Popular Styles of Hathu Yoga Explained

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a method of yoga that is taught in India by Sri K Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga involves the synchronization of breathing with a progressive series of postures.

This is a process that produces a kind of intense internal heat as well as a drenching, purifying sweat that is supposed to detoxify the muscles and organs of the body. The result is a light and strong body, improved circulation, and a calm mind.

Ashtanga Yoga Background

Ashtanga Yoga is a method of yoga that was recorded by Vamana Rishi in an ancient manuscript called the Yoga Korunta. This article was said to contain lists of a variety of groupings of asanas and highly original teachings on the subjects of vinyasa, bandhas, drishti, mudras and philosophy.

The text of this article was handed down to Sri T. Krishnamacharya by his teacher Rama Mohan Brahmachari in the early 1900’s. It later came into the possession of Pattabhi Jois when he studied with Krishnamacharya beginning in 1927. Jois has been teaching this type of
yoga since 1948 from his yoga shala.

The literal meaning of Ashtanga Yoga is “eight-limbed” yoga as put forth by sage Patanjali. According to him, the path of internal cleansing in order to reveal the universal self is based on the following eight spiritual practices:

* Yama – which are moral codes

* Niyama – which is based on study and self-purification

* Asana or posture

* Pranayama – which is controlled breathing

* Pratyahara – which is sense control

* Dharana – which is concentration

* Dhyana – which is meditation and

* Samadhi – which is contemplation


Sivananda Yoga

Sivananda Yoga, which was named after the teaching of Swami Sivananda, is a form of hatha yoga. The training focuses on preserving the wellness and health of the practitioner.

People who teach this style of yoga must all be graduates of the training course in Sivananda Yoga.
The students who take this Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course vary widely in age and their degrees of ability.

Unlike Ashtanga Vinyasa, which is yoga’s more athletic program, Sivananda training centers around frequent relaxation as well as emphasizing full, yogic breathing.


The Sivananda training method tries to retain the body’s vitality, retard the decaying process and
lessen the chance of getting a disease by naturally and simply cultivating the body. The philosophies of Sivananda training are summarized in five basic principles:

* Proper breathing or Pranayama

* Exercise or Asanas

* Relaxation of Savasana

* Diet: A vegetarian diet is recommended. The yogic diet is limited to sattvic foods and you may not have any rajasic or tasmasic foods.

* Positive thinking and meditation or the practice of Vedanta and Dhyana

A training session typically begins with each practitioner resting in Savasana. Everyone begins with
Anuloma Viloma and Kapalabhati and precedes with rounds of Surya namaskara.

This is all before starting with the standard program that takes into consideration the twelve basic asanas. The average session runs for about 90 minutes.

The traditional program is usually left up to the flexibility of the instructor. This allows for some
variation which is important so as not to allow sessions to become boring for the participants.

Young woman in a yoga pose by the water