Yoga Styles

Ananda: energization and affirmation
Ananda Yoga is a classical approach that integrates the physical, mental, and spiritual. It includes asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, and yoga philosophy. It was developed by Swami Kriyananda who studied and was influenced by the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yoga. Ananda yoga is a gentle yoga practice with emphasis on safety and alignment, relaxation in the midst of effort, and awareness. Unique aspects of Ananda yoga are Energization Exercises and asana affirmations.

Anusara: flowing with grace
Anusara yoga is a school of hatha yoga which integrates the tantric philosphy of intrinsic goodness with its Universal Principles of Alignment. Anusara can be categorized into three parts, the Three A's: Attitude, Alignment, and Action. One of Anusara's intentions is to create kula, a community of people who have chosen to gather because of like-mindedness.

Ashtanga: eight limbed yoga
For those who want a serious workout, ashtanga yoga offers a fast-paced series of sequential poses beginning with sun salutations. Students move from one posture to another in a continual flow and link movements to breath. This physically demanding yoga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois to build strength, flexibility, and stamina. Power yoga , made popular by Beryl Bender Birch, is based on ashtanga.

Bhakti Yoga: foster loving devotion
Bhakti Yoga is the path of love and devotion to a personal form of God. “Bhakti” means loving service, and “Yoga” means to “link up” with God. This practice includes the chanting of sacred mantra (meditation sound) and the study of scripture and yoga philosophy. Bhakti Yoga is seen by many yogis as the culmination and goal of all yoga practices. It is not a religion but rather the true essence of any religion whose aim is to love and serve God.

Bihar School of Yoga/Satyanada Yoga
Teaches you foundation yoga practices progressing to higher yoga appropriate to your level, needs and capabilities. A complete system of yoga for all ages, suitable for kids, teens, (& special needs), adults: pre & post natal, corporate & seniors. Group & private classes, workshops, seminars available at our or your location, wholistic, fitness, sports centers, hospitals, schools, temples, churches, shelters, housing developments; taught systematically, scientifically, gently, compassionately, knowledgeably as all aspects of yoga: poses (asana), shatkarmas (detox series), pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation practices (pratyahara), concentration practices (dharana), pre-meditation & meditation practices (dhyana); lifestyle & diet; from all branches of yoga: hatha, raj, gyana, karma, bhakti, nada, mantra, kundalini; from the major philosophies that contain yoga: Vedanta, Samkhya, Tantra, Upanishads; Systematized by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, disciple of Swami Sivananda Saraswati of Rishikesh, in the lineage of Shankaracharya & Dattatreya. Benefiting body, mind, energy, emotions, behavior, spirit. Harmony of head, heart & hands.

Bikram: 90 minutes, 26 postures
Bikram Choudhury developed this hot yoga practice. Be prepared to sweat as the room temperature is up to 100 degrees. The sequence is always performed in the same order, 26 postures that aredesigned to cleanse the body and the mind from the inside out. It's quite vigorous.

Classical Hatha Yoga
Classical Hatha Yoga is a gentle style of yoga exercise that is easily adapted to any age or ability. It is therefore particularly suitable for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those recovering from illness or injury. This style was introduced in the United States in the 1940s by Indra Devi, a student of Krishnmacarya and his first Caucasian and female student. She taught that Hatha Yoga prepares the body to be a perfect vehicle for the spirit within. This asana practice involves breathing, alignment, strengthening, toning, stretching, relaxation, and meditation. It emphasizes awareness of the body and respecting our own physical limitations to achieve the greatest benefit without harm or injury.

Dharma: enlightened movement and breath
Dharma Yoga is an inspiring and festive blend of Buddhism and traditional hatha yoga, a great workout for body and soul. Founded by Keith Kachtick in 2003, Dharma Yoga uses vinyasa flow, restorative yin poses, inversions, Thai yoga massage and guided meditation as way to nurture each student’s intuitive wisdom and potential for awakening.

Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga is a term that refers to a wide range of yoga styles, many of which have been given other names (such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, Ananda, Kripalu, Sivananda, Viniyoga, and so on). Hatha Yoga is a branch of yoga that focuses on physical health and well-being and recognizes the body as the vehicle of the spirit. “Ha” means sun and “tha” means moon, representing the duality in this world (day/night, hot/cold, male/female, etc.) and the need to maintain balance and harmony for good health and well-being. Hatha Yoga includes not just the practice of asanas (postures) but also pranayam (breathing exercises) and guidance for good diet, hygiene, ethics, and other lifestyle habits. The ultimate goal of Hatha Yoga is to keep the body healthy and the mind clear in order to prepare one for the deeper yoga practices of meditation and spiritual inquiry so that we are not distracted by an unwell or distressed body or a restless or agitated mind.

Integral: complete system for personal transformation
This school of yoga is associated with two prominent figures: developer Swami Satchidananda, the man who taught the crowds at Woodstock to chant “om” for peace, and his student, Dr. Dean Ornish, who uses integral yoga as part of his treatment of heart patients. Integral yoga places almost as much emphasis on pranayama (control of breath) and meditation as it does on postures.

Iyengar: precision and alignment
B.K.S. Iyengar developed this yoga style, which stresses understanding the body and how it works. Students focus on symmetry and alignment, using props — such as straps, blankets, wooden blocks, and chairs — to achieve postures. Each pose is held for a longer amount of time than in most other yoga styles. Teachers of this discipline must go through an intense, long, and rigorous training program.

Kripalu: being compassionate
Kripalu emphasizes proper breath, alignment, coordinating breath and movement, and “honoring the wisdom of the body.” Developed by Yogi Amrit Desai, kripalu takes the student through three stages beginning with the steady practice of postures (stage one), then holding the postures longer and developing concentration and inner awareness (stage two), and finally surrendering to the body’s own wisdom (stage three). Ultimately kripalu leads to the experience of meditation-in-motion — actually doing postures spontaneously and unconsciously.

Kundalini: yoga of awareness
Developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness, kundalini yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice. Passive and active approaches help to awaken the kundalini, through meditation, pranayama and yoga asana.

Sivananda: encouraging a healthy lifestyle
Developed by students of Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, India, Sivananda Yoga emphasizes a five pointed approach. Proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, and positive thinking and meditation. The asana (postures) practice is based on 12 basic poses, and Sivananda classes usually also include chanting, breathwork, and meditation.

Satyananda Yoga (TM):
Is 360 degrees of yoga for those interested in the higher and deeper aspects of yoga who have a foundation of Bihar School of Yoga practices and have attended BSY classes for over a year or more. All aspects of yoga are taught: poses (asana), pranayama (breathing practices), relaxation, concentration, meditation practices (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana), mudras (gestures for retaining energy), bandhas (redirecting energy); yoga physiology; from all the branches of yoga: hatha, raj, gyana, karma, bhakti, mantra, nada, kriya (kundalini); from major philosophies that contain yoga: Vedanta, Samkhya, Tantra, Upanishads. In deference to Swami Satyananda Saraswati who systematized all the yogic sciences * Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati named it Satyananda Yoga (tm). * Swami Swatmarama systematized Hatha yoga only; Patanjali systematized Raj yoga (yoga sutras) only. Satyananda Yoga (when practiced appropriately) brings about the balance of body, mind, energy, higher mind, spirit; Allows us to live a life in equanimity and harmony with the environment and ourselves; Improves the quality of our lives; A life that imbibes not the negative around us, but the positive; the "Harmony of Head, Heart & Hands".

Tantra: expanding consciousness
The word tantra is a combination of two processes, ‘tanoti’ and ‘trayati’, meaning expansion and liberation. The root ‘tan’ stands for the word tanoti and the root ‘tra’ stands for the word trayati. The word tanoti means to stretch, to extend, to elaborate, to expand. The word trayati means to liberate, to free, to separate. Tantra is a process of expansion and finally absolute freedom in the highest existence. This is possible for everyone - all personality types - from sinner to saint, through disciplined yoga practices which use mantra, yantra & mandala, under the strict guidance of a realized, living guru for safety, & yoga teachers under guru's instructions. Yoga sadhana from Tantra philosophy is the easiest & quickest method to experience, transform & to transcend.

Viniyoga: breath with movement
This gentle form of flow yoga places great emphasis on the breath and coordinating breath with movement. Viniyoga’s flowing movement or vinyasa is similar to ashtanga’s dynamic series of poses, but is performed at a greatly reduced pace and stress level. Poses and flows are chosen to suit the student’s abilities. It teaches the yoga student how to apply the tools of yoga — asana, chanting, pranayama (control of breath), and meditation — in individual practice. Developed by T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Krishnamacharya (teacher to some of the great yoga instructors including Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois), viniyoga places less stress on joints and knees since postures are done with slightly bent knees. Viniyoga is considered excellent for beginners, and is increasingly being used in therapeutic environments.


Frequently Asked Questions:
Arrive early. Classes are well attended!
Wear comfortable clothes so you can move easily.
Have a stomach that is neither too full nor too empty.
Most yoga classes are taught barefoot.
Please bring a towel, blanket or yoga mat to class since some studios do not provide these.
Do the best you can in class and don't overdo it. If it hurts, or you're "really gettin' a good burn" you may be taking it too far.
Always, always go at your own pace and respect the limits of your body.

Yoga has many different meanings worldwide, but Westerners are most familiar with Hatha Yoga. This type of yoga uses physical postures or positions called asanas (pronounced ah-SA-nahs) to achieve health benefits. In general the poses consist of standing and balancing poses, twists, and forward and backbends, as well as relaxation and breathing techniques. By practicing the poses of yoga, people increase their flexibility, strength, stamina and balance. Aside from the physical attributes of yoga, many individuals will find that stress is released and concentration is often improved. Many students experience some of these benefits after only one class; but with regular practice the benefits can be astonishing.

Just as there are many styles of dancing, like (ballroom, C&W, salsa, ballet), there are also many styles of yoga (Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, Kundalini). Some yoga is physically challenging and athletic, and other styles of yoga focus on relaxation and meditation. Even in the different styles of yoga, teachers will have their own presentation style and emphasize different aspects of the yoga they teach. Become involved in a Free Day of Yoga and discover the variety of styles and teachers in the Austin area.

How to find a yoga teacher that's right for you:

Consider what you want to get out of class and your present physical needs and limitations.
Ask the teacher's advice about which class(es) you should take.
Take classes in different styles and from different teachers until you find one that is right for you.
After taking a class, review how you felt before and after the class. Did you have a rapport with the teacher?
Was the intensity level of the class about right for you?
Ask a teacher about their training or credentials.

Benefits of Yoga

Top 10 Benefits of Yoga
STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.

PAIN RELIEF: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain, and other chronic conditions. Some practitioners report that even emotional pain can be eased through the practice of yoga.

BETTER BREATHING: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function, trigger the body’s relaxation response and increase the amount of oxygen available to the body.

FLEXIBILITY: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains. Many people can’t touch their toes during their first yoga class. Gradually they begin to use the correct muscles. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity, making more poses possible. Yoga also helps to improve body alignment resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.

INCREASED STRENGTH: Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. And, while these postures strengthen the body, they also provide an additional benefit of helping to relieve muscular tension.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and self esteem.

IMPROVED CIRCULATION: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.

CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardio- vascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.

FOCUS ON THE PRESENT: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordi- nation, reaction time and memory.

INNER PEACE: The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more spiritual and more satisfying place in their lives. Many who begin to practice for other reasons have reported this to be a key reason that yoga has become an essential part of their daily lives.


2017 Free Day of Yoga Press


2010 Free Day of Yoga Video

About Us

Free Day of Yoga, Inc.
If you are considering hosting a Free Day of Yoga in your community, please contact

Free Day of Yoga Austin is a non profit corporation dedicated to providing the gift of yoga to the community. We help to educate our community about the health and wellness benefits of yoga through interactive, participartory and educational events in the Austin area. We offer our annual events at no charge to those attending. The board of the Free Day of Yoga: Mary Esther Middleton, Russell Burns and Debbie Lacey.

We thank you for your generous donations!

Free Day of Yoga was created in 1999 by Donna Belk; Charles MacInerney, Ellen Smith, Sharon Moon, and a host of wonderful volunteers. The concept has blossomed into an event with thousands of participants each year.

This event would not be possible without the generosity of the Austin Yoga Teachers and the enthusiasm of Austin yogis and yoginis in our town.


Media Info
Press Photos
JPG Images: 1 , 2 , 3 - Zip file
News Release: pdf download - doc download

20th Annual Austin Free Day of Yoga
Posted: March 3rd, 2018
By: Russell Burns 512-970-5626
Mary Esther Middleton 512-921-8392
Debbie Lacey 512-248-2742
Organization: Austin Yoga Teachers present:

2018 Austin Free Day of Yoga, September, 4th
For the 20th year, Austin yoga teachers and studios have united to bring Austin and neighboring communities free yoga classes all day Labor Day, to heighten awareness of the benefits of yoga. Austinites have the opportunity to try yoga, meet instructors, and experience different styles of yoga for free at yoga and dance studios, hospitals, parks, churches, and fitness centers throughout the city. Just as there are many styles of dancing, there are also many styles of yoga (Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, Bikram, Kundalini, Restorative). Some styles of yoga are physically challenging and athletic, and others focus on relaxation and meditation. The benefits of practicing yoga include increasing flexibility and strength, improving balance, and relieving stress.

Free Day of Yoga organizers encourage people who have never tried yoga to take their first class; people who have studied yoga may take this opportunity to try a different style or a new instructor. “The Free Day of Yoga is our way of saying thank you to our community for supporting us in our quest to expand the awareness of this ancient practice,” says organizer Mary Esther. “Because we offer such a wide variety of yoga teachers, styles and classes on Free Day of Yoga, there is a class for everyone - whether you are tall, short, round, thin, physically active or sedentary.”

For a complete listing of the Free Day of Yoga schedule, visit

Yoga class guidelines:
Arrive early. Classes are well attended, so arriving early will ensure your place.
Wear loose comfortable clothes and be prepared to remove your shoes.
An empty stomach is best although a light snack before class is fine.
Please bring a yoga mat to class.
Always, go at your own pace, respect your body and don’t overdo.

How to find a yoga teacher that’s right for you:
Consider what you want from the class and your current physical condition.
Ask the teachers’ advice about which class you should take.
Try classes in different styles and different teachers until you find one that is right for you.


Get in touch

Main Office
Free Day of Yoga, Inc.
7505 Waldon Dr
Austin, TX 78734
We're on social networks