant people who named things differently - though the core is accepted to have the same names or definition.
This applies to postures, practices, and concepts, showing the richness of the ancient Indo-European Sanskrit language and Yoga itself.
Let us not forget India is 13 times bigger than the U.K.! At least you can divide Yoga into two parts, the Northern and the South Indian.
Being a westerner mind, I struggle to sometimes understand why things are not standardised in Yoga. Maybe we should have an archbishop, a pope, or a queen... but we don't! You have no such thing with Yoga. Therefore we have standards but not standardisation.
Our classes are named differently because we have done our homework and looked for Sanskrit names that have a meaning. We are therefore upholding tradition.
Yoga is the whole philosophy and schools which are worried about the understanding, discussion and dissemination of the art and science of living, and life itself.
In the west, Yoga is wrongly confused with the physical practice you do in ours or other studios, gyms, beach, and bus stop even! But really, what we are doing is ASANA.
Another mistake is differentiating Hatha Yoga and other... names for classes.
Hatha Yoga is a school of Yoga concerned with the physical body (and the mind). It is one of the many schools, just like we have different departments in a university like sports and sports science! Therefore all Yoga you do around is Hatha Yoga - including all our classes, plus all the others, yin, ashtanga, dru, vinyasa, flow and restore, you name it!
Here is how we name our classes:
Kriya, means action, movement, and also cleansing. It is the base class for all others. The original Yoga is movement-based, though not necessarily a vinyasa - a sequence of postures, usually Sun Salutations & other series. This is your base class and the one you return to again and again. It is the class you work on your balance, coordination, strength and flexibility, and mental acuity. More importantly, you work on developing your VO2 MAX or your lung capacity. And, you provide an active massage to your body, detoxifying it. This is your most important class.
Asana, means seat, posture, and this is the most known class around where you hold your poses for a more extended period. This is a modern take from Hatha Yoga after we got all emphatic with the masterclasses by Swami Iyengar - that and his invention of props! We love our props! Around, this class is said to be for all levels, but if you are not ready, you will exacerbate your body's imbalances. When you are ready, you can hold the postures with lightness, with a calm, long and deep breath, enjoy it all and slowly work on taking it further.
Virya, is the normal (hard) vinyasa. A perfect example is Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga, considered a traditional advanced sequence. This practice is not for the faint-hearted. Composed of Sun Salutations and held postures, our class follows the traditional format without the rigidity of the fixed sequences. You should be well advanced in your physical practice to keep the high rhythm and demand of the class.
Just because a few Yoga teachers went to America and all took off from there, we do not have to follow the American version of Yoga's practices.
I'm not interested in teaching Bikram's sequences or being told that I need to follow 13 postures alone. I hope you will not take this the wrong way, but I studied enough to know I can do a comparable work! I hope you can see that I do is with you in my mind.
That's the Yoga I bring you.
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