Recently I started taking yoga at Galaxy and I’ve gone around 6 or 7 times I think and let me tell you how much I despised it in the beginning. :) Well actual let me start by saying I have trouble sitting still, quiet and calm for less than 30 seconds. Because of that I had issues with my first couple of classes. It was hard at first putting your body in positions you don’t normally do and told to concentrate on your breathing. Yea, I instead would concentrate on whatever I had to do after the class or the next day and I just breathed however I needed. As the class went on I found out how hard it can really be to concentrate sooo much! By the end I was ready to go and laying in corpse pose for 5 minutes did not make it any better. So after that not so great experience I decided to try it again, its best to take a class 3 times and then decide if you want to stick with it or not. I decided to do that and after the next couple of times I started to like it! I even bought a yoga mat (only $9 at Target!) and super cute yoga toe socks ($10 at Target) I found that I tend to slip a lot when I’m in all of those crazy positions, hence the yoga socks! Now I try to go to the Galaxy yoga classes every week! (Here at WAC Monday 5:30 and Saturday at 10:15). I really actually like it now and if you do what your supposed to (breath correctly and focus) you really can see some benefits and improvements! So here are some things you can expect to improve when you start taking yoga!! First thought is some background on yoga!
What is Yoga?
Yoga’s classical techniques date back more than 5,000 years. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom, health and long life, and heightened self-understanding created this system of physical and mental exercise. which has since spread throughout the world. The word Yoga means, “to join together,” and it brings the body and mind together into one harmonious experience. Yoga arrived in the United States in the late 1800s, but it didn’t become widely known as it is today until the 1960s. As more people found out about the benefits of yoga it gained respect and acceptance as a method for helping to manage stress and improving health and well-being.
The Yoga system is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. The exercises and positions of Yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, which will increase your body’s efficiency and total health.
Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. When doing yoga you would gently increase your breath control to improve the health and function of your body and mind. These two systems of exercise and breathing then prepare the body and mind for meditation, and you will find an easy approach to a quiet mind that allows silence and healing from your everyday stress. Regular practice of all three parts of yoga produces a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.
Benefits of Yoga
Stress reduction. With its quiet, precise movements, yoga draws your focus away from your busy, chaotic day and toward calm as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration.
Increased fitness. As you learn and refine new poses, you may enjoy improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you’re less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
Management of chronic health conditions. Yoga might help with a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, by helping with sleep problems, fatigue and mood. Yoga also can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Weight loss. If you’re overweight or have binge-eating disorder, yoga may help you make the healthy lifestyle changes necessary to gain control of your eating and drop those extra pounds.
Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.
Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increase strength.
Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.
Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.
Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.
Mental Calmness: Yoga practice is physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.
Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
I really suggest trying a yoga class, it’s different than the Les Mills classes we have, it’s not fast paced and crazy. It’s slow and calming that will relax you and relieve lots of stress! See you all at the next class! :)