ISHTA yoga was developed by Alan Finger and his father Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger opening the first YogaWorks where ISHTA was taught in 1992. ISHSTA’s meaning is 2-fold: in Sanskrit it means to develop a yoga practice that meets your own needs. ISHTA also is an acronym for the key elements of the style: I ntegrated S cience of H atha (physical practice), T antra ( yoga philosophy recognizing the perfection in all Beings) and A yurveda (the ancient India science of healing ). This yogic system is also deeply entrenched in the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of the spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi.
ISHTA pulls from many traditional Hatha yoga styles: Viniyoga and Vinyasa’s flow, Iyengar’s alignment, the more vigorous Ashtanga practice with meditation and relaxation combined with access to Ayurvedic treatments for a well-rounded experience.
What is the style/class like?
The ISHTA style is rather prevalent, since Alan Finger founded YogaWorks and it is taught there (among other styles) as well as in Finger’s personal studio in New York’s Union Square area. As stated above, the style incorporates meditation, pranayama (breathwork), with movement. The studios are hip and friendly with super nice teachers who genuinely seem happy to be teaching and helping you. Not a lot of hype here. Good, fun and non-threatening environment.
Personal insight and who might benefit from this style:
While I’ve taken a few ISHTA classes at YogaWorks, I’m not sure why I didn’t go back. In doing this series, it caused me to go back and really ponder the experience. First I’d go to YogaWorks because they are everywhere. In New York alone they have 5 centrally located studios, including one in a suburb right outside of the city and they have classes as late as 7:30pm; all great qualities when you are a corporate hound like I was.
What I do remember is that the ISHTA classes were taught like a system. I didn’t get much variation from teacher to teacher which left me feeling a bit bored. But if you’re new to your practice and want to get a well-rounded class or want to be in a cool, urban environment that still has a spiritual vibe, investigate ISHTA at YogaWorks.
Please visit http://www.yogaworks.com and http://www.ishtayoga.com.