Saturday, 7 February 2015

3.5 Week Update: My #tieyoga Practice

In my last blog post I touched on the fact that my online yoga practice, while regular, was feeling unfocused. There are many different styles of yoga, many different postures, variations of the same posture between styles, and many different, often personal, approaches to teaching yoga. All of these things impact my own practice significantly. Personally, I would like to see my practice become less random in terms of my choice of "class"; I'd like my choice of yoga practice to move to a more intentional and thoughtful place. It was as I reflected on all of this that I realized I was lacking in adequate "prior knowledge"! My yoga experience, previously, has been limited to participation in Bikram Yoga, which is a fairly rigid sort of practice (details are below).  As a learner approaching her learning subject independently, I recognize that there are certain factors that will contribute to my success (or lack thereof), consistent with the Learner Control Principle discussed in Chapter 21 of Richard Mayer's (editor) book, The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning (2014).
Katharina Scheiter, author of the chapter, explains that learner control as a learning approach is more likely to be successful if "learners possess high levels of prior knowledge." (Scheiter, 2014, p. 487)

So, in the spirit of Learner Control Principle, I thought it would be a good idea to research and learn a little more about the different yoga styles.  With some help from Becky Ward's article called, "
14 Styles of yoga Explained Simply", I'm building my knowledge base to allow me to make better decisions and choices as a learner, thereby maximizing my success (ideally)! Yay me! What I've learned about different yoga styles follows here:

Ashtanga & Power Yoga—These are both high intensity yogas that incorporates cardio by flowing from one posture to the next. Ashtanga is more traditional and includes the same sequence of poses every class or session. Power Yoga, in contrast, varies the postures from class to class and does not include the more spiritual aspects of traditional yoga. These are similar to Flow, or Vinyasa Yoga, mentioned below.
Anusara—Similar to Iyengar but a lighter approach that is more personalized, not quite so serious. Students of Anusara yoga are encouraged to move through the poses in a more personal, expressive way. 

"Hot Yoga - Wikipedia Profile Picture"
by HealthZone - The Star. Licensed under
FAL via Wikimedia Commons - 
Bikram—This is the type of yoga that I have experience with already. It takes place in a hot room, where the temperature is maintained at somewhere around 100-105 degrees and humidity is just a way of life. Imagine doing yoga in a sauna for 90 minutes. There are 26 postures and each one is done twice; it’s the same sequence of postures and the instructor is required to follow the same guiding dialogue for each and every 90 minute class. Thus far, it’s still my favourite yoga option. I recognize aspects of Hatha and Yin yogas in the Bikram method, and it helps, somewhat, to explain my attraction to the Yin style.

Hatha—Hatha yoga, characterized by one pose followed by the next at a relaxed pace, is a basic style of yoga and great introduction to the practice. Hatha emphasizes mindfulness in its approach.

Iyengar—This is a traditional yoga that often utilizes props and instructors/yogis specializing in this style take bio-mechanics into strong consideration in guiding a student’s practice. There are brief pauses between postures. This type of yoga is recommended when recovering from an injury.
Jivamukti—This style of yoga includes lots of chanting in Sanskrit and incorporates a strong foundation based in very traditional and spiritual beliefs. 
Kripalu— The theme of Kripalu is three-fold based in developing awareness, acceptance and growth from your body’s own journey. It emphasizes reflection and awareness in your practice moving towards the holding of postures for extended periods of time. Meditation is also a feature of this style of yoga. 

Kundalini—This style of yoga keeps the body moving continuously with demanding poses. Kundalini is a term that translates to “serpent” and it’s meant to release this serpent-type of energy from your body. Think of those places in your back where you hold tension and stress; that would be the serpent energy. Kundalini yoga’s goal is to tap into that and get it moving so it can be released.
Kundalini Yoga Principle
Image from
Prenatal—Many women choose to practice yoga when they are pregnant; it’s a calm, gentle activity that can easily be adapted depending on the needs of the mom-to-be. This style of yoga can be practiced from the first days of pregnancy, right through postpartum/recovery stage. I used to work in a midwifery practice and the midwife often commented that women who were active in a strong yoga practice generally had an easier time moving through the stages of childbirth and recovery.

Restorative—Restorative yoga does just that—it restores body, mind and spirit. The blogpost where I found a lot of information on yoga styles described this yoga as “group nap time for grownups” (! I like the sounds of that! It sounds kind of like Yin Yoga on steroids; you hold just 4-5 different poses for up to 20 minutes each. Restorative Yoga utilizes props and other modifications as needed.

Sivananda--The description of this style of yoga makes me believe it might be one of the more holistic approaches, incorporating "proper breathing, relaxation, diet, exercise, and positive thinking" ( with the goal of achieving a lifestyle that supports healthy living. It's a relaxed practice that follows the same 12 postures (asanas) each session.

Viniyoga--Similar to Anusara Yoga, Viniyoga is somewhat personalized, but I think the similarity ends there. Educators should be excited by this yoga style which emphasizes differentiation and adaptation based on the individuals needs and strenths. At the basis of this yoga style is a focus on contracting each muscle group prior to beginning the stretching of the posture. In other words, Viniyoga values a good warm up.

   Vinyasa-- Similar to Power Yoga, Vinyasa is derived from Ashtanga yoga and developed 
   out of the aerobics era of the 80's.  This yoga is sometimes called "Flow" and requires        more of a degree of stamina and fitness than something like Hatha yoga would.  It gets      your heart rate up and involves continuous flow, from one posture to the next.

   Yin Yoga—This yoga’s name has its origin in one side of the yin-yang concept and              focuses on long, deep stretches. The postures are held for approximately 5 minutes and      this style of practice is known to alleviate pain and stress. There is significant             emphasis on breath and breathing.

In moving forward, I'm going to consider what it was, specifically, that I liked or didn't like about an online yoga session. While I think it's important to try out different styles, I also think it's important to focus on the ones that are the best fit for me.  I admit to starting a video session and stopping it in the first five minutes more than once (okay, maybe more than 7 times). I recognize that I was jumping in to some videos without an understanding of what they were offering me.  As a #tieyoga student, it's important to know my own preferences and be able to make decisions based on the information available to me in the synopsis for each video. I believe I'll be able to make more informed choices after learning more about the various yoga styles. #tieyoga is definitely a work in progress!

Scheiter, Katharina.  (2014). Learner control principle in multimedia learning. In Richard E. Mayer (Ed.),  The cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp.487-512). Cambridge University Press. 

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