As practiced here in the United States, yoga is a relatively recent phenomenon and is quickly taking on its own characteristics. In most cases, it is hatha yoga, which refers to the physical poses.
Three Influential Lineages and One Source
was the root of contemporary hatha yoga
- Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram: As Krishnamacharya’s son, Desikachar carried on the tradition Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois (See below). His book, The Heart of Yoga, is the defining text of this tradition. Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation (SKY Yoga ). There were several recent scandals concerning sexual abuse and misconduct by Desikarchar’s own son with female students. Desikarchar himself no longer teaches because of advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- American followers:
- Iyengar Yoga Resources and Forum ::: Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS)::: IyengarYoga.org B.K.S. Iyengar has been a highly influential advocate of hatha yoga. His book Light on Yoga led many to a deeper understanding of yoga.
- Judith Hanson Lasater: In addition to her books, she has posted some additional writing.
- Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute: Pattabhi Jois is another influential force in modern yoga. Yoga Mala is his guide through the Sun Salutation and the 42 asanas that form the core of the Ashtanga system. Ashtanga Yoga ::: Ashtanga Yoga.info ::: AshtangaChola.de Also see Terry Slade’s Ashtanga Links and Ashtanga.net blogs
- Saraswathi – Pattabhi Jois’s daughter
- Manu – Pattabhi Jois’s son who teaches around the world.
- Sharath – son of Saraswathi and Jois’s teaching assistant.
- Beryl Bender Birch and her Hard and Soft Ashtanga Yoga Institute are at Power Yoga. She has several well-regarded books and is published regularly in Yoga Journal.
- Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop
Other Indian Currents
- Integral Yoga – Satchidananda Ashram (better known as Yogaville, VA) ::: Integral Yoga Institute of New York ::: San Francisco – Sri Swami Satchidananda was the guru who blessed the Woodstock Festival in 1969. He passed on in 2002.
- Kripalu: both a yoga retreat/center in Massachusetts and a specific style of yoga that originated in the center.
- Bikram Choudhury: now infamous because of his efforts to copywrite a sequence of yoga positions and force royalty payments, but his business model is still a popular approach: the room is headed to 104 degrees and humid. The program consists of a series of 26 asanas, performed in the same sequence.
- Kundalini yoga was brought to the States by Yogi Bhajan in 1969. It focuses on the controlled release of Kundalini energy. But I can’t seem to find a site that really centralizes the school. Kundalini and 3H0 ::: Sri Swami Sivanandaji
- Satyananda Yoga: This lineage was founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who died in December 2009, and represents an Indian-focused spiritual movement. What sets it apart is a collection of literature on all aspects of yoga and interpretion of the classic texts. It is also known as the Bihar School of Yoga. Australian site ::: Atma Center (USA) ::: Yoga Academy of North America
- Swami Vivekananda: a major historical figure in India and the West (bio and bio of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of Boston). Vivakanada.net ::: RamaKrishan Math
- Anusara: John Friend’s American synthesis of yoga and tantric philosophy. Anusara means “flowing with grace” in Sanskrit. Also see Douglas Brooks’s Rajanaka Yoga for the historical and pedagogical lineage of this thinking.
- Jivamukti Yoga: Sharon Gannon and David Life led this influential (even trendy) center in NYC.
- Baron Baptiste, charismatic and intense as a teacher, is based in Boston, but teaches all over the country and the world. Power vinyasa yoga is what he calls his style.
As you might guess, there are many online copies of the classical yogic texts, as well as excellent print versions. Experts devote life times to understanding them.
- The Gheranda Samhita translated by James Mallinson and Hatha Yoga Pradipika translated by Brian Dana Akers
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika translated by Major Basu
- Yoga Sutras translated into multiple languages
- Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras translated by Swami Venkatesanananda
- Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translated by BonGiovanni
Individual yoga instructors or their studios have additional content that might be of use to anyone learning yoga.
- Kelly McGonigal: Open Mind Open Body (old) ::: New personal site and pointers to other materials
- Erich Schiffmann’s Moving Into Stillness has a chapter of his book and other online resources. Check out his forum.
- Claudia Cummings.
- Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga has a Southern California studio and a line of videos
- Cyndi Lee’s OmYoga studio is located in NY City. She writes frequently in Shambhala Sun, the Buddhist quarterly. She has also published several books.
- Amy Weintraub wrote Yoga for Depression: A Compassionate Guide to Relieve Suffering Through Yoga and a CD, Breathe to Beat the Blues, explaining pranayama applied to mood disorders. Don’t be misled by the depression tag — the book is really about how yoga generates vitality in our existence, taps into energy and alleviates human suffering. Amy has also set up an online forum.
- Darren Main, an SF teacher who has written several interesting books, including Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic. His site has a lot of insight.