What Is YOGA?
Yoga is an ancient Eastern art and discipline designed to create a union of the mind, body and soul. Yoga means “to join” and it is a combination of physical postures, breathing awareness, and control of the senses and the mind. As the mobility of joints is determined by the surrounding muscles, it is a strength and active flexibility workout.
What Is Involved?
Strong yoga practices work your entire body, particularly your core, and teach you how to hold yourself in optimal alignment in a variety of positions. Since these strengthening practices always include poses targeted toward flexibility, they are the perfect complement to any fitness routine. The class ends with a well-earned mini-meditation or rest period, leaving you centered, rejuvenated, and ready to face the day.
Who Is YOGA For?
Yoga is truly for everyone, removing barriers of age, gender and fitness background. The nature of the program makes it easy for everyone to achieve success, master techniques over time and return for more.
- New exercisers will love Yoga because the program makes it easy to work at your own pace. Modifications are built into the program and the Yoga instructors are trained to look after you.
- For the “fit-it-in-when-you-can” exerciser, Yoga offers a lot in one session. It is a timely way to increase strength, flexibility and relax – all in one hour.
- Yoga is great for the fitness enthusiast because it keeps your body in peak condition. It helps fight injury and allows for quick recovery – it puts back what the hard exercise session takes out.
- Also, men of all ages and fitness experiences can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of a mind-body discipline.
How Often Can You Do YOGA?
Being a mind-body class, Yoga can be done as much as you like. It is important, however, that you gradually build a regular class schedule. During your first four weeks, we recommend you do no more than 3 Yoga classes per week.
How Can You Expect to Feel?
It is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive and nervous before your first Yoga class. Typically, adults do not like to be “new” at anything and they have high expectations for their first performance. It is very important to acknowledge that Yoga is a journey, not a destination. Your goal should be to simply sit back and start the journey to improved physical and emotional well being.
During the Class
You will feel more aware of your body than ever before because of the newness of the experience and the nature of the workout. You will probably be excited and apprehensive at the same time. Just go with it. Remind yourself that you are new and that you have to start somewhere. It might seem like the class is moving a little faster than you would like, but that is only because the terminology and movements are somewhat unfamiliar. With each class, you will become more comfortable.
After the Class
You will be excited to get your first class under your belt. It is important to know that you will be sore. With any new workout or at the start of any exercise program, you will experience muscle soreness. This is because your body is adjusting to the demand being placed on your muscles and is perfectly normal.
What To Wear
The most important thing to wear is comfortable workout attire. Most people wear track pants or shorts and a t-shirt, while some are more comfortable in Lycra. You should feel comfortable to move. The best thing about Yoga is that you do not need shoes.
What To Bring
Bring a towel, a yoga mat (if the club does not supply them), and a water bottle. Even if the club has them, yoga mats are worthwhile investments.
It is important to arrive 15 minutes before class to meet the instructor. During these 15 minutes, the instructor will ensure that you are comfortable during your first class and answer any questions you may have. The instructor will ask you such questions as:
- Have you ever exercised?
- Have you ever participated in group exercise?
- Have you ever experienced a mind-body workout?
- Do you have any injuries or problems that might affect your ability to participate?
Where To Stand
The best place to stand is within clear view of the instructor. It is not necessary to be at the front, but try to be in the center of the room. It is important to avoid mirrors and to concentrate on the instructor. He or she is the best source of visual technique information. Mirrors are distracting and sometimes relay unnecessary information. Mirrors might tell you that you look silly doing the moves, even though you might really be having fun. So try to ignore them.
Talk To the Instructor
Remember to talk to the instructor after class. For example, let him or her know how you felt and if anything was particularly challenging for you. The instructor will then make recommendations for your next class. Most of all have fun during your first yoga experience!