Over my 11 years of practicing yoga, I’ve tried (at least once) Kundalini, Bikram, Iyengar, Anusara, Restorative, Vinyasa-Flow, and Ashtanga yoga, as well as your generically described “hatha” yoga class. For those less familiar, any physical asana practice is a form of hatha yoga, so if you’re doing yoga poses, you’re practicing Hatha.
The style of yoga that resonated the most deeply with me over the years has been Anusara, partly because of the exposure I received early in my yoga years. In deepening my Anusara studies (~200+ hrs of advanced philosophy & asana studies), my admiration and respect to its simple yet complex methodology has grown. What John Friend has achieved is brilliant, irrespective of whether it resonates with you.
Nonetheless, I have as much admiration and respect to most of the yoga styles that exist — both the traditional, Indian forms, as well as the modern, Western versions. And perhaps that quality is reflective of the Anusara side of me that chooses to see the good first. One style is not “the best” or “the worst”, one just may resonate more deeply in your heart, physical needs, or your life experience to date.
My biggest criticism is actually to those too aligned with their own style, or too against any specific style. Just because I love Mexican food, doesn’t mean people who love Chinese food are stupid, right? They’re just different. Seriously, these are the types of statements being made when we are critical of others’ yoga styles of choice.
I’ve recently been exploring Ashtanga, and I’m really enjoying how it challenges my practice in new ways. My willingness to try different yoga styles has expanded my knowledge and experience, even though it does not always serve me in the yoga world. I could likely teach at certain studios, if I always went to the same teacher. However, that does not serve my yoga. And my yoga is so much more than any one style I choose to practice that day.