Yoga has been a fitness trend for years, and it’s easy to see why. It can build core strength and flexibility, while also helping you find balance on a spiritual and physical level. Getting started with the practice, as with most new things, is the hardest part.
Getting Started with Yoga
The benefits of yoga are universal, and finding the right environment will make you feel that you belong. Yoga classes can be found in many places, whether it is in an actual yoga studio or at a health club, community center, or spa. Most of these places will offer introductory, chair, or gentle yoga classes, which are the best ways to get started. Even if you consider yourself to be fit, introductory level classes are recommended for learning the basics. Once you have the hang of what yoga is like, you can find a style that best suits you.
What to Expect in Yoga Class
Most yoga practiced in the United States emphasizes asanas (physical poses) and their therapeutic value. The combination of an asana with pranayama (breathing techniques) allows yoga to become a moving meditation with holistic benefits. Asanas include standing, lying, and seated poses, as well as inversions (upside-down poses), balancing, and twisting.
There are many styles of yoga, and the one you practice depends on what you want to get out of the experience. The most popular options include hatha, hot yoga, and vinyasa.
Hatha puts emphasis on breath by having you use your breathing to push deeper into your poses.
Hot yoga is the sweatiest way to practice, with the temperature of the room ranging from 85 to 105 degrees. The heat makes it easier for your muscles to warm up and stretch.
Vinyasa is popular because of the sequential, almost dancelike flow between different poses. It works well with music, which can take some of the stress out of finding your balance.
Most types of fitness clothing work well for yoga. Clothes with fewer seams, no pockets, and minimal bulk are ideal.
While anyone can do yoga, it’s important to know your limits by listening to your body. If you’re in pain or struggling with breath during a pose, ask the instructor for another option.