Yoga has been around for thousands of years, but it really in the last century that yoga grew into what most Americans think yoga is when asked about it today. With roots far from Salt Lake City, or even New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the father of modern yoga, Krishnamacharya, first taught Patthabi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Indra Devi in Mysore, India. His students created the foundations of what has evolved into numerous practices incorporated today into the modern practice of Scholé Yoga. As we work on our goal of continually evolving to be the best yoga in Utah, the yoga lineages we incorporate in our practice include:
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Hot Yoga / “Bikram” Yoga
- Power Yoga
- Yin Yoga
Let’s take a look at some of the history we work with in every practice at Scholé Yoga Salt Lake:
Krishnamacharya’s student Patthabi Jois practiced and taught Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Stripped down to the core, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga encourages deep focus on posture, breath and gaze (or drishti) by eliminating other distractions like music. Students master each pose in the sequences Jois learned from his teacher, Krishnamacharya, before they can move on to the next. Most of the postures you might know or do in a modern yoga class have foundations in the practice of Ashtanga, and many people practice it still today all over the world.
Bikram (Hot) Yoga
Bikram Choudhury popularized a heated form of 26 postures and two breathing practices done in a 105F room. His style became synonymous with “hot yoga” as it expanded around the world. Today, some teachers of this style are returning to the roots of Bikram’s teacher, Gnosh, following some of the recent social scandals in the Bikram Yoga community. While students quickly discover what to expect from a class, the repetitive nature of the movements could cause wear and tear over time, rather than helping students’ bodies stay strong with variety in their practice.
Working with athletes in New York City and Los Angeles, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest were among the the first teachers of Power Yoga. Beryl Bender Birch was especially focused on adapting yoga to serve the needs of the runners in her social community. The practice also was later popularized by Baron Baptiste, son of Walt Baptiste, who operated San Francisco’s first yoga school. Power Yoga is a vigorous practice and is frequently heated today, and the classes tend to have more variation compared to Bikram Yoga.
As a counterbalance to all the active, intense yoga that grew up in the United States since the 1960s and 1970s, Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers organically developed a practice called Yin Yoga. In classical Yin Yoga, postures are held for a minimum of three minutes to allow the body’s connective tissues to hydrate deeply and relax. For centuries, biologists overlooked the role of our connective fascial tissues, but modern science is now discovering its powerful role in holding us together, enabling flexibility and mobility, and serving as a sensory network that traverses our entire bodies. Yin Yoga poses aim to fully relax the target area of each posture, and traditionally, the poses are held without props like blocks or bolsters.
Mixing it Up: Scholé Yoga
Scholé Yoga incorporates elements from each of these practices to build a completely modern style that adapts and flows with the needs of each class. Moderate heat at about 90F, complemented by a state-of-the-art filtered humidity system keep classes and muscles warm, but not to extremes.
Each class features physical challenge to move bodies, mind and breath in a variety of poses that change every class, before students settle in to go deeper through postures inspired by Yin Yoga in each practice.
Different styles – STRONG, DEEP and REFRESH – balance these elements in different amounts to create practices that serve different needs. Every class ebbs and flows with unique, modern music that provide a soundtrack that creates the foundation for a powerful, modern yoga experience. Low lighting and no mirrors help students focus on how yoga feels, rather than what it might look like on a given day.
By connecting the best yoga teachings that each lineage has to offer, together we create something new to serve our needs today. The result is powerful growth and connection – with ourselves, those we love, and a whole community of people who also want to live and love well in our modern world.