Gentle Reader, blessings, hello and welcome to this week’s yoga blog and a special Big Hug to new readers. Thanks for signing up to join us and I am glad you are onboard.
Today’s post is the third in a series of six in the Yoga for Beginners miniseries I am writing specifically for new yogis. You can read the other blogs in this series, where we take a look at the origins of yoga and some of the health benefits of taking up yoga.
I haven’t carried out any “scientific research” yet of the top of my head, I’d say 80% of the yoga queries I receive and conversations I have with friends/students are about the different styles of yoga. There are so many styles of yoga out there, I often hear people say they get confused and stressed trying to work out what style of yoga suits their particular health and lifestyle needs. In fact, I had a call the other day and the gentleman said he googled Yoga Classes in London and was overwhelmed by the sheer variety and range of offer. From my perspective as a yoga teacher that is fantastic but from his view as a total beginner there was just too much info.
To ease you through that confusion, in today’s post we look at 3 points you need to consider to help you choose your class. And in the next post I’ll share info about 6 key styles of yoga for you to choose from.
There is no right or wrong way to do yoga. The beauty of yoga is whatever style or class you chose, the ultimate end result is the same-you feel calmer, happier, fitter and more at peace.
3 Key Points to Consider Before Choosing Your Yoga Class
There are numerous subtle differences between teaching styles and even within teachers of the same yoga school (yoga school is just another word for “yoga style”)
As a beginner, when looking for a new class bear these three main points in mind.
1. Choose a Beginner’s Course
Whatever style of yoga you choose, always go to a beginners class, especially if you are overweight, have medical conditions and haven’t exercised for a long time. From the outside, yoga looks simple, which it is. Yet like anything new, it is always best to start at the beginning, learn the basics and get a solid grounding before stretching out and trying a higher level.
Even if you are an accomplished athlete in another physical activity/sport, I would still recommend you take a couple of beginner’s classes first.
Tip: Make sure the class you sign up for is specifically for beginners. Most yoga beginner courses are between 60-75 minutes long offered in blocks of 6-8 weeks long. If the class you wish to attend doesn’t specify beginners, phone up the teacher before and check with her whether the class is suitable for beginners.
2.Your General Health and Level Of Fitness
Most yoga classes include elements of yoga exercises, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation. The amount of time spent on each of these elements is the difference between styles. Yoga styles range from very a physically strenuous challenging sequence of exercises to free flowing joyful expressions of play and continuous movement to strict alignment-focused practices to more gentle restorative body awareness and relaxation type of classes.
Tip: Be honest with yourself. How fit and healthy are you? When was the last time you exercised? Are you looking for a physically challenging yoga class or do you think starting off with a gentler stretching and relaxation is the best approach for you? Once you are clear about this, you can start to narrow down your search.
This point relates more to the type of environment different classes are taught in. Some styles of yoga are taught in a very hot/heated environment, others in a specialised and dedicated yoga centre, which may or may not offer other holistic therapies and practices, whilst other classes in a local gym and fitness clubs. Think about the extras – things like nice showers, on site wholefood cafes/juice bar, the option to buy yoga clothes and accessories and other spiritual books and educational materials also make a difference to your overall yoga class experience.
Tip: Ask yourself if are you fussy where you go. Do you mind going to a local gym for your class or would you prefer the more specialised environment of a yoga centre? You might even prefer Private Yoga Lessons which are lessons held in the comfort and convenience of your own home and catered to you specific needs.
Now that you have a clear idea of three key points you need to be aware before you choose your class, the next step is to do your research about the different styles of yoga. In Pt 5 of this mini Yoga for Beginners series, we will look at seven of the popular yoga styles generally available – Sivanada Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Bikram Yoga , Kundalini Yoga, Scaraveilli Yoga, Baptist Power Vinyasa Yoga.
Final Thoughts and Education
If you are keen to discover more Yoga Info, check out my Starting Yoga, Look Good, Feel Great…The Complete Guide of Yoga for Beginners here on my website or over on my Amazon Kindle Book Store. If you enjoy the book, remember to leave a review.
That’s it for now; I’ll see you next week for more post in the Yoga for Beginners series. Take special care of you and your loved ones.
In peace and thanks
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