Travel Bug

The different styles of Yoga.

Another day, I was invited to attend a yoga class taught by a small man named Lalu. He was a very good teacher, and his students listened to him very attentively. After class, he asked me to show his students Western-style yoga. The way Yoga is practiced here in the West is very different than in India; Yoga originated in India about 5,000 years ago, and the way Lalu taught his students was very close to the way it has been taught for 5,000 years. But I have been trained in a very new, different style that originated in California only 10 years ago. I showed them a sequence, or Namaskar, that was very fluid and dance-like, meant to stretch out the hip sockets and help with arm strength and balance. We as a class had a lot of fun discussing and analyzing the differences between the two styles – both very useful for the human body!

After that, Lalu and I discussed theatre. He had been trained as an actor before he became a yoga teacher, and just like Yoga, some Acting traditions originated in India some 4-3,000 years ago. We performed monologues for each other, and he showed me the very stylized, gesture-driven acting technique of Kerala, known as Kathakali. We learned a lot from each other, and discussed how both yoga and acting training is very useful for people to understand the world around them.


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