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What Is Yoga?
Many people think that yoga is just stretching. But while stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility.
This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits. The poses can be done quickly in succession, creating heat in the body through movement (vinyasa-style yoga) or more slowly to increase stamina and perfect the alignment of the pose.
What Is Involved?
This exciting, 60-minute class will exercise your mind, body, and spirit. Empower yourself with the invigorating flow of yoga exercises. Learn muscle control, breathing techniques, balance, and the benefits of flexibility and relaxation.
Who Is Yoga For?
Believe or not, most of us have been doing it since we were a baby! Yoga has never been alien to us. Whether it is the Cat Stretch that strengthens the spine or the Wind-Relieving pose that boosts digestion, you will always see kids do some form of yoga throughout the day. Yoga works for everyone from people engaged in desk jobs to professional cyclists to runners to people looking for weight loss to students.
How Often Can You Do Yoga?
Scientific evidence suggests that yoga done even once a week can yield significant benefits especially if it is combined with more traditional fitness routines such as running or cardio-vascular exercises. For example if your primary goal in practicing yoga is to reduce stress, a single 45-minute to 60-minute Hatha yoga session or Anusara yoga session a week can help you calm down and unwind quite a bit. The key to getting the most out of yoga though is consistency especially if you are doing it just once a week. Often, people who start off doing yoga once a week, end up wanting to do it more frequently because of the health benefits.
How Can You Expect to Feel?
It is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive and nervous before your first Yoga class. Once you get your first class out of the way, a lot of the apprehension will disappear. Remember, there is safety in numbers. You will also be amazed at how many others will help you.
During the Class
Time will fly! You might experience mixed emotions. Just go with it. Remind yourself that you are new and that you have to start somewhere. It might seem like the class is moving a little faster than you would like, but that is only because the terminology and movements are somewhat unfamiliar. With each class, you will become a little bit more comfortable and a little more focused on the workout.
After the Class
You will be excited to get your first class under your belt. It is important to know that you will be sore. With any new workout or at the start of any exercise program, you experience muscle soreness. This is because your body is adjusting to the demand being placed on your muscles and is perfectly normal.
What To Wear
The most important thing to wear is comfortable workout attire. Most people wear track pants, shorts, and t-shirts, while some are more comfortable in Lycra. You should feel comfortable enough to move and sweat.
What To Bring
Bring a yoga mat, a large towel to place on your mat, a water bottle, and your energy! You might want to also bring a smaller towel to absorb sweat from your face.
It is important to arrive 15 minutes before class to meet the instructor. During these 15 minutes, the instructor will ensure that you are comfortable during your first class and answer any questions you may have. The instructor will ask you such questions as:
- Have you ever exercised?
- Have you ever participated in group fitness?
- Have you ever done any yoga-based workouts?
- Do you have any injuries or problems that might affect your ability to participate?
Where To Stand
The best place to stand is within clear view of the instructor. It is not necessary to be at the front, but try to be in the center of the room. It is important to avoid mirrors and to concentrate on the instructor. He or she is the best source of visual technique information. Mirrors are distracting and sometimes relay unnecessary information. Mirrors might tell you that you look silly doing the moves, even though you might really be having fun. So please ignore them!
How To Approach Your First 3 Classes
It is good to attend your first couple of classes with the simple objective of learning the movements, the class format, and the basic terminology used. Try not to concentrate so much on the quality of your workout; that will come later as you become more familiar with the movements. In your first three classes, simply concentrate on the names and objectives of the moves.
The instructor will be facing you, so if that creates any confusion at any time, keep your eyes on the feet of the people in front of you.
Talk To the Instructor
Remember to talk to the instructor after class. For example, let him or her know how you felt and if anything was particularly challenging for you. The instructor will then make recommendations for your next class. Most of all have fun during your first Yoga experience!