Yoga Lineages – Hatha Yoga, Scaravelli Yoga, Iyengar & Ashtanga Yoga

by Karuna, July 20, 2017

Yoga Traditions & Lineages

Hatha YogaYogi in Kathmandu Yoga at Karuna Detox Yoga Lineages

Actually the ‘family name’ of this type of physical yoga practices. Is often used when the lineage doesn’t have a name. Is also known as ‘Classical Indian Yoga’.

Pros: Can come across some interesting teachers with gems to pass on.

Cons: Can be sloppy, without awareness of preserving and moving within the physical body’s healthy range of movements.

Iyengar Yoga: B.K.S. Iyengar, Pune, India

The fab precise ABC of Yoga, teaching skeletal and muscular alignment in movement and postures.

Pros: Can have significant therapeutic effects. Fantastically educational, will prevent injuries!

Cons: This detailed style can come across as ‘rough and stern’, maybe a throw back to the Guru’s personality (Still alive, living in Pune, India). Actually, it depends on the teacher. I recommend teachers who with a sturdy Iyengar background have developed personal insight and teaching methods.

‘Power Yoga’, Ashtanga Yoga: Patabhi Joise, Mysore, India

Since 2000 this has also been referred to as ‘Power Yoga’. A highly energetic form of flow (vinyasa) yoga in it’s ‘pure’ form. Not a beginners practice, which is why it is often taught in UK in various adapted forms. The vinyasa creates heat- tapas – which allows the body to enter new area

s of opening and flexibility. This tapas burns off fat and get endorphins moving, making an exciting, and slightly addictive practice!

Pros: A powerful effective practice.1st series works on the body systematically from feet upwards (there are 5 series, most people only do the first).

Cons: Tends to subtly encourage competitiveness. At the end of a years practice need to check, are you emotionally/mentally more balanced? I strongly believe one must have a personal understanding of ABC’s of correct body movement based on Iyengar Yoga teachings before Ashtanga practice, due to the high risk injury factor involved.

Bikram Yoga

A simple series of classic Yoga postures done in an over-heated ‘sauna’ like room. The heat raises the temp. of the body which allows the body to move and stretch more than when body is cold. This brings with it a injury risk factor as you might be stretching beyond your limits without noticing it.

Pros: You get a good work out and stretch far.

Cons: little opportunity for serenity and understanding with/of the postures.

Sadhu in India Yoga Pose Yoga Lineages

Shivananda Yoga

Possibly the most popular form practiced in the west today. Actually they teach all forms of yoga like Devotional (Bhakti), Action (Karma), Knowledge (Jnana), and Hatha (Postures and Meditation). The Ashrams are westernized and popular and have great food!

Pros: Great for devotional practices such as chanting and praying. A holistic Ashram experience too.

Cons: Simplistic teaching methods regarding all physical and cleansing energy teachings. Can be harmful to do the physical postures incorrectly (lower back injuries are frequent). Also other practices can be very harmful energetically if not practiced with care.


Taught in Madras by B.S. Desicachar, the son of the great deceased Yoga guru Krishnamacharya of Mysore. Personalizes postures, adapted to individual needs. Also works with breath and chanting.

Pros: Holistic, personalized, interesting practice.

Cons: Available only in Madras, The hectic capitol of Tamil Nadu, southern India.

Kundalini Yoga:

A highly potent practice aimed at raising the ‘kundalini’ energy up the main ‘Susumna’ channel. The practices include energetic breathing exercises, movements, meditations and more. When Kundalini is raised one’s consciousness and perception are often permanently altered. This is a very advanced practice which should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately today anyone can get their hands on any manual, this does not mean one is prepared for the effects of the practice.

Pros: The raising of the Kundalini energy is powerful and transformative. Part of the process of change and evolution that one can grow through, includes elevating all lower chakra energies and opening to unity and oneness.

Cons: If raised prematurely Kundalini release can have long-term irreversible effects of energy disturbances such as incoherence, inability to contain and integrate the Kundalini energy into the everyday experience.

Scaraveli Yoga

An Iyengar based subtle way of doing yoga that can be very simple, but at the same time is very advanced. Works with gravity awareness, the breath, the energy body in movement and the wavelike movement of the spine in particular.

Pros: A safe, wonderful source of inspired teachings to take one into the world of personal experience in Asana.

Book Now