The world of Yoga is like an ancient tree which added a ring to its girth each year. Every year it grew, it amassed knowledge and experience in the world. With so many centuries of abundant wisdom passed down from generation to generation, understanding Yogic history becomes a mammoth effort. The question most of us come across is this- what is the difference between Yoga Style and Yoga Lineage? Both of these are often named together and can prove to be very confusing. When you are a part of Yoga Teacher Training Course, learning the difference between Yoga Style and Yoga Lineage becomes real to us.

Isn’t it amazing that so many people every year travel miles after miles to understand and explore ancient wisdom of Yoga. Everybody have their reasons to do the Yoga Teacher Training course, few do it deepen their Practice, few do it to kill-their-time(yeah some really do!), few to relax  in an Indian ashram but most of them do it to become teachers. However, isn’t it questionable that out of so many students participating in the Yoga TTC and only a handful becomes a successful teacher?

Yoga Lineage is the historical knowledge passed on to us by the prominent gurus of the Yogic practice. When wisdom is laid down for us, it is not only the expertise of one guru that we receive but the experience of all the gurus that have gone before him. Yoga Lineage is a cumulative education handed over to us by the efforts of all the gurus of the Yogic practice who walked before our time. The pure form of age-old wisdom is founded in disciples of a lineage and then superimposed by the insights of the founder of the Yoga Lineage.

The Yoga Lineage by T Krishnamacharya was the one that revolutionized Yogic practice. His efforts in reopening the doors of Yoga to the Indian masses led to a new age of Yoga. He inventively blended the old teachings with contemporary beliefs which brought the truthfulness of the old and the practicality of the new as one. His students PattabhiJois, B.K.S. Iyengar and TKV Desikachar, passed on his baton to others. PattabiJois brought forth the active form of Ashtanga Yoga. The Iyengar method focused of precision of alignment and technique with sustained Yoga positions. TKV Desikachar, the son of T Krishnamacharya, developed his father’s lineage and emphasized on the therapeutic gain received from it.

Yoga Style is the practical form adopted by the masses. Over centuries, we have witnessed some changes in the Yoga Styles. Albeit all of them take up values from the six original branches of Yoga, which are Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Tantra Yoga. The Yoga Style is chosen on the basis of one’s constitution, persuasion and inclination. The Yoga Styles mostly followed by both the western and eastern world are as follows:

  • Anusara
    • Ashtanga
    • Bikram
    • Hatha
    • Hot
    • Integrated Yoga Therapy
    • Iyengar
    • Jivamukti
    • Kripalu
    • Kundalini
    • Power Yoga
    • Prenatal
    • Restorative
    • Sivananda
    • Viniyoga
    • Vinyasa
    • Yin

This clear understanding of the difference between Yoga Style and Yoga Lineage helps us develop a strong foundation in the teachings of Yoga.