Yesterday I attended a basic yoga class at my local Y. I decided to take this class because I was very sore and I had read that yoga could help. I hadn’t done yoga in about a year and when I stepped into my small class of seven people it dawned on me that it would be the first time I did yoga with my much-less-heavy body. The experience was great in more than one way, for starters my muscles got the exercise they needed and I was walking on clouds when I got out but it was also an eye-opening experience to really measure how my body has changed. This made me really excited of the changes yet to come.
I was very lucky to enter a small class and upon talking to the instructor we discovered that two of us were getting back after a year or so and that one more was coming back from a trip so the instructor proceeded to give us a very basic yoga sequence very similar to the following:
I must say that although this sequence is described as advanced-intermediate, I didn’t find it too challenging and I believe that anyone who exercises regularly should not find it too hard.
Many people have a number of misconceptions about yoga ranging from its connection to an ancient tradition or religion to something only stick figures can do. It is not so. Although it is true that yoga’s origin is somewhat religious, a yoga gym class will most likely not include chanting, meditating, or asking you to locate your third eye. Today, yoga has been found to be an excellent addition to any exercise routine. It helps increase flexibility and circulation, lower blood pressure, aid lower-back pain, lower cholesterol and help you fight depression. Done correctly, it can be argued that there are no negative effects to practicing yoga. What are you waiting for? Strike a pose!
If you are considering yoga for the first time here are a few things I’d like you to know:
- A basic yoga class will be a sequence of movements with funny names which require that you concentrate on your breathing. “Inhale, Exhale.” That’s the closest to chanting the class is going to get.
- Wear comfortable clothes that are light but fitted (a large t-shirt will likely get in the way of your downward dog)
- Bring a water bottle and a small towel (just in case)
- If you are tired or can’t keep a pose, just go to child pose and join back when ready
- Introduce yourself to the instructor and don’t be shy to ask questions
- Don’t hide in the back of the room. Make sure that your instructor can see you so he or she can correct your poses
- DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF to the rest of the class. Everyone is at their own level.
- Group yoga is great. There is an unspoken camaraderie in group classes and your instructor only wants the best for you.
The gesture Namaste derives from the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore, namaste literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”
It was incredibly satisfying to complete this class and I look forward to next week for another dosage of vitamin Y.
Do you yoga? How do you like/use it?