Which is really the correct path? What is the "real" yoga? Yoga has become big business. In effort to attract students, instructors and studios turn to marketing strategies that highlight what we do best. Industries attempt to design and market products that will appeal to a specific demographic. This may seem like good business, but does it threaten the heart of what the practice is all about?
The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means "to join" or "to yoke". Could our efforts to set ourselves apart threaten the core of our practice? Whenever we try to make hard and fast rules, it tears us apart. Yoga is not only fancy poses, nor is it the lack of fancy poses. Yoga is not only in heat, nor is it the lack of heat. Yoga is not only for flexible, inflexible, male, female, gay, straight, overweight, thin, athletic, young or old. Different practices and teachers will appeal to different people, so isn't it great that there are so many to choose from?
Although there are several different paths, they all come from the same origin. Power yoga has it's roots in ashtanga yoga, as taught by Pattabhi Jois. Alignment based yoga and the use of props takes inspiration from BKS Iyengar. That's without even getting into the fusions like alignment based vinyasa. There are many different styles, but were you aware that many came from the same lineage? BKS Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois shared the same teacher, Master Krischnamaycharya.
If you are a dedicated yogi or a teacher, I am sure that you are inspired by your practice, style, and teachers and want to share it with others. Please be sure to support all yoga in your written and verbal communication. I have only taken one Bikram class ever, but am happy to recommend a nice studio in the area if that's what you're trying to find. I love my teachers, my studios, my students and my community, but I will not say that my training or style is any more valuable than someone else's.
We are all on a path searching for the same thing, and the path is ever evolving. I hope to be practicing when I'm 103. That's 60 years from now, so while my yoga may not look, feel or sound the same, that does not make it any more or less valuable than what I am doing today.
Don't get me wrong, I am very passionate about what I do, and would love to introduce you to my classes either on the mat or on the Yoga Wall. I have seen many people benefit from my classes. I have benefited from different teachings at various times in my life, so if you're looking for something else, I'll try to help you find that too.
Try various types of yoga and share ideas with several different yogis. Make each practice your own, and I will do the same. Above all else, find the union. We are more alike than we are different.