If you are new to yoga, you're probably not familiar with all the funny names and terms. But don't worry ! This page should help to clarify !
To start with, here is a quick answer to the question "What is yoga ?". Although it would require many pages and hours to give a complete definition, here is an accessible one :
“Yoga is a set of physical and mental exercices... which is intended to give control
over the body and mind.“ Cambridge Dictionary
So nowadays, yoga classes are mostly asana practice focused (physical practice in Sanskrit). They might include pranayama exercices (breath control exercices in Sanskrit), meditation sometimes (Dhyana in Sanskrit), and should all finish with Savasana (resting pose for few minutes of relaxation at the end). There are many different schools and styles of yoga.
I teach some of them so to help you out understanding them, here is a short glossary !
Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links movement and breath to attain balance in the mind and body. From the Sanskrit “to place in a special way,” vinyasa aligns a deliberate sequence of poses with the breath to achieve a continuous flow. Inhalation is usually connected to upward, open movements, while exhalation is often tied to downward movements or twists.
This term can denote any of the following:
- The link between movement and breath
- A yoga sequence that exemplifies this movement/breath connection
- A class that focuses on this type of yoga
- The act of setting an intention and taking steps to reach it
Restorative yoga is a type of yoga known for its relaxing, calming and healing effect. It has its roots in the yoga of B.K.S. Iyengar, who developed a yoga that allows students to practice without any strain or pain. This was developed into a whole style of yoga which was considered ideal for those recovering from injuries or illnesses.
Restorative yoga became popular in the United States in the 1970s, mainly thanks to a yoga teacher, Judith Lasater, who was herself a student of Iyengar.
As well as being popular with students who are recovering from illness or injury, Restorative yoga is considered an ideal balance to hectic and stressful modern lifestyles.
Power yoga is an active and athletic, Western style of yoga, created simultaneously by American yoga teachers Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest in the 1980s. Power yoga classes move quickly through the poses and each pose is held for only three to five breaths.
Power yoga has become popular in the Western world for its fitness-centric approach to yoga.
Yoga nidra, a Sanskrit term meaning "yogic sleep" is a deep relaxation technique and a form of meditation.
Also called "psychic sleep," yoga nidra is a state between sleeping and waking. The body is completely relaxed and the practitioner turns the awareness inward by listening to a set of instructions; much like a guided meditation. Performing yoga nidra involves practicing pratyahara ("withdrawal of the senses"), which is the fifth limb of Ashtanga yoga.
Yoga nidra practice results in deep relaxation and expands the individual's self-awareness.