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Yoga can be as calming as you need it or as challenging as you want it. This is why everyone is encouraged to include it in their workout program! Regardless of your current fitness level, try joining a yoga class in your area to see just how welcoming yoga can be.
Before you start, here are the answers to everything you’ve ever wondered about yoga:
From your next-door neighbour to Hollywood celebrities, everyone can’t stop talking about how taking yoga classes changed their life. The ever-growing popularity of yoga is enough to make anyone think, “Should I start attending yoga classes near me..."
It’s not hard to notice if someone’s been doing yoga; they share photos of themselves in impossible poses in a yoga studio near you, or perhaps on a beach somewhere in Bali. This is often followed by a #blessed caption and inspirational quotes. They also seem to be so grateful and content ALL THE TIME.
Is it an act? Or could it be real? What is it about yoga that makes people so happy, and why can’t they stop talking about it?
If you’ve never tried yoga before, it can be hard to believe how simply doing poses can have a significant impact on your life. Even more unbelievable is finding out that the ultimate goal of yoga is NOT to achieve flexibility, and that there is no ideal ‘yoga body’.
Yoga is and has always been a discipline for spiritual development. It aims to increase awareness of one’s mind and body through breath control, meditation, and postures. Each yoga session is an opportunity to listen to your body and know the condition it’s in at the given time. It lets you temporarily escape from the stresses of daily life and calm the chaos in your mind, for at least a few minutes a day. You’ll be surprised with how much good a ‘simple practice’ can do for your overall well-being.
Sounds good, but will it work for you? The true effects of yoga are difficult to imagine if you’ve never experienced it yourself. After all, each yoga journey is personal! Find out how yoga can benefit you and try joining one of the yoga classes near you!
Provided they’re capable of stretching, anyone can! In fact, those who think they can’t or shouldn’t do yoga are usually the ones who need it the most. Yoga postures can be modified to suit the level of each person, so you should never feel pressured to force your body into painful positions.
Everyone can benefit from a bit of yoga practice…
Being flexible is not a pre-requisite in order to ‘qualify’ to do yoga. No beginner comes to yoga classes expecting to be the top contortionist of the class. If you’re looking to improve flexibility, there are very basic yoga poses that help stretch and lengthen the muscles. This will help increase flexibility and range of motion over time.
Being ‘too busy’ is a common problem these days. Thankfully, the simplicity of yoga makes it possible to practice almost every day – even if it’s for only a few minutes each day. Once you’ve learned a few positions you can modify the duration of your practice as needed or as time allows. If you’re only able to do yoga for ten minutes on a particularly busy day, that still counts!
Prenatal Yoga classes can be helpful for pregnant women who want to stay active without causing stress to the mother or baby. These classes feature a gentle type of yoga that aims to reduce discomfort, improve sleep, and even help the expectant mother prepare for labor.
Mother and baby yoga classes, or postpartum yoga, is possible as early as when the baby is six-weeks old. It allows new mothers to bond with their babies and is also an opportunity for them to reconnect with their own mind and body.
Toddler yoga classes are a productive use of the children’s boundless energy and attention. Yoga classes for children are fun enough to keep any child interested, and at the same time teaches them to focus and develop body awareness at an early age. Group classes immerse the children in a non-competitive community where they can grow a healthy and positive perception of themselves and others.
As we get older, our muscles become stiffer and our range of motion tends to be reduced. Should we simply accept this as a fact of life? Absolutely not! Seniors deserve to be healthy, and doing yoga even at an advanced age can help maintain flexibility and strength. It’s a way to stay active without overexerting!
Done properly, yoga is a low impact exercise that can be used for injury prevention. A few minutes of yoga for warm-up and/or cool down can reduce the negative effects of high-impact exercise on our muscles and joints. It also helps soothe chronic pain such as fatigue and back pain. Restorative yoga can be beneficial to physical recovery, particularly from muscle injury.
Important Note: Ask for your physician’s approval before attempting any exercise if recovering from an injury.
The fastest way is obviously to put on comfortable workout clothes and join a yoga class near you! For those who are hesitant to get involved in a group class, you have the option to test the waters first. This is most commonly done by following a beginner yoga routine video available online – it’s essentially a free yoga class where you can try out poses for yourself until you’re comfortable enough to do it around other people.
PLEASE NOTE that safety must always be your highest concern, especially if trying new things on your own. Tread carefully when practicing with online instructional videos and avoid attempting complicated positions that are beyond your level.
It is still highly recommended that you join yoga classes or get private yoga lessons so you’re working with a professional at all times, especially at the beginning. A qualified yoga teacher will be able to help you with the proper alignment and support you throughout the session in ways a video can’t.
Deciding which branch of yoga to practice can be overwhelming for beginners. It’s not as big a deal as one may think! Before we briefly discuss a few of the different styles, you should know that it really all boils down to preference – you won’t really know your personal benchmark until you take your first yoga class for beginners.
Even if you don’t completely enjoy your first class, it will at the very least be easier for you to understand what other yoga styles are like.
The Sanskrit term ‘hatha’ means force or effort and refers to the physical practices of yoga. In this way, all types of yoga are technically considered hatha yoga. Hatha Yoga classes are typically slow- to medium-paced and teaches the asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques). It’s the perfect place for beginners to start as you’ll be holding each pose for several breath cycles, long enough to learn the proper alignment details.
Best for everyone, especially beginners! Get started on your yoga journey and find beginner Hatha Yoga Classes Near You today!
The key term being ‘flow’, Vinyasa Yoga classes focus on synchronizing each movement to the breath. The sequences are much faster than in Hatha yoga in a graceful, almost dance-like manner. Due to its dynamic nature, Vinyasa classes are recommended for those who already have prior experience in practicing yoga.
Best for those looking for a fast-paced practice and light cardio! Get your heart rate up with Vinyasa Classes Near You!
Bikram is a type of fixed form yoga, wherein each 90-minute class features the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises every single time. An unusual feature of Bikram Yoga classes is that it takes place in a room heated up to 35 - 42°C, taught by a Bikram-certified instructor. According to its founder, the heat makes it easier for practitioners to stretch since warm muscles are more flexible. There is usually also talk of being able to ‘sweat out toxins’; though there is much debate about whether sweating plays any role in our body’s detoxification process, but it does help make you feel good after a class!
Best for people who enjoy having a set routine! Try this popular practice with Bikram Yoga Classes Near You!
The practice of Iyengar places emphasis on precision of alignment, sequencing, and timing. Iyengar yoga classes often include props to get a more precise alignment, and the poses are held for longer periods. It's a great balance of relaxation and challenge!
Best for patient perfectionists! Work on your alignment with Iyengar Yoga Classes Near You!
Yin yoga classes target the connective tissues of the body by holding the poses for several minutes. You may also use props to support your body when necessary, so you can slowly sink into the posture with very little or no effort. Movement is minimal so the body can get into deep stretches, but some discomfort is welcome to provide a challenge.
Very similar to Yin Yoga is Restorative Yoga, also a slow-moving practice. The difference is that it allows the body to be 100% comfortable and completely supported by props so poses can be held as long as possible. A single restorative yoga class may consist of only five or six poses.
Best for those looking to release tension! Unwind through Yin Yoga Classes Near You!
Hot yoga refers to any style of yoga practiced in a heated room. Unlike Bikram, hot yoga classes are not limited to the same poses and sequence each session. The heat makes the limbs more flexible, so it will be easier to ease into those poses.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the many unknown terms you may encounter during a beginner yoga class. There’s no need to take a separate course to learn these terms as you’ll naturally pick them up along the way. What’s important is that you follow the instructions of your trainer as they describe the poses and sequence, and that you have fun!
The key to experiencing the many benefits of yoga is consistent practice. Thankfully, yoga is flexible enough in terms of intensity and duration that it can surely fit into any schedule! The only rule to follow is making sure to wait at least three hours after a meal to practice.
When it comes to poses, there are some that will invigorate the body and are therefore good to do at the start of the day. Others are more are more calming and more suitable for the evening. Others are a staple for any time of the day, a prime example of which is the Downward Facing Dog.
Caffeine isn’t your only friend in the wee hours of the morning. Even a quick yoga session after you rise will center the mind, increase alertness, and give you a jolt of energy so you’re ready for the day. Non-early risers aren’t likely to enjoy morning yoga classes at the beginning – however, those who often have a habit of oversleeping might find the routine beneficial for kickstarting a day.
Best Morning Yoga Poses: Sun Salutations, Chair Pose, Low Lunge, Wide Leg Forward Fold
Doing yoga in the evening or even before bedtime is great for powering down, releasing tension from the muscles, and letting go of any stress from the day. This helps the mind and body transition from an active day to a relaxed state. Evening yoga classes can also function as a natural remedy to insomnia, allowing you to get a good night’s rest.
Best Evening Yoga Poses: Pigeon Pose, Happy Baby, Seated Spinal Twist, Goddess Pose,
Try practicing yoga during different times of the day to see how it feels, and to better understand your body. This will help you pinpoint the best yoga schedule as well as the best type of yoga for you. On days where you feel a significant lack of energy, a quick and light practice may be just the thing to perk you up for the rest of the day.
Another tip is to attend yoga classes near you at least once a week. Practicing in private in the comfort of your own home has its own advantages, but even the most advanced students will not be able to see themselves doing a pose at all angles. Being a part of a class provides a sense of community, and a professional yoga instructor will be able to correct your posture and provide insight when needed.
Are you ready to give yoga a try? Do a quick search using the search bar above by entering yoga and your location to find the best yoga classes in your area. The yoga studios and instructors in each area will offer a variety of classes, you might be surprised with what you find. Be sure to check out the different offerings of yoga studios near you to see which one suits you the most!
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