Different Strokes for Different Folks

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I teach hot vinyasa and have had students from other traditions stay after to discuss the differences between various styles of hatha yoga. How should I explain the different and sometimes contradictory viewpoints between traditions?—Katie

Read Desirée Rumbaugh's reply:

Dear Katie,

With the growth and popularity of yoga, it's no surprise that people want to know more about the differences between the many styles that are taught today.

In fact, it is a sign of good studentship that they are curious and are attempting to educate themselves. Though it may be confusing to new students to have so many styles offered, it's beneficial in the long run as it offers "different strokes for different folks."

If you have firsthand knowledge of these styles (meaning you have actually studied them yourself), you can speak about them with more accuracy. If you don't have direct experience, it's best to offer the basic factual information about other styles and encourage students to research them for themselves, by either going online to read about them or by attending a class.

All styles of yoga offer benefits, and there is unity in diversity. Any opinions that we as yoga teachers give are just that—our subjective opinions. It's always best to set a good example when talking about other styles of yoga. Your respectfulness will leave a positive tone lingering in their minds long after the conversation is over.