January 12, 2011 New to Yoga? Some tips to get you ready for your practice
There is a mystification surrounding yoga practice that seems to have people question whether or not they are willing to try it.. I have had some people say “oh yoga, that is just stretching”, they don’t feel that they will get enough of a workout or break a sweat. Others are intimidated by the more advanced yogi’s in the class letting their minds take over what their bodies are physically able to do.. It is truly mind over matter here. Every new exercise class comes with their own intimidation factor.. Maybe you don’t know how to use a spin bike or type of machine, or since you are not familiar with the poses you don’t know where to begin.
To demystify yoga I have put together a little 411 on what you will need so that you can feel comfortable walking in to a new studio or class. Yoga practice is a practice which enhances the mind, body and soul and it truly can open up all new possibilities to your life.
According to the yoga sutras the place where a person practices yoga should be clean and purged of dirt. Therefore it is shoe free zone. Most studios have a place in front for all belongings.
Cellphones: We all need to stay in touch especially for those of us who are mom’s or caretakers. A quick solution is to put your phone on vibrate before you enter the yoga class.
Most classes begin on time so it best especially if you are a new student to get to the class about 10-15 minutes earlier to roll out your mat, meet the teacher and tell her that you are a new student, get comfortable ect. For hot yoga classes it is especially important to arrive earlier to the class to allow your body to acclimate to the heat. bring a drink and a small hand towel as well. a great accessory is yogi toes towel that spreads over your mat to prevent slipping while sweating. www.yogitoes.com.
Most yoga classes start with the chanting of OM. OM is a very simple chant with a complex meaning. Om is representative of the union of the mind, body and spirit that is at the heart of yoga. It is is universal language of yoga. I recently took a class with Kino MacGregor at the Yoga Journal Conference in Florida. She made a very valid point saying that even though you may not understand the words that you are chanting, it is so important that you feel the vibrations running through your body. So enjoy the vibrations.. All classes end with Savasana or corpse pose. Savanana is one of the most delicious of the yoga poses. Sinking down into your mat after a grueling yet inspirational yoga practice is something not to miss. Savasana allows us to clear our minds and enjoy the sublime stillness surrounding us.
So even if you need to leave the class a few minutes early make sure to take time for a little Savasana. In respect for your fellow students and teacher make a quick and quiet exit as not to disturb the rest of the class.
If you are a beginner and want to become familiar with yoga poses before you take a class there are a lot of videos available for you to practice with prior to taking a class.. The link below is a beginner class featuring Jessica Bellofatto of Sag Harbor NY who has a great beginner video. You can download a great beginner yoga video for $13.
If you are ever in the Hamptons check out her studio in East Hampton.. www.kamadevayoga.com
YOGA PODCAST -TAKE CLASS WHEREVER YOU ARE WITH IYALA BERLEY Jivamukti teacher NYC
Another option is to find teachers in your area that will give you or a small group private instruction to help you familiarize yourself with the poses as what they represent.
Teachers if you want me to post your websites or info for private instruction please go to http://lovepeaceyoga.com/newteacherbios.html
There are many different types of yoga classes offered so here is a brief explanation of the most popular.
VINYASA Like Hatha, Vinyasa is a general term that is used to describe many different types of classes. Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronized movement, tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of poses called Sun Salutations, in which movement is matched to the breath. A Vinyasa class will typically start with a number of Sun Salutations to warm up the body for more intense stretching that’s done at the end of class.
Ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. Ashtanga practice is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. In yoga terminology, this movement is called flow. Ashtanga is also the inspiration for what is often called Power Yoga. If a class is described as Power Yoga, it will be based on the flowing style of Ashtanga, but not necessarily keep strictly to the set Ashtanga series of poses.
Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits and avoid injury. Iyengar practice usually emphasizes holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps, in order to bring the body into alignment.
The emphasis in Kundalini is on the breath in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards. All asana practices make use of controlling the breath. But in Kundalini, the exploration of the effects of the breath (also called prana, meaning energy) on the postures is essential.
Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is more generally referred to as Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room, which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes make use of this series.
Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara combines a strong emphasis on physical alignment with a positive philosophy derived from Tantra. The philosophy’s premise is belief in the intrinsic goodness of all beings. Anusara classes are usually light-hearted and accessible to students of differing abilities. Poses are taught in a way that opens the heart, both physically and mentally, and props are often used.
This style of yoga emerged from one of New York’s best-known yoga studios. Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon take inspiration from Ashtanga yoga and emphasize chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. They have trained many teachers who have brought this style of yoga to studios and gyms, predominantly in the U.S. These classes are physically intense and often include some chanting.
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and gaining popularity around the U.S., Forrest Yoga is the method taught by Ana Forrest. The performance of vigorous asana sequences is intended to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. Expect an intense workout with an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.
In restorative yoga, props are used for support the body so that you can hold poses for longer, allowing you to open your body through passive stretching. Restorative postures are usually adapted from supine or seated yoga poses with the addition of blocks, bolsters, and blankets to eliminate unnecessary straining.
Jillian Pransky www.yogajillian.com is the National Director of teacher training of Restorative yoga for YogaWorks.
A Guided Deep Relaxation Stress and tension simply melt away as you relax into a state of peaceful serenity. “Relaxmore is excellent, a beautiful offering, that will help make the world a better place.” –Erich Schiffmann
“Jillian is a gifted yoga teachers, and listening to the sound of her voice on this program, and following her quiet instructions, you really can’t help but relax.” –Mary-Louise Parker
“Jillian’s soothing voice coupled her language choices greatly enhance the healthful experience of relaxation. RELAXMORE is one of our patients’ favorite choices!” —Dr. Oz
PROPS ARE YOUR FRIENDS! In the very beginning of my yoga journey I was very much against using props thinking that I just didn’t need them.. how foolish was I! After many years and classes I began using blocks to help me with my restorative bridge pose, bolsters during restorative twisting and blankets to use under the base of my neck to support it during shoulder stand. Straps and towels are great props to use to help you in any twisting postures. Use them! They are the tools that will help you along your yoga journey and as you become stronger and move through the poses with ease you will need them less and less but it is great to know they are there for you.
Most classes are stocked with blocks, straps, blankets, mats for rent and yogi toes for rent. Make sure to ask how these props are being cleaned and how often.
Mat folding tip: recently at a yoga journal workshop www.yogajournal.com I took a class with Aadil Palkhivala of www.purnayoga.com who told us how to fold our yoga mats.. In order to keep the mat side for which you practice on clean simply fold the mat in half and then roll it and put it into your bag.. A great way to clean and sanitize your mat is with a delicious spray from www.yogasisters.com. my favorite so far is the lemon grass spray.
Studios offering beginner classes:
www.gardenstateyoga.com Bloomfield NJ Not Hot Studio
www.omechaye.com in South Florida
www.powerflownj.com Chatham & Livingston NJ
www.coreconnectionstudio.com Long Hill New Jersey anti gravity yoga studio
www.studioyoganj.com Madison NJ Iyengar Studio
www.homeyogaexperience.com Mah Wah NJ
www.shaktinj.com Maplewood NJ
www.bakerstreetyoga.com Maplewood NJ
** If you would like to have your studio listed with www.lovepeaceyoga.com please click on link
Beginner yogi’s we would love to hear your class reviews: please email email@example.com to have your review posted or comment right to this blog!
Here is one from Omechaye Yoga studio in Florida:
“This studio had a great beginner class. We tethered ropes around our hips for suppor as we practiced downward facing dog. The instructor used woodblocks, stacked blankets a long pillow (bolster) and chairs so that the less flexible people could do the moves with good form. Most importantly the teacher walked around to each student to adjust them into the correct form. This was a really good first experience.”
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