Yoga can be more intimidating than other types of exercise. While many types involve more ineloquence, yoga maintains a certain grace, as if it raises a curious eyebrow to the panting and grunting of other routines. Because of this, people sometimes get scared off by yoga, thinking it’s only for those who are extremely flexible, those who are extremely poised, and those who have taken a Lamaze class to prepare for breathing.
But, the opposite is really true: yoga is suitable for all kinds of people. Just learning a little about it is all you need to get started.
Why Take Yoga
Because yoga does more than just exercise the body, exercising the mind and spirit as well, its benefits are really immeasurable. From pain reduction to stress reduction, yoga decreases the things in your life that are decreasing its quality. While it includes the benefits of other types of exercise – increased strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and weight management – it also facilitates balance, flexibility, and proper body alignment. Through breathing exercises and meditation, it teaches students to focus on the present, allowing the worries of the past and future to drift away.
Yoga does far more than get you relaxed and help your body to become stronger and more flexible. It’s another way in which you can learn about yourself and come to experience yourself as a whole, regardless of your physical condition or level of “fitness.” Although it looks like exercise and conveys the benefits of exercise, it is far more than exercise. It’s done without striving and without forcing, allowing acceptance of our body as we find it: in the present, from one moment to the next. Whether stretching, lifting, or balancing, yoga teaches us to work at our limits, maintaining moment-to-moment awareness.
Who Should Take it
Anyone. Everyone. Yoga is suitable for so many people because it can help any person who’s willing to ask for its assistance. From people with chronic pain, to those with chronic stress, yoga can teach you how to minimize personal demons. For those who are pain free and carefree, yoga can maintain a sense of peace. Yoga also provides so many physical and mental health advantages that it’s hard to find anyone who can’t benefit from it in some way.
What to Wear
Some forms of exercise may warrant your purchase of that new workout suit calling your name at the local mall, but yoga doesn’t require the buying of anything extravagant. It involves very simply clothing. The best clothing to wear is loose or stretch clothing, outfits that are flexible and easily moved in. Yoga is also practiced barefoot, saving you money on expensive footwear.
When to Do Yoga
Yoga can be practiced at any time of the day, but is best done on an empty or near empty stomach. Eating an energy bar or a light snack an hour before is fine, but stray away from a five course meal. While practicing it at any time is beneficial, practicing at specific times may benefit different things. Practicing early in the morning, for instance, is an excellent way to reenergize your mind and body, preparing for the day ahead. Practicing late at night allows you to fully relax right before bed, granting a more restful night of sleep.
People who aren’t familiar with yoga may be confused on what kinds of things they need to practice, some falsely under the impression that they need to buy out an entire sporting goods store. In truth, the most important and elemental yoga props are an open mind and an open heart; once you have these, the rest is simple.
These elements aside, there are tangible items that can aid in the practice of yoga, helping people to achieve proper balance, and alignment. These can include a non-slip Yoga mat, a strap, a blanket, and a block of wood or foam.
When it comes down to it, yoga isn’t scary. It’s not going to jump you in a dark alley, flexing its muscles and taking your wallet. It’s not that kind of twisted. Instead, yoga exists to do the opposite: cleanse your mind, body, and spirit and invoke a sense of peace and rest. It’s not scary at all, and, after learning a few basics, even the biggest novice can take yoga to the mat.
TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life – from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being. Empowering each person, one breath at a time, to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.
Jennifer Jordan is senior editor of http://www.yogatwisted.com. Specializing in articles that not only teach yoga techniques, but also teach techniques on fulfillment and enrichment, she aims to educate students proudly enrolled in the school of life.