ISHTA Yoga, or the Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda, was developed in the late 1960s by Alan Finger and his father, Mani Finger, who was a student of Paramahansa Yogananda (author of Autobiography of a Yogi). Mani Finger transformed his home into an ashram in South Africa when Alan was a young boy, hosting many renowned yoga masters. As a result, Alan was exposed to a rich yoga culture from a very early age.
The practice of ISHTA Yoga integrates three main aspects.
Hatha: the physical asana (posture) practice linked with breath (pranayama);
Tantra: the belief that our essential nature is divine, part of the universal consciousness, and filled with bliss; and
Ayurveda: healthy practices that help create balance based on our individual constitution.
Together, these aspects combine to create a practice that balances body, mind, and spirit. ISTHA Yoga is not only a physical practice, but specifically includes practices that benefit the entire being.
In Sanskrit, the word ishta means “that which resonates with the individual spirit.” ISHTA Yoga combines various styles of yoga in a practice that is tailored to the individual. You will find that an ISHTA Yoga class incorporates some Viniyoga, Iyengar, and Ashtanga, in addition to breathing, meditation, and relaxation practices.
Alan Finger and his wife, Sarah Platt-Finger opened the first yoga studio to bear the name of his teaching style, ISHTA, in Manhattan in 2008. They provide ISHTA Yoga teacher trainings, and as a result, ISHTA Yoga can be found at many studios around the world, including The Yoga Sanctuary.