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Don’t get bent out of shape; yoga is for anyone

Ancient practice has evolved to include so many styles, there’s one for every level of physical fitness

By Valerie Berenyi

Don’t know your Anusara from your Ashtanga? You’re not alone.

In the new millennium, the 5,000-year-old practice of yoga has evolved to include more styles and hybrids than you can hit with a yoga strap.

Some are straightforward, such as yoga for golfers or prenatal yoga. Others, typically described in Sanskrit, like Svaroopa, are less obvious.

To simplify things, it’s good to know that most of what’s practised in North America is based on Hatha yoga, a discipline that focuses on breathing techniques and exercises called poses or postures. In the grand scheme of yoga, these poses are done in order to quiet and prepare the body for meditation and higher spiritual pursuits.

The different styles and systems of yoga we see today are just different interpretations — the many branches and twigs that have grown from the roots of Hatha. (To make things more interesting, yoga instructors sometimes intertwine several branches of yoga.)

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