To begin with a total oversimplification, here is a sample of some of the styles of yoga we enjoy today:
Anusara, heart-based/alignment-focused yoga (John Friend)
Ashtanga, power yoga (K. Pattabhi Jois)
Bikram, hot yoga (Bikram Choudhury)
Iyengar, detail/alignment-based (B.K.S. Iyengar)
Kundalini, releases Kundalini energy (Yogi Bhajan)
Viniyoga (Vinyasa), connecting breath with movement (Sri T. Krishnamacharya–teacher of Iyengar & Jois, and father of T.K.V. Desikachar)
Got it? (There are many other styles, including Jivamukti that seems to be a blend of many–as are many others, but you get the point) There’s something for everyone.
As many styles of yoga there are, there are as may ways to practice. Some yogi(ni)s are purest, when they find a style they love, that’s it. Others go through phases where different styles speak to them at different times in their lives. Others studio and style-hop, finding that the ever-present lightbulb illuminates with certain teachers and not necessarily a specific style. Perhaps your practice style is not reflected in these reduced descriptions; I’d love to hear what makes your yoga tick.
The lightbulb started flickering for me today when I realized what to call my form of yoga: CAYA Yoga™ ~ Come As You Are Yoga™. Characterized by its intention to serve the individual as seen as part of the whole, CAYA Yoga™ touches something different in each person while honoring that sacred space that binds us all. Then I realized that’s what Yoga, in general, is all about! It’s ALL CAYA Yoga™! Whew! What a relief!
CAYA Yoga™ does not have a studio or structure out which it is disseminated, rather it is the yoga you take with you when you step onto your mat to practice whatever style calls you! Perhaps the distinction is that a sense of humor is required if you’re going to call your style CAYA Yoga™.
Approach your practice with a light heart and an inner smile. That is my one proprietary rule. Otherwise, just Come As You Are!
ps. Adding the ™ was my way of having fun with the, sometimes, proprietary nature/language of yoga today. None of these thoughts are original, I just express them in my words. Yoga belongs to the world, I’m just happy to be part of the world that enjoys yoga!