Yoga Changing Forms

Claudette Rodriquez (reporter of record) attempting downward dog position.

Eric Huettl

Claudette Rodriquez (reporter of record) attempting downward dog position.

Claudette Rodriguez, Reporter

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Yoga is often associated with beautiful hipsters carrying colorful yoga mats and adorning stylish apparel.  Despite these characteristics, there is a deeper side to yoga that helps with personal growth and physical transformation.

Some styles of yoga have deviated from what would be considered the traditional form.

For example,  The Arizona Republic published an article on the practice of yoga using goats.

If you care to indulge, McFate Brewing Company in Scottsdale, Arizona sells one-hour yoga sessions where participants receive a pint of beer after their practice.

Both examples demonstrate a dramatic shift from traditional yoga practice.

Hatha Yoga, one of the original forms, has been around for centuries and emphasizes body posture and breathing, which are also known as asana and pranayama.

Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga and was founded by B.K.S. Iyengar in the 1970s.

This style of yoga concentrates on accuracy of the asana while integrating pranayama.  This integration contributes to the development of the mind and to increasing physical strength and expanding flexibility.

“Iyengar Yoga is founded on something substantial. Mr. Iyengar was a yogi and he was the person who decided that yoga was for all,” said Carlyn Sikes, a yoga instructor and practitioner of Iyengar Yoga.

Yoga for all is an appealing concept, especially for those who might be intimidated by the idea of stepping into a yoga studio.  A article introduced the notion that vague instructions and elitist attitudes might be reason enough for some to avoid yoga or people might be fearful of entering a yoga class as a novice.

“Yoga is a practice. It is a practice for transformation. So you come as you are and that is being lost. It’s becoming a very self-involved type of thing,” Sikes said.

Self-involvement can hinder the mental health benefits—noted on The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website and indicates that research suggests practicing yoga may improve quality of life by reducing stress, improving anxiety, and decreasing depression.

While practicing yoga with goats and drinking alcohol after a yoga session have not yet been proven to improve mental and physical health, there are some who believe that improving health through yoga is an individualized definition—which may explain the goats and the beer.

“People want different things (from their practice),” said Jean Saad, a yoga instructor and practitioner of Iyengar Yoga. Some people want a workout.  It depends on what you are looking to gain from it.  Are you looking for flexibility?  Are you looking for all over balance?  Life is more than just physical.  Can we take the impact of the mental challenges of life and use yoga to help us through it?”

In the end, “the mental challenges of life”—and whether or not one can utilize yoga to help navigate through— may be the most critical goal.

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