How to know what Yoga Style suits you the best?

How to choose YTTC Yoga style?

We offer Yoga Teacher Training Courses in 3 different styles. Often students ask me what is the difference? Which one is the best among all the three? What is the best one suitable for me? How to choose YTTC Yoga style?

Though all three are the best ones (that is why we offer Yoga Teacher Training Courses in these styles), it is difficult to say which one is suitable for whom. The below definitions along with pros and cons should help you in understanding the styles before choosing the teacher training courses.

P.S. These are traditional Yoga practice styles that evolved over centuries and this is just an idea for you to understand. You will understand the styles better the more you practice.

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training

Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training focuses on Yoga Chikitsa – The primary series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in practice. 

Read: What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga? 

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Primary Series?

It is a pre-defined set of asanas starting from Surya Namaskara to Shavasana. This is the first series in the set of six series of asanas. Though it is called primary series, it is intensive and definitely challenging. 

Taken from the traditional text ‘Yoga Kuranta’ taught by Sri T Krishnamacharya and later taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, this is one of the traditional methods of practising asanas that transform the lifestyle. 

The asanas in the series are pre-defined and what comes after the previous one can’t be changed by the individual teacher, if I have to superficially explain. Therefore, this practice method is universally the same in any Yoga Shala everywhere in the world. 

Pros:

  1. The asanas in the series are repeated in the same method every day. The repetition of the same asanas helps in building strength and flexibility. 
  2. Due to the repetition of asanas, you are able to measure your progress in every asana. 
  3. As it is a pre-defined practice, you do not have to think about what to practice today. You will have to repeat the same series every single day. 
  4. Regular practice can transform you from the normal practice of asanas into a Yoga Sadhana. 

Cons: 

  1. The series is definitely challenging if you are new to the asana practice journey. 
  2. It could be boring for you (if you are distracted, by nature) to repeat the same asanas every day if you can not find newness in the regular practice of asanas. 
  3. Yoga Chikitsa significantly focuses on hip opening and forward fold asanas. If you want to explore other aspects such as backbends or a variety of arm balances you will not see many options in the first series. 

Traditional Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training

The modern Vinyasa Yoga method was rejuvenated by Sri T Krishnamacharya in the 21st century. Vinyasa Yoga is influenced by the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice method.

What is Traditinal Vinyasa Yoga?

Instead of following the same series every day, you are able to customize your own asana practise sequences. You will need to know how to create sequences in the traditional way. Once you know the methods of sequencing, you are able to customize the practices based on your needs as well as the students’ needs. 

This is not just a flow practice. There is a rhythmic movement of the body from one asana to another. In the whole process of moving rhythmically, you will be able to find the stillness of the mind. In this method, the moving body helps you in making the mind still. 

Pros: 

  1. As you are able to explore a variety of asanas, you will be able to tap the potentialities of the physical body as well as the mind. 
  2. As a Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, you will be able to adapt your classes depending on the students’ needs. 
  3. Good for those who have distracted minds (Rajas), finding it difficult to focus on a specific object for more than a few seconds. 
  4. It offers more freedom for you as a yoga teacher to bring your creativity in creating different types of yoga classes. 

Cons: 

  1. As there is a variety of asanas practised, there is a chance that some asanas practised today may not be in your practice chart for another week or two weeks. In those particular asanas, the progress will be slower. 
  2. The variety of asanas can lead to distraction of the mind if not built the proper mindset over the period of time. 
  3. It is challenging (though not impossible) to build the sattva guna without a proper mindset through the Vinyasa Yoga method of asana practice. 

Traditional Hatha Yoga Teacher Training

The traditional Hatha Yoga Teacher Training focuses on the wisdom of Yoga as it is explained in Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita etc. 

What is Traditional Hatha Yoga?

Hatha Yoga is a method of balancing the ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ energies. It is a metaphorical explanation of two energies. It is the duality of hot-cold, emotions-intellect, shiva-shakti energies. Asana practice along with the Kriyas and right food system is the first step in this technique. 

The traditional method of Hatha Yoga expects you to be still physically in the asanas in order to find the stillness of the mind. Therefore, you will not be moving from one asana to another, as you would do in Vinyasa Yoga. Physically stillness leading to mental stillness is the fundamental idea behind this method. 

Pros: 

  1. Though the asanas could be challenging, as you stay longer in each asana, it makes the practice more accessible physically. 
  2. It is comparatively easier for those who do not have a lot of asanas practise background.
  3. There is no decoration around the practice. It is one asana practice at a time. It allows you to understand every asana in its own form. 
  4. Though there is a fundamental framework to the practice, there is a lot of options to create your own sequences. 
  5. You will be able to create your own sequences based on the traditional sequencing methods of Hatha Yoga. 

Cons: 

  1. As you will be staying longer, you may find it harder to focus if you are distracted by nature. 
  2.  You will need to cultivate more ‘sattva’ in order to enhance your practice of Hatha Yoga. 
  3. You may not find it challenging physically if you are inclined to dynamic movements of the body (again, this is a psychological aspect, not physical). 

Here are some important points that you should know:

Every Yoga Teacher Training focuses on Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali (do not confuse with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga) and there are sessions on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in each training. 

Every Yoga Teacher Training focuses on traditional Pranayamas as they do not change in each style. They are the same practice techniques in every teacher training. 

Likewise, the practices such as Kriyas, Bandhas, Chakras etc are part of every yoga teacher training as they do not alter the practice, but make the practice styles deeper.

Read: Your ultimate guide on 12 modern Yoga styles

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