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If you think holding a “plank” has something to do with a piece of wood, you’re probably a yoga beginner. Understanding the difference between some of the most popular types of yoga will help you choose your class, long before anyone asks you to strike a warrior pose.
Hatha: Ideal for beginners, hatha is a less rigorous, gentler style than some forms of yoga. It’s also the basic yoga from which many other forms originated.
Bikram: Hot—in both temperature and trend. Standing and floor postures are achieved in a room with temperatures as high as 110 degrees, making for a yoga experience requiring endurance and a desire to get sweaty.
Viniyoga: Relaxing in terms of movements and body positions, viniyoga is ideal for beginners, senior yoga enthusiasts and people involved in physical therapy. Its soothing and peaceful teachings cater to the needs of the individual student or patient.
Iyengar: Body alignment and precision of movement are the ultimate goals of Iyengar, and various props such as benches and cushions are often incorporated into classes to help achieve this. The anatomical accuracy of the poses is said to have a number of therapeutic benefits.
Anusara: A “heart-opening” and gentle style of yoga, anusara also focuses on body alignment, and promotes positive thinking and the belief that all creatures are intrinsically good.
Ashtanga: This rigorous style of yoga and its Western adaptation, power yoga, are very fitness oriented. Breathing exercises combined with a large variety of poses seek to increase strength, stamina and flexibility.