First recorded in ancient Indian manuscripts Ashtanga yoga is one of the oldest forms of yoga. It was in 1948 when Ashtanga yoga was re-introduced by K. Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga (meaning eight-limbed yoga) is influenced by Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, a yogic guideline for a meaningful life. It is a fast paced yoga and physically very demanding. The goal of this type of yoga is to link the breath and the movement by practicing dristi (the gaze) and the bandhas (internal body locks), which assist in holding the challenging poses of the sequence.
Hatha Yoga was Introduced in 15th-century India by a Hindu sage named Yogi Swatmarama. Hatha poses include the Cobra, Eagle, and Downward Facing Dog, examples of most commonly known today. This is a slow paced and gentle yoga. The purpose of this type of yoga is to bring together body and mind through the Breath by practicing a series of asanas (poses). Iyengar Yoga Iyengar yoga was created by one the world's greatest living yoga teachers B.K.S Iyengar. It dates back to 1975 when it first emerged in India. Iyengar Yoga is the most widely practiced form of Hatha yoga in the West. The goal is the precise focus on structural alignment ( In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits and avoid injury).
Yogi Bhajan is the modern visionary who brought this ancient form of yoga to the West in 1969. He also founded 3HO (the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) to introduce Kundalini to a broader population. This mysterious form of yoga is focused on breathing (also called prana, meaning energy), and chanting and less so on movement. The effects of the breathon the postures is essential. Controlled breathing is practiced to create spiritual transformation by releasing the powerful Kundalini energy found at the base of the spine.
Judith Lasater, a PhD of Eastern-Western psychology, physical therapist, and a founder of Yoga Journal, is the authority on this relaxing, therapeutic form of yoga, which originated in the States in the 1970s. The goal is to combat the physical and mental effects of everyday stress and ease common ailments such as headaches, backaches, anxiety, and insomnia with the use of restful poses and deep breathing techniques.
In 1973, Bikram Choudhury pioneered this form of yoga referred to as "hot yoga". It is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room, allowing the loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. More like boot camp than mediation hour, the goal of this vigorous form of yoga is simply to give organs, veins, muscles, and ligaments "everything they need for optimum health and maximized function."
Jivamukti was created in 1984 by David Life and Sharon Gannon's to bring the depth of Eastern yogic philosophy to the everyday life of Westerners. The name Jivamukti literally translates to "liberation while living." A very modern form of yoga.
The name should be revealing, this type of yoga is an ancient form which originated in China and recently modernized by Paul Grilley, the California-based yogi who is now synonymous with Yin yoga. A slower, more introspective form of yoga, Yin focuses on deepening postures, stretching the connective tissues, and working to create greater flexibility.
Baptiste Power Yoga
In the beginning of the 1990's Baron Baptiste created his own form of yoga inspired by the fast paced forms of yoga such as Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram. A favorite of celebrities and athletes as the goal is to transform the body and build stronger muscles.
One of the fastest growing forms of yoga with over 1,000 certified teachers and hundreds of thousands of devoted students, Anusara was founded in 1997 by John Friend. The goal of Anusara Yoga is alignment helping to connect with body and fine tune the physical form. It is also strongly rooted in positive thinking and spirituality, John Friend calls Anusara Yoga the "yoga of yes."