Styles of Yoga  

There are many interpretations and styles of Yoga available in the modern world:  Read about some of them here 


Scaravelli Inspired 

Vanda Scaravelli spoke often of the importance of surrendering to gravity and dropping the bones towards the earth, and it can take real time (sometimes several years!) and persistence to experience this sense of softening and releasing with real clarity. 
As Vanda realised, the body needs patience: 
Vanda Scaravelli was born into an artistic, musical and intellectual family. Her father, Alberto Passigli was involved in creating the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino as well as the Orchestra Stabile. Her mother, Clara Corsi, was one of the first women graduates from an Italian university. Her early life was very much a musical one and many world class musicians such as Arturo Toscanini were frequent visitors to the family villa, Il Leccio. Vanda Scaravelli was a concert standard pianist herself, and maintained her involvement in music throughout her life. 
She married Luigi Scaravelli, a Professor of Philosophy, with whom she had two children. Tragically, Luigi died suddenly, shortly after World War II. It was around this time that she was introduced to BKS Iyengar by the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. Iyengar taught daily classes to Jiddu Krishnamurti, whom Scaravelli had known earlier in life through her father. Thus she took up yoga in her late 40s. 
Some years later, Krishnamurti invited Desikachar to the Scaravelli’s Chalet Tannegg in Gstaad, where he taught them about the importance of the breath (pranayama), which became one of the principle themes in Vanda Scaravelli’s teaching. After this, Vanda Scaravelli continued to study with Iyengar and Desikachar for some years as she developed her approach towards the breath, gravity and the spine. 

Hatha Yoga 

‘Hatha’ yoga particularly focuses on spinal health, which houses the central nervous system, the essential link between body and mind. The spine is fundamental to good posture. Too often we spend our daily life sitting hunched over a desk or driving in an uncomfortable position. Stress can create tension throughout the whole body and result in poor spinal health. Most of us are, therefore, susceptible to varying degrees of back discomfort, or pain. A collapsed or hunched spine also compresses the lungs, reducing our intake of oxygen, which in turn can manifest in other health problems later in life. A regular yoga practise enhances our spinal health, respiratory health, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, the digestive system the nervous system and the immune system. In addition, we find that students gain both in flexibility and mobility as well as strength and often general toning of the body. 
At the studio we offer a range of Hatha Yoga classes to suit all ages, abilities and experience, and at a selection of times during the week. During a class you can expect to experience some breathing practise, some posture work and some relaxation. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Julie – Owner 
• Caroline Brindle 

Ashtanga Vinyasa 

Ashtanga is an incredibly powerful and therapeutic practice that has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and ultimately calm the mind. Ashtanga literally means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. 
At the heart of this practice is breath synchronised with movement to create a dynamic flow, so be prepared to work hard and expect to get a little sweaty as the focus on one of the tools ‘ujjayi breath’ will generate an intense internal heat as you move around the mat. 
Usually, an Ashtanga Vinyasa practice of asanas begin with five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of B, followed by a standing sequence. Following this the practitioner progresses through one of six series, followed by a standard closing sequence. 
The six series are: 
1. The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy 
2. The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (also called the Second series) 
3. The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength 
i. Advanced A, or Third series 
ii. Advanced B, or Fourth series 
iii. Advanced C, or Fifth series 
iv. Advanced D, or Sixth series 
It would probably be fair to say most people stay with the Primary series in general weekly classes as the practise is notoriously vigorous. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Justine 

Flow Yoga 

Flow yoga classes tend to be a mixture of meditation, breath-work and energizing movement. They usually begin with gentler movements to warm up the body, then move into progressively more challenging flowing sequences. These may include standing poses, balances, inversions and peak poses. The classes tend to end with slower, deeper stretches, and often floor-based asana practice. 
Unlike some other styles of yoga, flow yoga typically has no set sequence of poses, as it is not confined to any particular tradition or lineage. As such, yoga teachers tend to get creative with sequencing, either targeting certain areas of the body, focusing on different themes, or helping to build certain abilities, such as strength, flexibility or balance. This diversity gives flow yoga a universal appeal, and flow classes are some of the most popular in the world. 
Depending on the teacher, flow yoga classes can either be a strong physical challenge, or a slow, gentle and relaxing. Names such as ‘Power Flow,’ or ‘Gentle Flow’ will generally indicate what to expect from a class. Regardless of the practitioner’s level, most flow yoga sequences can be modified to accommodate those with injuries or disabilities. The most common style of flow yoga is Vinyasa Flow, with more recent adaptations, such as Inside Flow, rapidly gaining popularity. 
The breath synchronization found in flow yoga is said to maximize the positive benefits of the practice, turning it into a moving meditation. The breath primarily helps to maintain the pace of the sequence, preventing practitioners from rushing through poses. It can also be used to assist in deepening the expression of a pose, whilst providing greater mental focus and freedom from distraction. In this way, meditation and breathwork are woven throughout all flow yoga practices. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Deborah (Align and Flow) 
• Caroline (Slow Flow) 
• Sarah 

Kundalini Yoga 

Kundalini yoga is practiced in the form of kriya. Each kriya is a set of postures, breath and meditations designed to allow the manifestation of a particular state. Many of the postures involve movement, and the emphasis is on the overall energy and dynamics of the posture rather than on precision. 
A typical Kundalini yoga class will include chanting a mantra to “tune in”, breathing and warm-up exercises, the main kriya, a meditation (with or without mantra) and deep relaxation. A class always closes with a beautiful song of blessing, known as “The Sunshine Song”, sung or recited in English. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Jo 

Iyengar Yoga 

According to the Iyengar Yoga Institute, unlike more experiential approaches where students are encouraged to independently “find their way” to the asanas by imitating the teacher, an Iyengar Yoga class is precise, with misalignments and errors actively explained and corrected. 
It states that the style “emphasises precision and alignment, and prioritises correct movement over quantity, i.e., moving a small amount in the right direction is preferred to moving more but in other directions. 
Postures are held for a relatively long period of time compared to other schools of yoga; this allows the muscles to relax and lengthen and encourages awareness in the pose. 
Props including belts, blocks and blankets are freely used to assist students in correct working in the asanas, enable beginning students, the elderly, or those with physical limitations to perform the asanas correctly, with the view to minimising the risk of injury or strain. 
Currently we do not offer Iyengar classes at YFH 

Gong Bath Meditation 

Participants lay down comfortably under a blanket and the gong session is often preceded by breathing exercises or mantra chanting to relax and prepare you for the experience. The gongs are then gradually introduced, and the vibrations of the gongs are absorbed throughout the entire body. Highly rejuvenating for the body and bringing about an overall sense of relaxation, which can reduce stress, another process that takes place is entrainment – the synchronisation of our fluctuating brainwaves with the stable frequency of the gong, which our brains acclimate to and unify with. This can also help create overall harmony within our bodies. The sound of a gong helps the brain reach deep relaxation – specifically the delta and theta brain wave states, which are the slowest brain waves in humans. We tend to reach these states during daydreaming or deep sleep, and are known to aid relaxation, creativity and natural healing. 
As gong baths are a mode of meditation through which the mind can become quiet, you may find that inspiration, new ideas, or breakthroughs come to you. You might like to have a journal with you to write down these thoughts afterwards. 
Singing bowls are believed to appear first in the Himalayan, shamanic tradition of Bon Po, thousands of years ago. They are originally made from 7 metals representing the celestial bodies. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Jane 

Yin Yoga 

Yin yoga has evolved to combine the Indian wisdoms of yoga with the Chinese philosophies of the meridians used in acupuncture and acupressure. For example, working with asanas that support specific meridian channels (yin/yang pairs) such as the spleen and stomach to stimulate and nourish the organs and rebalance the mind-body-spirit. It also builds on more modern science that increasingly suggests that our connective tissue provides key pathways for physiological energy flow. As well as creating openness and restoring flexibility, the different Yin postures are believed to help unblock these pathways so that the prana or qi (chi) can flow freely. Helping to keep the body in general good health. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Justine 
• Ruth 

Pregnancy Yoga 

It can also help you meet and bond with other pregnant women and prepare for the stress of being a new parent. 
A typical ante-natal yoga class might involve: 
• Breathing. You’ll be encouraged to focus on breathing in and out slowly and deeply through the nose. Ante-natal yoga breathing techniques might help you reduce or manage shortness of breath during pregnancy and work through contractions during labour. 
• Gentle stretching. You’ll be encouraged to gently move different areas of your body, through their full range of motion. 
• Postures. While standing, sitting or lying on the ground, you’ll gently move your body into different positions aimed at developing your strength, flexibility and balance. Props — such as blankets, cushions and belts — might be used to provide support and comfort. 
• Cool down and relaxation. At the end of each class, you’ll relax your muscles and restore your resting heart rate and breathing rhythm. You might be encouraged to listen to your own breathing, pay close attention to sensations, thoughts and emotions, or repeat a mantra or word to bring about a state of self-awareness and inner calm. 
There are many different styles of yoga — some more strenuous than others. Pregnancy yoga, hatha yoga and restorative yoga are the best choices for pregnant women. Talk to the instructor about your pregnancy before starting any other yoga class. It is recommended to wait until after the 12 week scan has shown no complications. 
Be careful to avoid hot yoga, and over strenuous styles of yoga. 
Talk to your health care provider before you begin a ante-natal yoga program, make sure you have your health care provider’s OK. You might not be able to do ante-natal yoga if you are at increased risk of preterm labour or have certain medical conditions, such as heart disease or back problems. 
Don’t overdo it. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. Start slow and avoid positions that are beyond your level of experience or comfort. Stretch only as far as you would have before pregnancy. 
Look for a program taught by an instructor who has training in ante-natal yoga. 
Tutors at Yoga for Harmony: 
• Caroline 

Hot Yoga 

Bikram Choudhury is a hot yoga innovator and founder of the Bikram Yoga system. His method is the original style to be set in a hot room. It is a unique, set series of 26 postures, including two pranayama practises each of which is performed twice in a single 90-minute class. 
Some hot yoga classes may follow a Bikram format, but others may not. Classes that specifically indicate that they are Bikram classes will generally follow the proprietary 26-pose format. But a non-Bikram hot yoga class can be any series of yoga poses in a heated room. 
We do not offer Hot Yoga at Yoga for Harmony 

Restorative yoga 

A key feature in restorative yoga is the use of props such as blocks, bolsters, or blankets. The props help you hold passive poses for longer without exerting or tiring out your muscles. It also allows you to feel comfortable and supported, regardless of your experience with yoga. 
And, since you’re encouraged to relax fully in the pose while focusing on your breath, restorative yoga allows you to release tension in your muscles for longer periods without discomfort. 
Not offered in its traditional form at Yoga for Harmony. 

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