What is your mental image of yoga? Women sitting around chanting? Ridiculously difficult poses? Something you couldn’t possibly do or even want to do? Let’s change that!!!
I completely get it! I used to think the same thing, until I actually tried it. There are SO many variations of yoga, and each instructor puts his or her own personality into their classes. So no class is exactly the same. Here is why YOU CAN and SHOULD give yoga a shot: it IS incredibly good for you mentally and physically, there IS a level and pose modifications for every person, and there are in-person and online options for you.
First, let’s look at the different options you have for classes.
1. Class length: Classes can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes.
2. Class Locations:
* Most local gyms, especially the chain-type gyms, offer yoga or stretching classes as part of their membership.
* Check locally! You might be surprised how many yoga studios might be within an easy driving distance from you.
* Your own home! There are so many options for some yoga studios or instructors offering online downloadable or live Zoom classes. There are also MANY options on YouTube. I highly recommend the Down Dog app for at home classes on your own schedule. It is extremely user friendly, gives you the choice for level of yoga, type of yoga, and the length of time you want.
3. Class Types:
* Restorative – this is relaxing, recovery stretching at a slower pace. Some stretches can be intense, but YOU put into it what your body allows you to. There are always modifications for every pose, and you WILL benefit from each one!
* Cardio Flow – these classes are obviously more vigorous and will get your heart rate up. You will use your own bodyweight as resistance, and move into and out of poses/stretches more quickly.
* Full Practice – this is a mix of standing and seated poses, and will typically have you moving during the “work” portion of the class, with more deep stretching near the end.
* Strength or Yogalates – you work pretty hard in and out of poses, then hold poses/stretches to build strength.
All of this is interesting, you say, but exactly how will yoga benefit me? Well, let me count the ways!
If you’re consistent:
1. You will gain increased muscle strength and tone;
2. You will gain increased mobility and flexibility;
3. You will gain improved energy levels;
4. You will gain improved breathing that promotes calmness;
5. You will gain circulatory health;
7. You will gain improved balance;
8. You will gain improved mood and stress relief;
9. You will lose body fat;
10. You will gain injury protection by releasing tension and tightness in muscles, and relieving pressure and tension on your spine, lower back, and hips
11. You will gain improved rest and sleep; and
12. You will be so pleased with all of these benefits, you will be challenged to improve your practice which improves your overall health!
My chiropractor and my posing/training coach strongly suggested that I try yoga for all of the above reasons, and many more. After taking a few classes, I fell in love and became so passionate about yoga that I became certified to teach it as well. In my opinion, medical doctors should issue prescriptions for people to try yoga and massage therapy over every other medication for pain relief, anxiety, arthritis, high blood pressure – you name it. With prescription medications come negative side effects; with yoga come incredible health benefits that improve your overall wellness!
So give it a try and let me know what you think!!