Whenever one is saying one is practising Yoga, that is the first question which one would face.
Today I would like to try and explain why this question is a bit wrong.
I still remember the first time I walked on the ghats in the beautiful city of Benares (Varanasi). It was a sunny day, and I just strolled on the ghats, when suddenly I saw a man, doing some exercise. I knew it was Yoga by that time, but never experienced it before. The first thing that came to my mind was, this man never suffers from back aches! It looked so naturally, fascinating and attrqactive type of exercise. Then I said I must try it, so I just copied that man (now I know he practised Surya Namaskar).
With time, I eveolved in Yoga and started practising it daily, until three years back, I underwent my Teacher Training course with my Yoga teacher, Bhooma Chaitaniya ji. Since then, I am trying my best to practise daily, and evolve in the path of yoga and meditation.
Back to the question I posted before, Whenever I am asked what type of Yoga do I practise, I always answer Hatha Yoga of course 😉
When I am further asked, but which one? Iyengar Yoga? Ashtanga Yoga? I reply I studied under my teacher, who himslef studied in Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam Kerala, So if you wish to categorize it, it would be Sivananda Yoga.
The wrong idea behind this question comes from ignorance about Yoga. Yoga came from Lord Shiva of course (as Yogeshwara), the Yoga we know now came from the ancient book Hatha Yoga Pradipika, all so-called ‘types’ of Yoga came from this book, all postures (Asanas) are the same, Pranayama techniques are the same, the only thing which defers is the teacher who teaches you. For example, If one studied under Iyengar method, one would say I practise Iyengar Yoga.
A bit on the difference between the methods:
Iyengar: A very precise asanas and pranayama, good for ailments and to strengthen the body. Good for Vata and Kapha types.
Ashtanga: very active Yoga, jumps and physicality, divided into series from beginner to advance. Will be good for Kapha types.
Sivananda: very slow and meditative Yoga, there are a few postures Guruji emphasized upon. Good for all types.
Bikram: the Hot Yoga, practising in a room which is pre-heated, so one can perspire, and take toxins out of the body. NOT for Pitta types. Kapha will be good.
There are more so-called Yogas, but these are the main stream. Again, don’t forget Yoga means union, and union cannot be present when there is division into types.
So next time when you are asked: “which type of Yoga do you practise?” what would you say?