The Common Yoga Styles in Krishnamacharya Lineage

The Common Yoga Styles in Krishnamacharya Lineage

Posted on 2018-09-07

Yes, you might never heard of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, but he is the person who probably invented your yoga. Whether you love to practice the energetic sequences of Larry Schultz Rocket Yoga or the more therapeutic Vina yoga, they all stem from one person—Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is considered as the father of today’s modern and physical yoga that is practiced in the west. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya never taught yoga in the west, but most of his disciples moved to the west. And, they succeeded in spreading yoga practice—this is according to the yoga journal.

Today, it’s very hard to find a yoga tradition that doesn’t have Krishnamacharya’s influence. Well, you might have learned your asanas from a yoga teacher who’s outside the Krishnamacharya’s traditions. However, there is a possibility that your teacher might have learned from his lineages before inventing their yoga style. Krishnamacharya’s contributions towards yoga have been comprehensively integrated into today’s yoga. As a result, many yogis have forgotten their source—Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.

It is said that…

Krishnamacharya was the pioneer of perfecting yoga postures, sequencing the postures optimally, and giving healing value to every asana. One notable thing about him is that he combined pranayama and asana, and made these postures an essential part of meditation.
Even though Tirumalai Krishnamacharya died almost a decade ago, his legacy still exists. This article will guide you to the common yoga styles in Krishnamacharya lineage.

 “Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.  Exhale, and you approach God.  Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.”  Krishnamacharya 

Vini Yoga

Vini yoga is a type of yoga therapy, which is founded on science and regular developmental movement patterns. The postures of Vini yoga are altered to give way to repetitive movements. This happens as a yogi shift from one yoga posture to another or holds a particular posture for an extended period.

Every movement in Vini yoga is connected to your breath, and this creates an inner awareness. Also, it helps you to feel how your body responds to the movements from inside. Not many people are aware of their yoga postures as well as daily movement patterns. However, practicing Vini yoga can bring awareness to your breath and spine. This, in turn, can improve your core stability and functional movement patterns.

Vini yoga depends on the art of personal practice. It helps us to concentrate on what is happening in our bodies when practicing and identifying what the body requires. When you adjust to the changes in your body, then you will be able to deepen the self-understanding of your needs.
It is essential to understand that, practicing Vini yoga dramatically benefits your spirit, mind, and body. It can help you to deal with various issues like hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, scoliosis, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and asthma. Also, Vini yoga has several physical benefits like building strength, increasing balance, the range of motion, body awareness, and flexibility.

The four differentiators of Vini yoga
•       The link between breath and movement – this helps in making the movements in Vini yoga more mindful and powerful
•       Combining staying and movement in poses – movements help in making the body warmer, which in turn, prepares the body to extended holds of yoga poses.
•       The yoga poses usually fit the yogi – there is no correct form in Vini yoga. However, a yogi should always feel the benefits of practicing a particular posture, instead of adopting a specific shape.
•       In Vini yoga, sequencing helps to release and prepare your body for every posture. The yoga teacher organizes the yoga class in a manner that ensures your body is ready for every asana.


Krama Vinyasa

This is a yoga method taught by Krishnamacharya, the Indian yoga master. It is the art of science of bringing the basics of yoga together, in a manner that creates an effective and safe practice. This helps in cultivating harmony (sattva) in a yogi. Additionally, the krama vinyasa method follows the guidelines given by Patanjali’s yoga sutra.

Vini yoga focuses on how to apply yoga methods correctly, while in krama vinyasa it’s all about art. In krama vinyasa, the breath, body, and mind are united to achieve a cohesive state of attention and harmony. Krama vinyasa uses different variations for every posture. This helps to explore the potentials of the body, and accomplish the typical goals of yoga—, which is comfort and steadiness.

In krama vinyasa, every variation is connected to the next variation. Moreover, with transitional movements, the entire practice is synchronized by deep ujjayi breathing. Yogis can gradually access every posture through basic vinyasas. Then, they can gradually master them through practicing all the other variations.

This assists your body to attain freedom and health in a clam process, without strain or force. During this process, the mind and breath also experience a transformation. The attention and mental peace you achieve from practicing krama vinyasa can give you the ultimate spiritual freedom. This is the rewarding conclusion of a yogi’s dedicated practice.


Iyengar Yoga


This yoga style was named after its founder, Iyengar, Krishnamacharya’s disciple. Krishnamacharya, Iyengar and Patabbhi Jois developed Ashtanga Yoga and other styles, and they introduced modern yoga practice to the west.

Iyengar yoga mostly comes from the classical Hatha yoga tradition. However, it has evolved to become a clear and precise style that can be practiced easily by modern yoga practitioners. In Iyengar yoga, a lot of attention is directed towards its poses' technical alignment. This helps in keeping the mind inward, but still connected and focused on the reality.

What makes Iyengar yoga unique?

This method concentrates on three aspects: sequencing, timing, and alignment.
•       Sequencing this is the order of practicing postures in a manner that allows safe and organized progression of the yoga poses. Additionally, it is the balancing and opening of the emotional and physical body.
•       Timing unlike in krama vinyasa, the yoga poses in Iyengar yoga are held for extended periods of time. Once a yogi achieves stability in one pose, they can now safely intensify the posture’s depth. This assists in developing flexibility and strength, and, awareness and sensitivity in your mind and body.
•       Alignment this is holding the right pose, while still respecting the boundaries of your body. Students can use props in order to practice an asana to prevent them from being injured. Effective alignment helps yoga students to achieve a balance between their breath, body, and mind.


Practicing Iyengar regularly can assist you to:
•       Improve your psychological and physical health
•       Ease structural or postural problems
•       Boost your concentration and focus
•       Release emotional tension
•       Increase your energy
•       Bring clarity and intelligence to every part of your body and mind
•       Rejoin with your breath and body


Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga



According to Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a method of hatha yoga that harmonizes movement and breath. This happens in a sequence of yoga asanas or postures. Every asana has its unique designed number of movements in, and out of the asana. Practicing Ashtanga vinyasa yoga gives you flexibility, strength, stamina, and ultimately a focused and tranquil mind.

In Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, the asanas (poses) follow each other in order. And, in every pose in the order is held for five breaths. Then, the pose transitions through a particular sequence of movement (vinyasa) into the ensuing asana. This shows the importance of practicing the asanas correctly and avoiding rushing before being ready for the next asana in the sequence. Your yoga teacher will give you the asanas “one-by-one.”

Practicing these asanas in a sequence helps to open and reprogram energy channels and patterns in your body. Each asana prepares your body and mind for the next poses in the sequence. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga can benefit anyone who practices it regularly regardless of his or her age or physical fitness level. However, beginners in this style should not force or rush the practice. It is important to respect any injuries or physical weakness and continue working with your body and breath.

When practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa, you should concentrate on practicing yoga, and not the end result. Practicing yoga poses regularly and sensibly will ultimately lead to flexibility and strength.


Anusara Yoga

Anusara yoga was founded by John Friend, an American Yogi in 1997. It means “flowing with grace,” and it grew to become a respect yoga style, which had a massive following in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Anusara yoga classes are usually positive, lighthearted, and fun. These classes are not easy, however, because they involve lots of alignment poses and vinyasa flow. This yoga style encourages yoga students with different abilities to use props, and this makes the yoga classes accessible to many students. Anusara yoga has its own vocabulary, and it takes a while for many yoga students to get used to it. However, its teachers receive professional training to be able to facilitate this style.

Anusara is attractive to yogis who desire to work their spiritual as well as physical well-being. Even though Anusara yoga does not have the prestige and prominence it had, it has several benefits to its practitioners. Anusara yoga has over 250 asanas, but it does not have any definite postural routines. Most Anusara yoga teachers finish their yoga classes with relaxation or meditation. During a yoga session, teachers usually instruct their students on how to use the principles of alignment properly. Then, they allow every student to develop their own alignment.

When practicing Anusara yoga, you are supposed to practice it with intelligent and intention awareness of your mind and body. This helps in laying down the groundwork for you to improve on the poses. Practicing Anusara regularly helps in making your body more flexible, stronger, and levels the imbalances in your body. In addition, it heals any injuries in your body.


Anusara makes your mind and heart softer and more resilient, joyous and peaceful, balanced and happy.

Power Yoga

This a term uses used to define a fitness-based and vigorous vinyasa yoga-approach method. Beryl Bender Birch developed power yoga. However, today it is used as a term to describe different vigorous vinyasa styles.


While many yogis consider this style as “gym yoga,” power yoga was initially modeled on Ashtanga yoga. Since power yoga came from Ashtanga, they share many benefits and qualities. This included internal heat, stress reduction, increased strength, flexibility, and stamina.

During power yoga sessions…

The yoga teachers design their sequences. The students, on the other hand, harmonize their movement with their breath. As a result, every power yoga class is usually different. Many gyms in the US have adopted yoga as a method to work out because of the flexibility and strength that came with power yoga.

Power yoga classes usually differ from one yoga teacher to another. But, you should always anticipate finding great flowing yoga, accompanied by minimal meditation and chanting. Many health clubs and gyms have adopted power yoga as a way to inform their clients that this yoga style is indeed a form of exercise. Therefore, the next time you are signing up for power yoga, get ready to sweat.


Jivamukti Yoga



David Life and Sharon Gannon founded Jivamukti. This yoga style is considered to be a path to illumination by having compassion for every living being. Jivamukti style is based on the initial meaning of asana—“seat connection,”—¬connection to the earth. Here, the earth signifies life.

Jivamukti yoga emphasizes that a person’s relationship to another should benefit both of them mutually. In addition, it should emanate from a steady and consistent place of happiness and joy. This idea is very radical, and when practiced, it can shred our present-day culture. This culture states that the earth and the animals living on it exist in order to benefit us, and we should exploit them for our own benefits and egocentric purposes.

Therefore, practicing asanas turns out to be more than sheer physical exercises that keep our bodies fit, or to boost our flexibility and strength. Rather, practicing asanas turns out to as a way to boost our relationships with others, and this leads to enlightenment, the realization of a sense of being, and helps you to discover lasting happiness.

Jivamukti yoga classes are usually fun and lighthearted, and every class has its theme. Jivamukti incorporates meditation, chanting, pranayama, music, and philosophy into an energetic flowing vinyasa or asana practice. This, in turn, makes it be an intellectually and physically stimulating method. That is the reason why this style is appealing to yogis who are looking for more than just a workout session.


Rocket Yoga 



This is a variation of Ashtanga yoga, which was developed by Larry Schultz. Larry studied Ashtanga yoga for nine years in Mysore under the guidance of K. Pattabhi Jois. Larry came up with this yoga style in an attempt to make western yoga practitioner access ashtanga yoga.

Rocket yoga, as its name suggests, is fast-paced, and also, it has an energetic or dynamic flow. It has a similar structure, just like Ashtanga yoga, as it consists of seated poses, standing poses, bends, twists, and Surya Namaskar. Students of rocket yoga can modify and also make their own interpretation of traditional asanas. If the students get stuck on one yoga pose, they can opt to skip the pose, or even find a better way to practice it, rather than sticking to one pattern.


Therefore, this yoga style has become widely accessible, and it even allows yoga students with physical challenges to give it a try. Rocket yoga has a smooth movement and breathing process. Even though it might look like it’s an entirely physical process, rocket yoga also helps in clearing the mind.
Rocket yoga has broken the hierarchy concept, and this has indeed made it stand out from all other styles of yoga. In rocket yoga, a yogi can decide to choose the asanas he or she wants and then practice the asana without observing any linear format. That is the reason why rocket yoga has several celebrity followers like Sting, Willem Dafoe, Christy, and Madonna.


Rocket yoga has three categories. These include:

•       Rocket 1 this category is similar to the main ashtanga yoga series that focus on forward bends, hip openers, as well as core strength. Besides, it included the special movements of arm balancing and inversions.
•       Rocket 2 this is a variation of the second sequences of Ashtanga yoga. Rocket 2 comprises of backbend procedures as well as spinal twists of seated yoga poses. These poses are of the intermediate series of Ashtanga yoga, and they complement Rocket 1.
•       Rocket 3 this is the combination of rocket 1 and rocket 2 poses. It comprises of all the folds, balances, and twists that assist you in developing flexibility and strength.

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