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With so many styles of yoga out there, it can often be difficult to choose the style that best suites your body and preferences. Yoga encompasses many different elements in both the physical and spiritual realms, making it quite a diverse practice.

Some other newer styles of yoga have emerged in the West, making our yoga choices even more varied. Some of the styles you might come across in more modern studios include:

Bikram yoga: Hot yoga

Developed by Bikram Choudry, Bikram yoga or is often described as the yoga to the stars and is probably the trendiest form of all the styles. Prepare to sweat! Bikram yoga is “hot” yoga. Yogis are made to move through a series of 26 asanasin a sauna-style hot room, heated beyond body temperature. The heat is used to make the muscles more flexible, so that they can be stretched beyond what they normally would at room temperature without being damaged.

Bikram is not for the faint hearted. Most young, fit people can practice Bikram with little trouble but people over 50 or those with heart-problems should consult a doctor first.

Otherwise, Bikram is probably the best type of yoga for developing super flexibility.

Vinyasa Yoga: Fast and Flowing

Vinyasa or Flow Yoga is based on the Ashtanga system but may include poses from all forms of yoga. Vinyasa teachers generally make creative flow sequences that vary from class to class. Vinyasa is about linking breathe to movement. It is often set to music and the classes provide quite a strong workout. Most beginners could handle a flow class but you do need to be knowledgeable about alignment. It is sometimes good to have some grounding in another form of yoga to be able to link the poses together as gracefully as possible.

Acro Yoga: Acrobatic Yoga

Acro Yoga blends elements of yoga and acrobatics to create a form of yoga that is interactive. Acro yoga is done with a partner, but if you arrive at a class on your own, you will be paired up.

A lot of couples embark on an acro yoga experience as it also helps to cultivate trust and bonding.

Classes involve partner assisted poses that compromise 7 major elements, namely circle, ceremony, postures, massage, partner flow, therapeutic flying, inversions, spotting and partner acrobatics.

Anusara Yoga: Heart Opening Yoga

Anusara is a more modern school of yoga that integrates a strong emphasis on physical alignment. It is quite similar to vinyasa yoga but the sequence of postures differs somewhat and there is more of an emphasis on heart opening (both physically and spiritually). The class sometimes makes use of props, like straps and blocks to help with alignment.  

Jivamukti Yoga: Focus on Ahimsa

This style of yoga was founded in the West by David Life and Sharon Gannon and is based mostly on the Ashtanga system. It is quite a vigorous flowing practice but can be practiced by all levels. It incorporates strong yoga asanas with yogic philosophy, chanting and meditation. Many people who practice Jivamukti often have a strong spiritual practice in Ahimsa (non-harming) and promote animal rights and a vegetarian lifestyle.

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