you really need to know to get started including types of yoga classes,
yoga etiquette and tips.
Once you’ve decided that yoga is right for you,
to be armed with a few basics of the practice so you make the right
decisions and get the most out of it.
are many yoga classes out
there, don’t be afraid to do a little investigation to find
best class for you. Generally for beginners Hatha or Vinyasa will be
most appropriate which are basic styles and from this you can work your
way up to something a little more advanced.
Hatha is a slow paced and gentle style of yoga which makes it a good
introductory class. Most of the yoga poses are basic and therefore easy
to pick up.
Vinyasa is a general term for many types of classes but what they have
in common is their focus on breath - synchronised movements. The class
tends to be more vigorous based on a series of performances called sun
salutations where the movement is matched by the breath. The Vinyasa
classes typically start with sun salutations to warm up the body and
then follow with more intensive stretching.
Ashtanga translates to mean ‘eight limbs’ and is a
fast-paced and intensive style of yoga. The class includes a series of
poses performed always in the same order. It is very demanding because
of the constant movement from one pose to the next. In yoga terms this
creates a ‘flow’ of movement.
This practice is most concerned with body alignment, focusing on the
way your body should be positioned in each pose to obtain the maximum
benefits and avoid injury. The poses are held over long periods and
these classes use props like blankets, blocks and straps to help the
alignment of the body.
Kundalini focuses on the breath in conjunction with physical movement
in order to free energy in the lower body and allowing it to move
upwards. In this class the exploration of the effect of breath is more
essential than in other classes. Kundalini uses rapid and repetitive
movements instead of the usual holds and additionally the teacher may
include call and response chanting.
Bikram is one of the most well known yoga types. This style is
generally referred to as ‘hot yoga’ and carried out
in a 95
to 100 degree room which aids loosening muscles and extreme sweating to
cleanse the body. The Bikram method is composed of a set series of 26
poses but the number of poses used will vary from class to class.
Beware of the heat when opting for this class.
As well as the yoga types I have mentioned above there are a few
additional styles, some of which are more recent developments such as
Anusara, Jivamukti, Forrest, Kripalu, Intergral and Sivananda however
these are more specialised and more advanced so it is best to initially
start with the first few outlined.
How to get started
Find a class
Once you have discovered which type of yoga style is suited to your
ability and personality you need to find a class offering it. Search
the local papers, local gyms or search online. There are many studios
around these days so you are more than likely to find one close to home.
What to expect
In most classes students place their mats facing the front of the room
in a rough grid and wait in a cross legged position until the teacher
turns up. There may be initial chants before the class begins and warm
up poses to get started with. It is common for the teacher to get
involved with each student and go round the room helping them to
improve their poses and positions so don’t be afraid of a
- make sure it is something you feel comfortable in and is
breathable. Any exercise trousers will do with a loose but long top as
some poses involve a lot of stretching.
most yoga is done barefoot and you are requested to leave your
shoes near the entrance.
yoga mats are commonplace as it helps to define your personal
space, create traction for your hands and cushions your surface. If you
don’t own your own, it should be easy to rent or borrow a mat
a session. In the long run it is better to purchase one as then you
know it is clean.
blocks and straps - these would classify as additional
equipment acting as props to use in the class. They make you more
comfortable and improve your alignment and pretty much come in hand for
all sorts of things, especially in the advance classes.
Most of the yoga rules are basic to any gym however a few are
individual to yoga and to reduce embarrassment one should be made aware
your shoes and place by the door
on time, or even before
variations you make appropriate to the class
possible, only go to the bathroom in breaks
skip the end Savasana (relaxation)
have a big meal right before the class
plenty of water
your first class, let the teacher know
about the type of class you are attending to avoid shock
around the class and learn from more experienced students
Carter who is a fully trained fitness and life coach.
website at http://www.cartercoaching.co.uk
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