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It's never too late to start Yoga!

September 2019

Older people doing yoga
Many people start yoga as they get older

As we get a little older, you can’t fail to meet people who go to yoga. It is one of the most popular fitness activities now with classes readily available right across the country.

However, despite that, trying to start yoga can be quite daunting. To begin with, there seem to be so many different types of yoga, and then there are weird names involved and an aspect of meditation, even mysticism. What is it all about?

Yoga is confusing because indeed there are many different types and styles; but there are also many misconceptions too.

At the level most of us start at, really we are simply looking to help our flexibility and muscle control, possibly calm our mind and learn to breathe better, and generally get a bit fitter. That said, it is worth knowing a little about the different types of yoga to ensure you are not only getting the experience you want, but also that you will enjoy the class.

To get some idea of what yoga is about, there are many online videos that explain the basics and how you move into different postures, including:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktNZ_rc5DaI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7AYKMP6rOE

These explain that in essence yoga is about moving the body into difference poses. But of course it is not quite that simple, and as you become more adapt, many of the poses will incorporate real muscle control, balance and also breathing and often meditation.

Some yoga means holding a pose for a while and then resting; others involve constant changes of postures; and others will include detailed breathing exercises to help bring peace to the mind and body and possibly prepare the body for deeper spiritual practices such as meditation.

If there is only one yoga class in your area, then your choices are limited and you will have to go with what the class offers; but if the class is geared to beginners, then the yoga teacher will ensure it is appropriate for you.

But if there is a choice of yoga classes in your region, you may need to call a couple of find out what type of class would be best for you. Often classes will offer Hatha Yoga which is a general category that includes many of the key yoga styles. Then there is Vinyasa Flow, a smooth style of yoga that runs the poses together. Yin Yoga is another popular style which is a slow paced style of yoga when postures are held for longer periods of time. Some yogas offer more energetic power styles while others concentrate more on meditation and mindfulness.

The names are off putting, but really to start in yoga you only need to understand what the class you have chosen will be doing.

When you decide on a class, do ask questions first like should you bring a mat. Many classes provide mats but having your own is useful as you can also use it at home. They are available from under £20 upwards at many stores and online.

What to wear can be a challenge when going to something new, but for yoga it is quite simple. All you need is something loose, comfortable and won’t restrict your movement. You may want to bring a long sleeved layered top for after the session. It is usual to have bare feet during a class, so footwear shouldn’t be a problem.

Finally, be aware that many yoga classes begin and end with chanting. This can be the word “om” which is a Sanskrit word said to be the sound of creation.

Yes the names are funny and yes the classes can offer different things, but when you consider so many across the UK are turning to yoga and really seeing improvements in both their physical and mental wellbeing, it is worth taking that first step and giving it a go.

 

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