Getting the courage to go to a yoga class for the first time can be quite challenging. Unlike other forms of exercise, there is a mystery surrounding yoga that intimidates many newcomers. Yoga, it seems, has acquired a reputation as the exercise for unbelievably flexible, naturally thin, new age individuals. While there are some yoga students who fit this profile, you might be surprised to find that most do not. Yoga is not for contortionist demonstrations, but rather an exercise that is accessible to everyone both male and female, young and old, and all abilities.
The mystery surrounding yoga seems to lie in its lengthy history as well as its spiritual(not religious) undertones. Over 5,000 years old, this form of exercise has been around for a long time. Ironically, yoga was not born out of a religion or a need to become fit, but rather out of a need to find self awareness and enlightenment. In the traditional sense, yoga means union. It is the practice of joining mind, body and spirit. It has nothing to do with any particular religion. Yoga encourages you to follow your own belief system. Yoga studios generaly have no interest in promoting any particular religion.
Through the physical postures, or asanas, practitioners become more aware of their inner voice and the discipline required to hold each pose can be taken out of the class and used in every day life. Over time, students will gain more control of their emotions as they learn to breathe through difficult situations. Thus yoga becomes, for many, a way of life.
It is this mysterious and somewhat overwhelming philosophy behind yoga that may prevent people from trying it. However, let me also point out yoga's outstanding physical benefits. Most first-time yoga students do not try a class for the above-mentioned reasons. It is after trying an enormous variety of other exercises that we arrive at the door of a yoga class. If you are anything like I was, you feel burnt out by the chaos of the gym and frustrated by the lack of results.
Let me also dispel the myth that yoga is not a tough workout. There are many different types of yoga, and depending on your personal needs, you will find the right one for you. Some yoga styles are gentle, some are restorative, other styles strenuous and some, can be extremely vigorous. A variety of class styles are offered at Perfect Balance Yoga.
I felt compelled to try yoga because, quite frankly, I didn't enjoy exercise. I learned that because of how relaxed I felt after my yoga classes, I kept wanting to go back. Instead of walking out of the gym wound up, I left yoga class feeling lighter on my feet and somehow taller, and found I had much more energy. In addition, I never left class feeling mad at myself for not being able to keep up.
Yoga teaches us to be patient and to be less self-critical. You do not go to class and compare yourself to others, but instead focus inwardly to determine your own pace and progress. After practicing yoga consistently for a year I have never looked or felt better. Yoga provides you with a total body workout. Unlike other forms of exercise, I consistently work all of the muscle groups in my body every class. Most importantly, I began to forget the fact that I was trying to exercise. I go to class because I enjoy it!
Currently, I enjoy what is called Ashtanga yoga. A generic name sometimes given is Power Yoga and blends a combination of different yoga traditions including, but not limited to: Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Jivamukti and Bikram. The Power Yoga class is sometimes held in a heated room and includes many repetitions and flows. This class is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to sweat. It is an awesome workout as any I have experienced.
In choosing your first yoga class you may want to talk with friends in your area who regularly attend. . Perfect Balance has Introduction classes that cater to beginners and experienced students alike. If the instructor asks who is new at the beginning of the class, do not be shy. The teacher will be able to provide you with more instruction and help adjust your asanas(postures). Also let the instructor know if you have any pre-existing injuries so they can offer you modifications
Ultimately, you will get a lot more out of the class because you wont be trying to hide your inexperience.It is also important that you find an instructor that you are in sync with. If you find that you don't mesh perfectly with a particular instructor, try more than one, otherwise this may lead you to believe that yoga might not be for you. I encourage you to try all of the fine teachers at the studio. There is a style of yoga and a teacher for everyone.
Perfect Balance Yoga offers several different styles of yoga. Including Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Iyengar, Hatha, Flow, Gentle, Prenatal, Kids, Mommy & Me, and also Belly Dancing.
Good luck in your first class and Namaste'.
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