A look at different types of yoga

As people across the world gear up to mark International Day of Yoga, we take you with us as we experience four very different classes in Bengaluru

AntiGravity yoga

The name’s a bait, isn’t it? You are not alone if it evokes visuals of a group meditating cross-legged slowly rising in the air, suddenly immune to the force that holds together planets, stars and galaxies. Upon googling, I found out that it is a misnomer; that it has people hanging upside down on a hammock; that, for the purpose of this article, I would rather do face yoga than get into Spiderman-esque poses.

“Trust me, AntiGravity yoga is much simpler than conventional yoga,” states Naveen Sharma, an instructor and co-owner of Ashmayu Yoga. (I, however, do not trust him entirely. Mere words of reassurance, surely?)

AntiGravity yoga, also known as aerial yoga or suspension yoga (a more apt name), is among the several modern twists applied to the ancient practice. Christopher Hammock, a former aerial acrobat and a gymnast, devised it in 2007.

“Get ready for the ride,” says Naveen as he secures me to a hammock made of a stretchy but tear-resistant fabric (I am told it can withstand 453.5 kilograms).

What follows is a series of myth-busting. I find out that AntiGravity yoga: a) Has a lot to do with gravity (for it is the reason the spine straightens and blood-flow to the brain improves when you are hanging upside down); b) Is astonishingly simple (with a good instructor, of course); c) Involves a pose named ‘Spiderman’, which I could pull off (which means most of you could too).

Ashmayu Yoga, No 20/1, 3rd Floor, 24th Main, off 15th Cross, 6th Phase, JP Nagar. Call 9686002222

Praveen Sudevan

Wheel yoga

A look at different types of yoga

Wheel yoga? My first thought was asanas on a unicycle. Not even close as I find out when I arrive at the Akshar Yoga headquarters for the session.

Unfortunately, as I find out the hard way, years of no exercise means I am not even limber, forget fit. I can only muster sheepish chuckles as Grandmaster Akshar instructs and demonstrates holding the wheel in front of us (a circular object of a 12-inch diameter) and stretching. The movements (they are not called asanas in Akshar Yoga Wheel) get increasingly difficult…well, in my eyes at least.

I attempt to balance myself on the wheel and stretch out my arms in the Flying Bird pose, then stretch backwards with my back resting on the wheel (I get some help for this). Holding the wheel and bending down seems relatively easy, until Akshar says, “okay, now try touching your face to the wheel”. I can’t do it! But, I know the last few movements definitely will not be possible as I watch Akshar effortlessly balance his entire body on the wheel.

After we finish the short session, Akshar says the Askhar Yoga Wheel course, which was developed and launched by Akshar Yoga in 2016, “allows you to build your strength as well as test it.” He adds that it is for helpful for athletes and is therapeutic.

Akshar Yoga headquarters, No 3, 1st Floor, 13th Cross, Sadashivanagar. Call 40952324.

Aparna Narrain

Ashtanga yoga

A look at different types of yoga

The asanas for a beginner’s Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga class at the Arts Village are deceptively simple. While you inhale and exhale, instructor Prasad Bhatdundi asks you to stretch and bend. However, the exercises require you to stretch beyond your limits, and thus, sets the tone for Ashtanga yoga, a rigorous and disciplined form of yoga.

As I enter the class, I observe it is not a group class. Each individual is performing his/her respective asanas while Prasad goes to each of them and softly instructs them. “I conduct group classes once every week,” says Prasad, adding: “Ashtanga is practised in two ways: the Mysore style, in which each student has their own individual practice as given by the teacher and a led class, in which the teacher leads the entire class together through the primary series.”

Ashtanga yoga, says Prasad, is based on the following principles: “The main characteristic of Ashtanga is the tristhana, that is three places of attention, method of practice, these involve pranayama, asana and drishti. It is the foundation of the practice to link movement with breath and each asana stresses on the gaze being directed to specific areas. It is a life changing practice that gives you the foundation of being able to practice while listening to your own body.”

The Arts Village, No 57, 58, 60, opposite Bowring Institute, St Marks Road, Ashok Nagar. Call 9972444775.

Sravasti Datta

Vasishta Yoga

A look at different types of yoga

Shubha a former IT professional, joined therapeutic yoga or Vashishta Yoga, a customised form practised and taught by qualified yoga practitioner Geeta Gopalakrishna. As I observe Geeta teaching relaxation techniques, I realise that these are guided mental relaxation techniques to beat stress, followed by specific asanas to stimulate certain areas of the body to benefit their working in a normal way.

“They are free flowing, without props,” she says. Explaining the concept of Vasishta Yoga, Geeta says, it is based on a blend of principles from the East and the West.

Vasishta yoga was created by Swami Vivekananda. “He took inputs from traditional scriptures from Sage Vasishta and Lord Krishna’s teachings and combined them with Western scientific principles.

“The yoga was created to address specific health issues,” explains Geeta, adding, “what applies to one, cannot work for the other, as the combination of relaxation and asana addresses specific stress and illness.”

The one-and-a-half-hour session starts with pranayama to control the breathing, followed by asanas, gradually slipping into cyclic meditation for relaxationt.

“Our de-stressing path also brings in auto suggestions that the mind understands and directs them to reach specific parts of the body. Samatvam Yoga Uchchyate say the scriptures. Every ailment has a deeper connect with stress and yoga brings in the equanimity,” explains Geeta.

Vasishta Yoga, 25A, 6th Main, 11th Cross, JP Nagar 3rd Phase. Call 9480606702

Ranjani Govind

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:12:46 AM |

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