Suzanne and Alaric both practice Iyengar yoga. Alaric holds the ‘plough’ asana (posture) for the video, as Suzanne, who is also a yoga scholar, explains that Iyengar yoga is distinguished by “precision in how asana is performed”.
Ruth has also been doing yoga for many years. As she flows effortlessly through a series of moves, she says, “I practise ashtanga yoga, which is an asana-based sequence of postures – there are various different sequences.”
Experienced yoga practitioners describe their practice in terms of the system in which they trained. This is likely to be one of a handful of transnational yoga systems: ashtanga, Iyengar, Sivananda or one of their many spin-offs.
Transnational yoga systems are usually centred on a postural (asana) practice that draws on a synthesis of ancient metaphysical yogic practices, traditional South Asian physical culture and modern Western exercise systems.
Nowhere is the fusion of elements in modern yoga better demonstrated than in the method developed in 1930s India by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989).