Yoga is a popular practice because it’s good for the body and mind. If you’re just thinking about starting yoga, though, it can be intimidating. Here, we offer some information to help you get started.
First, it’s important to have an understanding of what yoga actually is. In the West, the practice we think of as yoga is Hatha Yoga, which is just one of many paths of yoga. The paths emphasize different approaches and techniques, all focused on integrating mind, body, and spirit to achieve oneness with the universe. Traditional Hatha Yoga uses asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), mudra (gestures), and shatkarma (internal cleansing), to purify the body and cultivate prana (life-force energy). Modern Hatha Yoga focuses primarily on physical yoga postures over the more esoteric practices. Even if you’re only interested in yoga poses, they are a wonderful form of mental and physical exercise.
How do you know if yoga is right for you? Just about anyone can practice yoga, regardless of age, weight, occupation, location, or religion. For people with an injury or medical condition, certain types of yoga can be challenging or even dangerous. However, yoga can typically be modified to allow you to practice safely, and there are specific yoga therapy remedies to address most common complaints. That said, it’s important to talk to your doctor or another qualified health professional before beginning any new exercise routine, including yoga. Yoga should never cause pain, and if experience sharp or intense pain, that’s your body’s way of telling you it’s time to take it slower.
Yoga doesn’t require much equipment. It’s done on a yoga mat with bare feet, and you’ll need to wear clothes that allow you to stretch and move freely. When you’re first starting out, try a short, straightforward yoga session, learning a few basic postures before adding anything too challenging. Learn the essential components of yoga and follow them: breathing, meditation, intention, asanas, and relaxation. Getting into the habit of practicing yoga three or more times a week, for 20-45 minutes each time, can help you improve your flexibility, range of motion, strength, balance, and overall well-being significantly. However, even if you don’t have that much time to commit, it can still benefit you mentally and physically. You can do yoga at home, but if you can find a teacher and studio that works for you and make yoga a regular habit, you’re likely to reap more benefits from the nurturing environment of the classes.
When you’re ready to try yoga, it’s important to find a safe and supportive place to learn. At the Wellbridge Family of Athletic Clubs, we offer yoga and other fitness classes, along with world-class training that keeps up-to-date with the latest in health and wellness. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join today or contact us to learn more.