Yoga is a form of exercise which can improve your strength, stamina and flexibility and improve your ability to relax. During a yoga class you will do a range of activities including: warming up with slow moving sequences; practising yoga poses (asana) to stretch and strengthen muscles; perform breathing exercises and enjoy some time simply relaxing.
Many people who have never done yoga before come to a class expecting it to be easy and relaxing. That’s not necessarily the case. The physical practice of yoga asks you to consciously engage with and use your body, its like having to switch your muscles on and really use them. Although many poses look easy and straight-forward, if you haven’t done them before you might find them a bit of a challenge. You do a get a chance to relax at the end of a class – and by that time it feels like you’ve really earned it!
You don’t have to be flexible to start doing yoga. By practising yoga you will become more flexible. Don’t be put off by pictures of bendy people in lycra. Everyone can do yoga and there is more and more research being published about how yoga can help specific conditions such as arthritis and depression – click on the links below to read more:
- NHS guide to yoga
- Arthritis Care – exercise and arthritis
- Using yoga to deal with depression, anxiety and stress
There are lots of different styles of yoga – Viniyoga, Ashtanga and Iyengar to name but 3. Each of them have a different emphasis, which might be moving with the breath (Viniyoga), focusing on mastering a sequence of moves (Ashtanga) or the alignment of the body (Iyengar). And it helps to have a teacher that teaches in a style that you like. We’re all different. Some teachers like a relaxed class, others may have a stricter approach. You never know, you might actually like a strict teacher!
If you’re not sure what to wear for yoga, most women prefer leggings or tracksuit bottoms and a couple of layers on top. For men, shorts and a t-shirt will do.If you have any questions about the class, or yoga in general, just fill in the form below.