An Integrative Approach to Yoga
Yoga has many facets or traditional practices such as postural routines, breathing techniques, relaxation and meditation, which have been handed down over time through various schools and teachers. Yoga Synthesis integrates elements from a number of traditions in a creative and diverse approach to Hatha Yoga. A variety of yoga techniques, including dynamic movement synchronized with breath, static holding of postures emphasizing proper engagement and alignment, as well as passive releasing and relaxing supported poses are combined for a creative, well-rounded yoga experience. We aim to acknowledge and apply the different facets of the jewel of yoga for the full benefit of the practitioner.
Yoga Synthesis classes apply fundamental principles of body mechanics, good alignment, intelligent postural sequencing, breathing techniques, internal awareness and focused intention. The main yoga schools we draw inspiration from are listed below, as a way of giving a little background information for those who are interested.
Classical Hatha Yoga
Shivananda Yoga, Integral Yoga and the Himalayan Institute are examples of Hatha Yoga schools which are more traditional, following a comprehensive framework for the practice and tending to be softer with less dynamic movement than other styles.
Krishnamacharya, and his son TKV Desikachar, developed a breath-centered style called Viniyoga or Vinyasa Krama. This approach uses breath and movement synchronization in flowing sequences, either flowing back and forth between poses or linking longer series of poses that facilitate conditioning and deepening one's flexibility and deep mindful breathing.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Ashtanga is a specific vinyasa practice form taught by K. Pattabhi Jois (based on teachings of Krishnamacharya). It is a strenuous practice with a number of postural sequences that follow a set formulation. Ashtanga is known for being a dynamic and athletic practice which takes a practitioner to some of the deepest Hatha Yoga Practices.
From the teachings of BKS Iyengar, Iyengar yoga is informed by precision and alignment using props to make difficult poses more accessible and train correct actions. Iyengar is also famous for his therapeutic applications of yoga. Restorative Yoga is a form, also developed in Iyengar using supported restful postures to allow practitioners to have a relaxing experience while doing subtle forms of classical poses. Iyengar also developed “wall rope” yoga applications used around the world.
Anusara yoga is an alignment-based school developed by John Friend, derived from Iyengar Yoga that integrates the idea of universal alignment principles with Kashmiri Tantric philosophy.
A dynamic energy-based form of Yoga taught by Yogi Bhajan, known for its fast movement, breath forms and chanting. Kundalini Yoga cultivates awareness of energy centers and channels throughout the body by using specific postures, breathwork, mudras and mantras. Yogi Bhajan formulated hundreds of breath and movement sets or “Kriyas”, designing each one with specific desired effects in mind. The intention of the fast paced movement typically associated with Kundalini, is to move energy throughout the body in a mindful, yet relaxed way. This practice form is intended to stimulate and awaken inner energy and vitality.
Yin is a modern form of Hatha yoga, which developed from and was influenced by Chinese Taoist practices. Paulie Zink was the first American Yin yoga teacher who had studied with a Taoist master. The spread of Yin Yoga across the west is attributed to Paul Grilley, Bernie Clark, Sarah Powers and others. Yin yoga emphasizes long held passive postures that help stretch deep connective tissues of the body and allow the body’s natural energy pathways to open. In a Yin yoga practice, you can explore longer holds, get deep myo-fascial release and experience a calm meditative atmosphere.
At Yoga Synthesis, we honor and respect the different styles and methods of Yoga, acknowledging that each has something important to offer. We see them as different aspects of a whole yoga experience!