Why Join a Yoga Studio?
Yoga originated thousands of years ago in India as a spiritual path guided by the connection between mind, body and soul. In the United States, yoga studios have flourished as places for people to seek refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Anyone at any age and any fitness level can take classes at a yoga studio. Some physical benefits of yoga include aligned posture, balanced equilibrium, decreased blood pressure, increased flexibility, and improved ability to fall asleep. Additionally, there are also psychological benefits. Yoga students report improvement in their daily mood, a decrease in anxiety and hostility, improved attention span, greater self-awareness and greater self-acceptance. So, why not give yoga a chance? You may find that it is the perfect companion to your weight training or marathon running. If you are currently not physically active, find a yoga studio in your area.
Yoga Studios: First Class
Different yoga studios teach and advocate different yoga styles. Once you've found the yoga studio of your choice, you'll need to prepare yourself for your first class. The clothes you wear to yoga should be comfortable, breathable and have nothing hard attached like buttons or zippers which may dig into the skin when lying down. If you've decided to do "hot yoga" or Bikram yoga, you will need to wear very light clothing, preferrably made of wicking materials to absorb sweat. You can bring your own yoga mat or rent a mat from the yoga studio. Some yoga studios will also provide a blanket for you to sit on during meditation to prevent undue stress on your knees, hips and ankles. Other yoga props include blocks for balancing, pillows for supporting you in various postures and straps for assisting in stretching. Most every yoga class will begin with guided meditation and end with time for relaxation or Shavasana. The postures in yoga focus on stretching, strengthening, spinal alignment and centering. Many yoga classes also attempt to create awareness of our internal bodily functions such as digestion and circulation and the body's ability to heal itself. Before you take your first yoga class, familiarize yourself with the poses by browsing through a yoga book or website about that studio's style of yoga.
Types of Yoga Studios
There are many different types of yoga including Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Kundalini. Yoga studios will either focus on once style or will teach several yoga styles in conjunction with an overarching philosophy. Each yoga studio will offer a different interpretation of classical Hindu philosophy and will teach classes containing various versions of poses, also known as postures. Vinyasa means breath-synchronization movement. A typical vinyasa class flows through poses starting with a series of sun-salutations and ending with intense stretching. Hatha is a very general style of yoga. Hatha classes are typically slow-paced, introductory classes. Ashtanga means eight limbs in Sanskirt. Ashtanga classes are fast-paced and utilize a series of ordered poses, repeated in every class. Ashtanga is sometimes referred to as "Power Yoga". Iyengar is mainly concerned with bodily alignment and often uses numerous yoga props. In Iyengar yoga, poses are held longer than in other yoga styles. Kundalini yoga focuses on breathing in conjunction with movement. Kundalini classes involve rapid, repetitive movement. Lastly, Bikram, also known as "Hot Yoga", is performed in a 95 to 100 degree room. It is thought that the heat loosens muscle tension for increased flexibility and increases sweating to cleanse toxins from the body. Yoga studios often offer first time discounts, so you can try a couple studios out before deciding on the one that fits you best.
Yoga For Athletes
Whether you are a runner, swimmer, body builder, or sports player, yoga can offer the best in stretching, strengthening and meditation. If you run regularly, try alternating your running with a yoga class to lengthen your leg muscles and strengthen your core. Yoga can be done anywhere; learning a basic set of yoga stretches is good for anyone who regularly uses weight lifting equipment or does any form of cardio training. Yoga meditation can be good for sports players who need to have high levels of focus and concentration. Lastly, yoga can teach all athletes how to focus on breathing and breath control.