In the West, most people start yoga practice for purely physical reasons, such as wanting to enhance creativity and performance, eliminate body pain, gain more flexibility, or learn to relax deeply. Baby boomers are discovering the world of yoga as a valid alternative to the pounding of aerobics of running. They want out of the physical pain.
In America, many yoga studios are teaching hatha yoga, but with different names. Hatha yoga is the ‘science of the body’. Whether it is called:Iyengar, Kripalu, hatha, power, Pattabhis Jois, Bikram, Scaravelli, etc., they are all essentially hatha yoga with different teaching styles, emphasis, and modes of practising.
Often, once a person has been physically helped by the regular practise of hatha yoga they want to learn more about the deeper aspects of yoga,to help them understand the workings of their minds and hearts. There are many elements of yoga which can be incorporated into a person’s life to make it more harmonious and fulfilling. What eventually happens is that the various paths of yoga all lead and blend into each other. After years of yoga one is often practicing a number of forms throughout the day. For example, my daily practice has developed to include Classical Ashtanga yoga, plus Bhakti yoga, Mantra yoga, Jnana yoga and Karma yoga.
The beauty of yoga is that anyone and everyone can practise it, regardless of age. It keeps the body, mind and spirit young, flexible, and strong. You start from where you are at now and work from there. You learn about yourself, the habits of mind, body, and heart, and watch your life change for the better!
Essentially, yoga is a science that probes aspects of mind, body, and alignment with spirit. If you are working on discovering and becoming who you truly are then yoga has powerful tools to help you.