Since 2002, Rodney Yee (the backbend-boy above) has been leading me toward understanding yoga. He is a popular TV personality known for his excellent yogic health and motivational prowess and I have been copying his "way" of doing yoga on and off over the course of the last 10 years. I have not questioned any pose or considered any other implications that may or may not have been associated with his "way".
This year, though, I began studying to become a certified yoga teacher. What I found in my new experiences with my new yoga master is that the "way" of doing yoga has changed from what I thought was THE way. As a group, we move from asana (pose) to asana, pausing frequently to align our bodies and engage our muscles. We spend a lot of time in each pose.
Before, in my Rodney days, I had moved quickly, from asana to asana, using the breath as a measure of how long to take between poses and sometimes how long to hold a pose. This equates to a fast-flowing dance that gives me little time to think about how squared-up my hips are or if kidney loop is in the correct position.
So, I went to the internet to research why some yoga sequences are so danged fast and why some are so darned slow.
Yoga Journal names this rapidly-paced style of yoga as Ashtanga Vinyasa. Right away, it was apparent that it came down to "style". Rodney Yee's "way" wasn't just his...it belonged to a school of yoga which he practices. It is meant to be practiced after a yogi understands how each pose is correctly formed. Once a person understand the proper form, he or she can move quickly and really work up a lot of body energy.
The slower type of yoga, that I have recently been exposed to, is called Hatha, according to the Sanatan Organization, and it is a style of yoga that focuses on alignment and desensitization of the senses while holding a pose.
To me, that focus on alignment and pulling away from the discomforts of a pose gave me the reward of a glowing vibration deep in the core of my self that feels like a store of energy. This store seems to last throughout the day, which I need as a busy mother of three. I helps me keep going with power.
Thanks, Rodney, for the ten-year introduction to Ashtanga Vinyasa. I'll be focusing now on a more slow and inwardly-focused "way" of yoga. Maybe, someday, when I'm feeling really firm in my knowledge of the asana's, I'll revisit your fast yoga.