Part one of a series on the basics and benefits of yoga
With yoga studios on every corner it is important to get a better understanding of why this ancient tradition is captivating the modern world and spreading like wildfire.
Yoga encompasses much more than simply a movement practice. At its core it invites us to build greater awareness not only of our body, but also of our breath, mind/emotions, and intuitive capabilities.
The practice of ‘hatha’ yoga is the most well known, as it encompasses an inquiry into the aforementioned windows of awareness through the instrument of the body.
In a typical yoga class there will be a brief time to center and transition into the practice. The breath is used as a main focus to first observe and then activate through a three-dimensional breath taken in through the nose.
The class then proceeds into warming movements, followed by more heated postures, eventually cool downs, and then a relaxation taken lying down. After several minutes of rest, the instructor will guide students back up to seated position, in order to complete the class.
Some yoga classes have a specific categorical focus, where you will do more postures of a particular sort, like a morning class focused more on energy building backbends, or an afternoon class focused more on calming forward folds and twists. Many classes are a mix, where throughout the session you visit a little with each class of postures.
There are many diverse yoga styles that emphasize more structure, freedom, heat, or meditation. For more info on specific styles visit yogajournal.com/styleguide.
Regardless of the style, the beauty of yoga is that it is non-competitive; wherever you are in your body you are honored. Everyone is working with a diverse personal challenge, whether it be strength, flexibility, or with mental attention.
Even though it might be uncomfortable to embark on the first class, take the step or ask a friend to go along. Treat it as an experiment and go at least three times to different instructors to see whom you connect with most.
What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll feel more relaxed, breathe deeper, and get a better understanding of your inner workings. As of yet, everyone that has tried yoga usually comes out alive.
Next week we’ll break down some of the practical benefits yoga offers to the body and mind.
More about Danny Arguetty, M.A.
Danny Arguetty, M.A., a Nutrition, Health and LIFE (Living in Free Expression) Counselor, has been involved in the health field for the last decade. He guides clients in the San Diego area utilizing customized wellness programs.
Danny specializes in supporting the GLBTQ community in losing weight, increasing energy, curing digestive distress, and in implementing simple and easy healthy living strategies. He also offers private yoga sessions, cooking instruction, or health food catering for individuals, couples, or small size gatherings.