Taking Up Yoga

Yoga CollectionYoga mania has been sweeping the globe. Undoubtedly you or someone you know turns up with a rolled yoga mat under their arm ready to dash off to their “bliss hour” at the end of their power lunch with you. And you are curious and you would like to try it BUT where to start?

First, you might want to choose the kind of yoga you want to try. There are a lot of different types of the practice and some are more “you” than others. I would suggest that if you belong to a gym and they give classes, try that. Here is a brief rundown of what to expect from a typical yoga class:

Gym classes are usually a “universal” sort of yoga called Flow. Flow is a bit generic but very useful and a great introduction to yoga. Basically, you start with an inspiring passage or two read to you by the instructor. Then you may be told what the concentration of the day is going to be (e.g. hip openings, balancing, etc.). Then the action begins. You will go from one pose to another in a sequence and repeat that sequence. For instance, you can start face down on the mat, raise up your chest and head for Cobra 1, then push up on your arms and raise your front end up higher for Cobra 2, push yourself back to hands and knees for Cat, and then back to sitting on your feet in Child with your head on the mat and arms outstretched in front of  you. Then you would repeat this series for about 3-5 times. Then you would go into another series, probably standing or in some other beginning attitude.

Flow is very popular and probably the type of yoga you will encounter more in the US than any other. It can be incorporated into other styles, too, like Hot Yoga (which is Flow in a hot room to make your muscles more able to stretch as you are working). Bikram and Moksha are two other names for Hot Yoga and you will find them using Flow as the primary style.

At the end of the flow practice, there is normally a resting period where you lie down on your mat on your back either just flat or with your feet together and knees bent and drawn up in Butterfly (to stretch your hip muscles called a ‘hip opening’). It will either be silent or there will be a bit of inspirational reading from the teacher. This resting period is called Savasana, that is referring to the pose on your back in rest which is translated as ‘Corpse Pose’. Savasana is really a very blissful time where you can feel your body tingling from the stretching you have been doing.

Your first yoga class might be a bit difficult for you in some places. Surely there will be a pose of two which you will struggle with. Balancing and hip openings are pretty difficult for beginners and you will be amazed at how quickly you get better at yoga as you practice.

So, take a look for yoga classes at your gym, or Google ‘Beginning Yoga’ in your neighborhood. You will probably find a good course in your price range and start a rewarding course of exercise.

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